Ah Belgium. Famous for chocolate, beer, Amenra, and watching Brendan Gleeson fall out of a big fuck off tower to splat heartily over crowds of Christmassy well wishers – this is a country known for excelling in quality when it comes to their given exports. Luckily for listeners, one of those exports is also a unique and fantastic mixture of doom, sludge and punk.
The Progerians (previously known as The Fabulous Progerians and The Mighty Progerians) are a four piece from Brussels who bring a brilliant musical package that ranges from epic doom sections mixed with crusty junkyard vocals to groove riffs reminiscent of Machine Head’s The Blackening. The opening track ‘Frankie Leads to Death’ starts off with a low rumbling string drone until just past the minute mark when the first note is played. Soon, the first haunting vocalisations creep in with reverb set fully to that “I’ve taken up residence at the end of a catacomb” effect so many artists seem to enjoy. Halfway past the three-minute mark and the lead into the first riff sounds as if someone’s decided to rampantly abuse some audio with a down sampler. As the riff hits with its plodding doom-infused certainty and the low loose bass rumbles the album begins to lead the listener firmly along by the leash into the twilight.
Not only does this album span multiple genres but also languages too, becoming bilingual at one point. To highlight the plethora of variety this album has to offer, midway through ‘Hold Your Cross’ the track lapses into a rap-esque spoken-word section delivered in French. The effect of using two languages in an album is an interesting one, as when the vocals that are not in the listener’s native language begin, the brain must process the vocals as just another melodic sound or instrument, rather than simply processing it as speech and drawing meaning that way, adding a further depth to the band’s sound. In addition to this, the verse has got a big Black Sabbath-inspired doom vibe which is simply luscious.
The entire album bounces along with a very sincere and melodic groove-based metal feel mixed with the fiery attitude of punk. This is especially prevalent in the title-track, which also mixes in a post-hardcore vibe to great effect. It’s a welcome break from the complexity of the rest of the album to have a track with a simple memory-imprinting hook that the listener can get behind and find themselves lost in.
The appeal of this album is that it provides a serious musical experience for diehard music fans, all the while allowing the listener to have some fun and fire some serious attitude out of their speakers. Yet another reason to want to remain culturally linked to mainland Europe, no matter how much England seems utterly transfixed on fellating itself to death whilst everyone else watches on in a mixture of pity and amusement.
Crush The Wise Men Who Will Not Submit is out 24th May via Mottow Soundz and can be purchased here.
Words: James Clarke