Skill and talent, just like noise-rock. There’s plenty of fools trying, and plenty of them fail. Thankfully, those that don’t keep the torch aloft and well lit. Black Flag managed it, as did The Stooges before them. And the spirit of these accomplished noise makers infuses the racket of Hereford’s consuumer.
That’s high praise, and not to be thrown around lightly. But, as Henry Rollins himself said, noise is one of the few genres to remain untouched by corporate molestation. As a result, it remains a vital and potent force, a thrilling and necessary alternative in the 21st century. And consuumer are walking, screaming proof of that.
The 4 tracks across their debut EP Shattered Fruit, alternately ooze by in a sludge of shuddering riffs or blast by with a punk-inflected speed that never veers into the incoherent. They somehow manage to combine the attitude of straight forward hardcore punk with its slower cousins in sludge metal and the My War era of the aforementioned Black Flag. A feat no one else has accomplished. Or at least, they never sounded as good as consuumer.
There’s two of ‘em in it, but they make such an unholy racket you’d swear there was twelve. Even at their quieter moments they sound immense, with the clean guitar tone sounding like a demented cross between Nirvana’s soft moments circa Nevermind and Duane Eddy’s vintage hollow body twang.
Then, they kick into gear, and the whole ungodly mess descends into a vortex of sweet noise. The screeched lyrics of the frontman “I am the petrol/ and I am the match/ I am the chopping block/ and I am the axe” express the confusion and rage of a generation strangely bereft of a focal point for those emotions. consuumer could very well be that focal point.
With a sound as blunt as a dulled cleaver, yet with the precision of a laser beam, consuumer stand tall as a testament to the fact that there are in fact still angry young men out there. They might not look like The Clash or The Pistols, and they sure as Hell don’t sound like them. Or indeed, anything that’s come before. But they are still here. Like an army of berserkers, ready and waiting for their moment.