It’s Better This Way is the kind of album that poses an instant challenge – better than what, exactly? Judging by the soundscapes conjured by Remote Viewing on this, their second album, it’s clear that the alternative must be truly horrific, because the music contained within is absolutely vicious. It’s the kind of record where genres coalesce within the broad umbrella of “ugly and painful” – there’s noise rock, sludge, and hardcore here, all in generous doses. Opener ‘They Never Made It Home’ sets this out early on; ugly, lumbering riffs shift into more slightly more spacious forms towards the songs end, topped off with desperate vocals and a persistent sense of despair. There are points when a sense of light comes through, but just in fleeting glimpses, all the more effective for their scarcity.
It’s hard to imagine listening to It’s Better This Way and not feeling somehow soiled; there’s something contagious about the album, a sickness of the soul that passes from band to listener in a communion of pain. It’s absolutely no fun at all; but it’s also strangely addictive. It’s Better This Way is a challenging record, for sure, taking an emotional toll on the listener; but stick with it, and by the time ‘Let the Oil Soak Out’ comes along, a sense of catharsis can be found. It doesn’t come easy, and you might not turn to the album often, but It’s Better This Way is music for the darkest hours; the sound of light trying to break through the bleakness, and though these rays of hope don’t quite succeed in making their way down from the heavens to the earth, nor do they exactly fail.
It’s Better This Way is out 29th November via Sludgelord Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Stuart Wain