Under the Influence with Warren Schoenbright

Who gives a shit about genres? Looking at the best releases of the past decade, the ones that are truly memorable are those that cross boundaries or negate them entirely. In just two days, Astral Noize Records will release the brand new EP from London-based trio Warren Schoenbright. Musically speaking, the crux of the three-track release can be loosely traced back to disquieting genres like noise rock and industrial, but the group’s influences span so far and wide that Machinae Inutiles is more than worthy of the intentionally vague “experimental” tag given to those albums that critics and fans fail to pigeonhole into existing parameters.

The atmosphere is oozing in the sort of all-encompassing dread championed by acts like Daughters and The Jesus Lizard, whilst the intricate rhythms don’t so much move as they do flail erratically into the next pit of filth. Sonically, the three-piece craft ambitious soundscapes so volatile-but-vast that they remind of Swans and Godflesh, with guitars so abrasive they sound more like noise music. The bass trembles and grinds tenaciously beneath wretched growls of despair and disturbing spoken word sections whilst industrialised percussion writhes forward like a stuttering machine churning on through bouts of dry blood and matted hair. Machinae Inutiles is the sonic manifestation of your deepest fears, let it loose and you might find yourself regretting it. Maybe not, chances are you’re here because you enjoy that sort of thing. You sick fuck.

We’re ridiculously excited about the EP’s release, so to gain a deeper understanding of the array of influences that go into something so utterly corrosive, we asked the trio to pick out a playlist of tracks that have influenced them as a band.

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Akauzazte – Hiltzen Garenoi

It’s hard to pick just one song from them. This one was released 20 years ago, and it’s the first thing I heard from them. Their songs are like ritual performances, you never expect what’s coming next, but it always flows naturally.

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Godflesh – Wake (Break Mix)

While we were making the EP we talked about becoming machines and playing like them. These are partially actual machines, but it’s probably the first thing that came to mind during those conversations.

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Scott Walker – See You Don’t Bump His Head

The stuttering unchanging drive of the drums gives the track a kind of grim insistence, as the unusual repeating vocal phrase and bursts of guitar keeps the track feeling delirious and unstable.

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King Crimson – Red

Metallic and menacing, great use of clattery and unusual cymbal timbres plus a fantastic middle section where the drums drop out to give space to the staccato guitar and brooding melody.

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The Body – Two Snakes

Rhythmically brash and uncompromising, this track contains sounds that sit on a threshold between the mimicry of actual acoustic events and compressed, synthetic stupidity. The faint residue of a vocal presence is like a maniacal cry in a windstorm.

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Permission – Outstripped

Brutal London hardcore with raspy, pissed-off vocals that really inspired me to push my voice live. The guitar is unhinged and neurotic. A band who have really trimmed the fat – musically speaking.

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Swans – Thank You

As a band, Swans have probably inspired us the most. ‘Thank You’ begins with a bassline that is both structural and destructive at the same time. The riff of the track comes from the drums, which is something we do a lot in Warren Schoenbright.

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Machinae Inutiles is out now on Astral Noize Records. Purchase here.

Words: George Parr

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