Imagine the intense angst of Amenra colliding with the fuzzy drawn-out spacey riffs of Sleep and you might get somewhat in the ballpark of Dutch quintet Throwing Bricks. Having started out as predominantly punk/hardcore on preceding demos and EPs, the band retain that essence on their debut album What Will Be Lost but expand dramatically into blackened sludge and post-metal territory. Shimmering post-metal riffs, furious black metal tremolos, relentless slow drums that pummel the senses into a hypnotic misery are pierced by speedy blastbeasts along with tortured howls and screeching with plenty of fuzz and feedback.
‘What Will Be Lost/Won’t Happen Again’ opens with sombre and melodic guitar before crashing drums and tortured dual vocals of rasping screeches and strained growls ramp up the turmoil, experimenting with the dynamics and tempo they continue in this way throughout the record.
Second track ‘The Day He Died’ and closer ‘Ready to Fall’ reveal a clear Amenra influence, especially in the vocals and haunting guitar, while ‘Ceremony’ is fuzzy-as-fuck, operating somewhere between the drawn-out psychedelia of stoner rock legends Sleep and oppressive drone of Sunn O))). There is a groovy swagger in the bass of ‘Glass Queen’ but the vocals remain heavy anguished, contrasting with the melodic yet chaotic vibe of ‘Galling’.
Featuring frantic punky drums and feverish guitar, ‘Constant Failure’ moves from a crusty to blackened atmosphere of fast tremolos as all aspects are sped up to a dynamic chaos. Elsewhere, ‘Patterns Rise’ stands out with another seamless transition on which distorted dragged-out feedback leads into a burst of blastbeats before slowing back down into a relentless bludgeoning of percussion accompanied by contorted, elongated howls.
Labelled as “emotionally punishing” the very aptly named Throwing Bricks earn the right to join the ever-growing list of bands that revel in assaulting the senses. The album’s intensity makes it an exacting and somewhat repetitive listen, but the band certainly do what they set out to do by leaving you mentally beaten and broken. This is a bleak but intriguing tapestry with various styles blended seamlessly.
This is a band who really toy with tempo and tone to make music that somehow feels simultaneously both a wild ride and a monotonous slog through a never-ending quagmire. Portraying the feeling of utter hopelessness as we inch ever closer to the apocalypse, it’s easy to imagine a live show being a captivating experience and the depressing experience of listening to this forlorn album really hammers home the similarly depressing feeling of wondering when that may actually be. In the meantime though, listen and weep and maybe visualise throwing bricks at capitalists.
What Will Be Lost is out now on Tartarus Records. Order here.
Words: Abi Coulson