[b.abuse] – Memories of Better Days are Gone (2018) REVIEW

My introduction to B.Abuse/B-Abuse/[b.abuse] was their 2005 full-length ‘Misery is the Rhythm of This World’ and at the time their brand of experimental post-hardcore with atmospheric sludge influences was almost too forward-thinking to absorb. The four songs of that full-length were all about ten minutes long and seemed to channel the pre-‘Through Silver in Blood’ ethos of Neurosis as well as the post-hardcore trends of the time. Fast forward to 2012 and their ‘Devil’s Harvest’ album was an entirely different meditation on Amebix influenced atmo-sludge that tossed around Unsane-like grime-core as much as it toyed with math rock and post-hardcore. After a second six year break they’re back with their most coherent, and now fittingly modernized musical statement that runs a gamut of soul-crushing apocalyptic foreshadowing and helpless drain-circling helplessness.

[b.abuse] don’t celebrate the apocalypse on ‘Memories of Better Days are Gone’ so much as they rub the reality of greater human suffering to come bitterly in our faces as if humanity were a dog getting it’s nose rammed in it’s own diarrhea. “Alte Haeuser Ohne Namen” is particularly cruel with it’s 5 minute harrowing spoken word diatribe perfectly setting the scene for the rest of the record. In many ways it’s placement recalls the earliest fires of Godflesh as much as it does ‘Enemy of the Sun’ and I looked forward to it almost as much as the more powerful guitar driven tracks on the album. “Reward Prediction Error” was an absolute standout for me because it goes from ‘Streetcleaner’ crust then bursts into a sound closer to Botch covering Killdozer or any other late 80’s roughed up noise rock band. “Nothing Will Remain” similarly taps into that dark and harrowing noise rock sound, as if it were performed by a 90’s crust band, for a throat-puncher of a song that slowly gives way to hissing sludge for it’s conclusion.

The cruel and nihilistic aggression of ‘Memories of Better Days are Gone’ always provides reprieve in the form of instrumental and ambient post-rockish tracks. These tracks are welcome emotional respite from the core slough of despondency that the album survives on, but the post-rockin’ of “Days Gone By” and “We Were Like Ants” don’t -both- feel necessary for the album’s flow. I would have dropped “Days Gone By” entirely, but at 42 minutes the album never feels like it grasps for filler moments. The meek shall inherit a frightening and callous world soon enough, and I think [b.abuse] have clairvoyance for the future of post-crust just as well as they did back in 2005. A must-listen for fans of crust, noise rock, and classic atmo-sludge alike.


Artist B.Abuse
Type Album
Released February 23, 2018
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Post-Crust, Noise Rock, Neo-Crust, Atmospheric Sludge

Always darkness, anger, pain and fear. 3.75/5.0

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