Fluoride : S/T - Review



It's just after 7am on a Saturday morning, I'm feeling groggy and listening to grind, to block out the scraping noise of the guy from the council street cleaning department clearing the weeds out from the cracks in the pavement at the front of our flat...

New Brunswick Grind Violence trio 'Fluoride,' put out their Self Titled release in March of this year, with a cassette release on the mighty To Live A Lie - all band copies of the tape are now almost sold out and there is some talk of a vinyl release.

I'm pretty late to the party here and it reminds me I really should keep better tabs on TLAL's output, because they release absolute gems!

Cheers go to my mate Chris for putting me onto what appears to be a first offering from Fluoride.

There's a haunting aspect to this record, atmosphere interspersed with blackened skramz /grind and a sense of completion of a full cycle with similarly textured noise opening and closing the record.

The initial grinding sections of 'retributivism' struck me, as they feel more of a metallic, thrash disposition in relation to the grind spectrum, holding a melodic quality that is apart from the predominantly atonal approach of powerchord driven bands that I associate more quickly with the '-violence' genre label.

'cool guy backed hard,' has similar dark melodic drive behind the opening riffs, which remind me of early offering from the UK's Crocus - giving enough discordance to the melody to conjure a bleak beauty. The final section is sludgy and drawn out, the agonised vocals feel as they come from a place of betrayal and bitter disappointment.

'due process,' has a wonderful drawn out melancholy refrain in it's opening, giving way to driving d-beat and blasts with tremelo black metal flourishes and a killer stabby figures in the penultimate section, before coming back to a slower winding down.

'tunnel vision' is direct and almost straight-in by comparison, blasting and smashing away through skank beats, descending in to a burbling and churning noise break that sees out the second second half, linking into the intro to 'Restraint,' which holds a majestically sludgy, melodic but menacing first refrain, giving way to more direct grind with stabbing hits breaking up the blasts.

'Offset, blasts out solidly into a threatening breakdown mid way, trailing off into noise soaked delay.

'Bloodroot' smashes straight out with a blasting section, moving to a stop start sludge/blast powerviolent mid point, culminating in a triplet chug which breaks out into blistering thrash.

The record closer has a chaotic screamo feel, opening with an octave line over pummelling blasts, hitting a cruising d-beat interspersed with blast fills and then a breakdown with the melodic qualities remaining, accompanying howled vocals that seem to be repeatedly screaming 'Why?' in heart-wrenching anguish. The following blasts are punishing and switch up between trad to unity blasts that really hammer the skull. The outro lists in a disorienting manner with a solo guitar dissolving into the final noise, again that give a mirrored sense to the record's intro.

I have tended towards avoiding breaking down individual tracks in previous reviews, but I really enjoyed following the different textures and sections being brought together in this release.

The overall feel of the record is desperate, suffocating, a sense of blistering rage and will to self empowerment in it's faster sections, coming up against haunting anxious despair and harrowing bleakness in the slower moments, that speak to me of despondence and disappointment.

Guitars are dense and there certainly is no absence of low end, with the pummelling double kick and frantic drum-work driving the tracks forward. Vocals are distorted, pissed off and have a punk vibe, which alternate between verging on a descent into raving incoherence and a complementing assertive, vitriolic and direct rapid fire phrasing, providing an emotional polarity between pure anger and desperate anguish.

Production is dense, bleak and filthy, flat out awesome for the vibe of these tracks. My ears are pretty tired from a bunch of successive listens, but the harshness is not overwhelming or off-putting.

The more I listen to this, the more I enjoy it and feel I'm spotting the nuances and intricacies within the songs structures. There's a certain euro-screamo vibe in there which also warms me further to this record.

For a band that seems to be in their initial stages, Fluoride have already toured/played around the states fairly extensively this year. It seems they are set on a path to conquest and my hat is certainly off to them for conjuring what feels to be a consolidated and well integrated sound that holds it's own uniqueness.

Sam - Vetala Productions




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