Review / Warren Schoenbright – The Agony In The Garden

The new album from London based noise rock/experimental trio Warren Schoenbright is a colossal, multi-layered work that takes its inspiration from Michel Foucault’s essay Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias, which focuses on humanity’s relationship with spaces. He develops the concept of heterotopias as “counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted”, and describes gardens as idealised microcosms of the real world . Taking this blueprint, the band have created a “collection of music which ushers one through an imagined, ruined, half remembered and contested territory”. In doing so, they have produced music which is ever-evolving and constantly changing form, unfolding and extending. Even without prior knowledge of the band’s inspiration and intentions behind The Agony In The Garden, one can hear how multiple ideas are taking place, overlapping one another, resulting in a sense of ever-transient space.

The sprawling, near fifteen minute long ‘Polyglot Abyss’ is arguably the standout track here, its first five minutes taken up with ominous throbs, creeping feedback and cymbal tinkering, creating a lingering atmosphere of approaching menace. When it does settle down into a groove, the caustic bass lines coupled with the driving attack of the drumkit give the whole piece a simultaneously industrial and organic vibe, as the guitars swell and pulsate to a climactic ending. Nods to Godflesh can be heard in the discordant guitars and thundering drum sounds, yet Warren Schoenbright occupy a space that’s truly their own.

Whilst the hallmarks of Warren Schoenbright’s previous releases are all here – the industrial sized rhythms, the abrasive guitar tones and aggressive vocal flourishes – there is a sense that the experimental trio have given their music much more space to breath. The whole feel of The Agony In The Garden is more expansive, less claustrophobic, yet loses none of its impact in being so. In all, this is an impressive addition to a growing catalogue of intriguing releases.  

The Agony Of The Garden is out now via Hominid Sounds and can be purchased here.

Words: Adam Pegg

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