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Unsane - Wreck Review

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Unsane - Wreck

Unsane - Wreck

Alternative Tentacles
New York City's noise rockers Unsane have been making metallic, hardcore tinged punk since 1988, and Wreck is their seventh full-length album. Unsane are devoted to an angry, seething filthiness in their sound that evokes the merciless and danger of old New York City. Wreck is no different, all rage and bloody concrete, the voice of a city that is ready to swallow you whole.

The production quality has just the right amount of griminess to suit the alternating brooding fury and spitting aggression of the album perfectly. The guitars have scratchy, gritty quality that contrasts very well against the bluesy smoothness of many of the riffs and enhances the sharp edges of many others. The sound also has a close quality to it, not so much that the album feels strangled, but just enough to evoke a bit of claustrophobia and crowding.

The individual songs that compose Wreck are permutations of various forms of frustration, finally unleashed. Each song engages with a different kind of pent-up emotion and the results of unleashing it. “No Chance” rages against futility and inevitability, surging forward and then being battered back, while “Ghost” has a completely different kind of energy, a more urgent, swirling, scathing abrasiveness.

A lot of aggressive music makes anger seem one-note and monotonous, an ongoing scream of uniform rage. Wreck is a downright poetic example of fury and frustration in many of its forms, offering up a complex and even delicate array of all the flavours this transformative and violent emotion has to offer.

Unflinchingly angry and yet musically intelligent, Wreck manages to make a great deal of sense out of Unsane's fury. As raw and potent as the emotions are, they are portrayed with a subtlety and musical sensibility that is as satisfying to listen to as is it stirring. Here is where Unsane's experience shines: this album is a distillation of their anger, a smart and nuanced look at negativity that reminds their audience why they are some of the masters of dystopian hardcore.

(released March 20, 2012 on Alternative Tentacles)

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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