Thursday, October 7, 2010

Surroundings - Self-Titled (Review)

So here is my contribution to Lost In Sabbath. Another old jaded dude.It doesn't happen often nowaways that a band really catches a glimpse of my eyes and ears. I finally figured out that my taste in music stagnated somewhere in time and only few bands that formed and released their shit after 2003 interest me much but every now and then you cross something.

I stumbled across the name SURROUNDINGS in a thread about the beef between their singer and Mr give-me-my-burger-usa-rules (Let Down. Mother of Mercy, soon on a European Tour again). Apparentely they played a show together and the singer of SURROUNDINGS was watching Let Down in the front row with a beer in his hand (nothing better than having a beer in hand and enjoying the show of a mediocre band) and got his keg of beer kicked out of his hands and getting called a whiny faggot afterwards. So this incident founded my sympathy and I have started my researches. The result was well this something, a split record called "World Darkness" between Pellinore and SURROUNDINGS. [Yes, the word actually is WORLD and not this fancy fashionshit like VVorld.]

I have to admit that Pellinore are great as well but SURROUNDINGS really did it for me. Besides this split they have released so far a nice 7" called "Monuments in Ruins". This year Surroundings have now unleashed their first long-player (I guess you can call it that way) which is simply-put "self-titled". So why did I claim that I rarely listen to any new shit. Well, the new shit I mainly listen to sounds like old shit, like the good old days. I will now quote the influences that SURROUNDINGS stated on their myspace and as you will see, besides the name-dropping, they cover a nice range of influences, at least in my book: Eyehategod, Neurosis, Unsane, Discharge, Nirvana, Earth and Discordance Axis.

And if this isn't self-explanairy enough, I will give you a short description: SURROUNDINGS are playing their own interpretation of hardcore: lightning fast, heavy and slow, down-tuned riffage, distortion and ear-piercing feedback and heartfelt screams/yells. Calling them powerviolence won't do them justice, neither are they a Mind Eraser rip-off. They remind me of Drop Dead and Siege a fair amount of times and they have this southern sludge introspective nihilistic element. The lyrics are harsh and tell us that this world and what man made out of it is just a huge pile of shit, the songs are short and grinding. When you expect it the least SURROUNDINGS will turn around the song structure and let the song fall apart in a gritty way. Then you have deal with an unpredictable feedback-infested muddy slowpaced swamp and the notes keep dragging and dragging. While most (let's call them evil, depressived, dark) bands stick to a well-ridden dark and depressed formula: Let's just play real slooooow and let nothing else happen and bore the shit out of everyone, SURROUNDINGS present a different approach with the sheer rage, compressed negativity and the brick to your face.
The guy has a voice that I envy and I jealously wish was my own. He has a great feeling when it comes down to place the words and how to fit them in. Most vocalists don't understand that their voice is an immanent element of a band, another instrument to be taken care of, another piece to keep it all together and they give the sound their own gritty character. SURROUNDINGS know how to do it and how to do it right.
I haven't been excited about a band coming from the hardcore spectrum lately and that's why you should be too.

1. World of Failure
2. Virgilkapelle
3. Harvesting Dirt
4. No Seed
5. Man Has Failed
6. Dead Mass
7. Five Suns
8. Trouble In the Dunes
9. The Jar Is Empty
10. Walls and Wires
11. Gluttony of God

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