Throat – Bareback (2018) REVIEW

There is something to be said for shocking induction, to be thrust into a moral dilemma just as you’ve found a comfortable existence or point of relaxation. The blindside of realization and the choice you make in response, in private, says everything about you. The experience of unwittingly taking part in something treacherous rarely creates a fog for any human being — we all know where we stand, internal dialogue is immediate, and the rationalization that follows is typically cowardice or borrowed moralization. So, in sliding into bed with the sudden realization that the stranger you’re about to mount amounts to callous infidelity, you’ve either been indoctrinated into the world of liars and opportunists or you’ll feel deeply soiled as you skitter away. With any game of instant gratification comes the chance to ‘just go with it’ and belay personal consequence. This is where Throat‘s ‘Bareback’ feels so dangerous as a modern noise rock record; This young Turku quartet examine life, self, and the fibrous jolt of noise rock music with perspective just short of anhedonic postmodernism. They’re just going for it, raw.

If played back to back with Throat‘s 2013 debut full-length ‘Manhole’ their second release appears less shackled by stylistic adherence and brutal frustration. Five years is plenty of time to grow and learn as one of Finland’s more notable noise/sludge rock acts and it seems Throat have worked themselves up into something ‘bigger’ in the meantime. Becoming the sort of go-to opener for pass-thru gigs from the likes of Torche, Unsane, and Brainbombs no doubt served as vital opportunity to see how they’d stack up. ‘Bareback’ is that next step forward and into references that reach beyond their immaculate collision of 90’s noise rock, post-hardcore, and sludge metal. To say that this is the band’s ‘In Utero’ wouldn’t be totally insane.

“Safe Unsound” is a huge gamble as an opener because it sets a tone almost entirely distinct from the rest of the album and with a pace typically reserved for the start of Side B. Its early King Dude style vocal and descent into sheet metal wringing chaos gives no real hint as to what the rest of the album is about to do. Then again none of these tracks really flow together and with repeated listening I came to appreciate that most tracks serve as their own islands in a ‘Bareback’ archipelago. You’ll get a bit of Cows, Head of David and Quicksand on the way to the finish line and thankfully the Abini-worthy production job and mix/master between folks who’ve also worked with Unsane is appropriately dynamic.

Where I begin to love ‘Bareback’ comes in the tail end of the track list starting with “Born Old”, a call-and-response between post-hardcore and spaced-out noise rock clangor finds a brilliant sweet spot. “Maritime” almost seems to end where the album should start with a song that feels more Hot Water Music than The Jesus Lizard; This odd arrangement of tracks subverts expectation in a satisfying way and makes for a unique listen that seems to go from jilted seriousness, a sort of personal despair, and works towards moving on from it. None of Throat‘s parts and pieces on ‘Bareback’ are perfect but each track has some ability to stand on its own in or out of context with the rest of the album; The trade-off is that a full listen will feel disjointed, or at least less single-minded than most modern noise rock output. The sum is weighty when taken in as a whole and while I have many records that sound like parts of Throat, very few cover such tonally diverse landscape in the space of 43 minutes. Recommended to noise rock folks exclusively but with some potential for wider sludge rock appeal.

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Artist Throat
Type Album
Released August 30, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Throat’s Bandcamp!

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Genre Noise Rock,
Sludge Metal

Keep a cool head. 4.0/5.0

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