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Concrete Mascara, "Perennial Disappointment"

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cover imageNew Jersey based harsh electronics trio Concrete Mascara have a handful of limited releases since their inception in 2011, but Perennial Disappointment is only their second full length album, following 2014's Blossoms of Shame.  The title is obviously a tongue-in-cheek, self-effacing joke, however, because the eight songs that comprise it seethe with menace, creating a dark, violent environment via aggressive vocals, destroyed electronics, and perverse attempts at building rhythm.

Malignant

The opening moments of "The Flesh of This World" are the most peace to be had on this album, and even that is a stretch.  The trio cast a menacing rumble, slow but deliberate, with an open atmosphere, but one that channels impending doom.  From that point until the closing moments, Perennial Disappointment does not relent.  The following, "Area Trinity," is an immediate burst of crunching digital noises courtesy of Andrew Wilmer and Jack Scanlan and indecipherable (but obviously irate) screamed vocals from Frank Cordry (I assume, the credits are sparse at best).  The feel is more of a harsh noise one, due to the sustained squall the band generates, but interrupted by some stuttering effects and overall variation in sound, with hints of structure being upset by harsh chaos.  "Snake Skin Stilettos" is a similar monolith of distortion, with a few passages of sickly, squelching synthesizers before dissolving into a painfully overdriven crunch.

At other times on this disc, Concrete Mascara opts for a more structured, at times almost rhythmic approach to the vile force that spews forth.  "Utopian Nightmare" is built around a pounding noise that does not stop, throbbing like a headache as Cordry's manic, indecipherable screams cut through.  Perhaps most jarring, however, is the abrupt end the song comes to, which is somehow more forceful than any of the noisier moments.

On "Delusion of Sacrifice," the rhythm section is approximated by a machine gun like thud, as the whole piece is presented in a chaotic, but structured form that is heavily constructed from sheer anger and aggression.  The vocal sections, again hysterical and heavily processed, do not appear until the second half, and the whole thing ends in a brilliant collapse.  The trio dials back the tempo, but not the heaviness, for "Mouth of Flies, Tongue of Maggots."  The slower pace is obvious from the lurching opening rhythms, and while the piece is more of a burn than a blaze, it is no less oppressive and limps away wonderfully.

The album culminates strongly in the final “Death Trigger Impulse."  The sound is similar to what preceded it, but notched up a bit more into a sprawl of shrill, stabbing electronics and an overdriven buzz.  Even though a pseudo-rhythmic layer of noise and heavily delayed vocal part appear, everything is engulfed in an intense, supernova like wall of noise that peaks and then stops abruptly.

Perennial Disappointment is not a record anyone could describe as nice or even potentially pleasant, but I doubt those are the adjectives Concrete Mascara were thinking when they devised this harsh suite of aggression.  While terms like harsh and violent may be tossed about frequently when describing this type of music, they are entirely fitting for this album, and with a level of polish and realization that is extremely impressive.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 17 July 2016 20:39  


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