Some albums are best reviewed from the inside. By unpicking the component parts, by lifting the lid and seeing what lies within, by studying the blueprints to understand how the mechanics work. There are others that are best viewed from a distance, where you have to stand back and look at the overall picture, that are best understand by staying on the outside and looking in. Scrawl make albums that fall into the latter category. It’s not that they don’t write melodies and riffs, lyrics and tunes, it’s just that they bury them in such extreme sonics that you are better off looking less at the song writing minutiae and just letting the whole thing wash over you in a wave of musical malevolence.
And malevolence is the right word because the raw and raucous riffs, the tsunami wave of drum beats, the industrial bass pulses and the demonic vocal wails are all about creating a nightmarish scenario. It is the stuff of troubled dream, the soundtrack to a breakdown, the score to a history of warfare and hate yet somehow addictive, sort of in the same way that watching violent films, car crashes and wanton destruction have a hypnotic quality that stops you pulling away and refocusing on more pleasant things.
Whilst the production does let them down slightly, music this extreme needs exacting separation to truly appreciate it, the overall result is a perfectly dark suit of songs. Songs which go to hell and back…actually not back, just to hell, that take the art of music making to its extremes, which merge music and mood, emotion and excess, demonic intensity and claustrophobic weight, pain and pleasure into an oddly infectious experience.
File under: Not for the faint hearted.