May 29, 2013

Wreck & Reference

The impending arrival of Deafheaven's gorgeous new album Sunbather is a sure bet to become a critically adored crossover with both heavy music listeners and those who don't typically wear black on a daily basis, and with that, the spotlight will undoubtedly make its way over to California's Bay Area scene to uncover what other forms of darkness might be hiding alongside the sun-soaked Pacific Coast. The Sacramento duo Wreck & Reference are one of its more undefinable finds of bleakness residing within the dredge. Coming together in 2011, they're at best categorized (and AS uses that term loosely) as an experimental act consisting of multi-instrumentalist Felix Skinner and drummer Ignat Frege, meaning there's no guitar or bass lines in their music to brandish them as a black metal band or hardcore band à la Converge or Loma Prieta. With just contortions of vox, a Korg sampler and Frege's kit, however, they've crafted a doom spell of desolate atmospherics that compliment their axe-wielding contemporaries' decibel assaults just as Swans and Xiu Xiu might if either exorcised their demons instead of growing comfortable in their self-destructive nature, or had their fellow Cali shadow dwellers Chelsea Wolfe and Whirr forced severity onto themselves instead of lingering around lush apocalypticisms. On the heels of 2011's Black Cassette EP, Wreck & Reference's abstract brutality began to unfurl properly last year when they released their debut LP Youth (pronounced "No Youth") on the San Fran-based indie-metal championing label Flenser Records. This week, they add yet another layer of complexity to their résumé with the Content 7" (again, pronounced "No Content,") which sees them team up with Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Whirr, Loma Prieta) in the studio for two brand new listens that expands the duo's unsettling sonic dementia into a cracked-wide sky. As metallic basics continue to spawn brilliant new designs that are often difficult to define, Skinner and Frege's weird thunder is that of wildly cryptic ambitions.

"Absurdities & Echoes"

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