Everything in Canada is supposed to be nice, right? That Trudeau bloke’s boyish grin; the clean, crisp air; the way the natives go ‘Eh’ at the end of a sentence in a wonderfully endearing way. Tell that to Resent. The 2018 demo from the Victoria, British Columbia based quartet was one of the most frightening exercises in putrid Sludge I’d ever encountered, and new album Crosshairs (Dry Cough Records / Nerve Altar / Rope Or Guillotine) promises only to extend the suffering…
All four members of the band keep their identities a mystery but there’s no mystique about the sound: subtle as a breeze block around the head from the initial, troubling sample of opener ‘Miserable’. The Funeral pace of the early stages is offset by the crushing weight of Low-end chords and rhythm, with lead feedback squealing against the pressure. Blackened rasps and Deathly roars duel for supremacy, with the whole a repugnant delight: not unlike a dinner party with Meth Drinker and Bodies on Everest. More sampled soundbites introduce the ensuing ‘Degenerate’, unsettling the listener enough to enable receipt of the fearsome, obliterating strings and horrific screams. That howling feedback is a real feature of the sound, adding to the incredible tension which is lifted only by a mournful mid-section.
Amid the noise it’s easy to ignore the phenomenal power of Resent’s stickman: raining down hammer blows with metronomic might, yet dictating the pace with sublime accuracy. By the time ‘Wallowing In Filth’ hits in, you know what’s coming: the drum and rhythm strings battering down as if an extension of each other, that vocal scour chilling the soul as it enters the fray. It’s a wall of oppressive noise that continues to build even as it seems it can go no further, a wailing protestation only adding to the unbearable nature of it all.
The trauma of an individual screaming ‘I don’t wanna needle!’ at the outset of the title track leads to some of the heaviest, bone-grinding music of the whole album: never raising itself above a canter but deadly effective at a slithering crawl; the vocal roar a near-inaudible whisper that only increases the trepidation. The penultimate ‘Victimised’ speaks of a cornered rat before swinging out its leaden portents of doom and revenge, spitting out its message with all the subtlety of an orc wielding a spiked mace: while closer ‘Miscarriage’ breaks out in equally disturbing fashion prior to its return into filth and depravity, yet with time changes that are remarkably deft for something of such crushing power.
Not hugely well known outside their territory, Resent will surely change that with Crosshairs. It really is time that more Metal fans realised how cathartic this seemingly torturous, suffocating kind of experience can be despite the apparent enmity it exudes, and chose to dive in along with us select few for a deeply uncomfortable, exhausting and rewarding event.
7 / 10