ART OF BURNING WATER
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LIMITED EDITION 300 ONLY BLACK VINYL LP. HOUSED IN REVERSE BOARD PRINTED SLEEVE WITH DOUBLE SIDED INSERT
A1. No Day Is Tragedy Free
A2. You Get What You're Given
A3. Happiness Always Ends In Tears
A4. At The Hands Of Them
A5. Feast Of Testicles
B1. Snake State Nausea
B2. It Will All Make Sense When We're Dead
B3. December 14th 1990 (Sadness Begins)
B4. Great British Hope Destroyer
B5. How To Be A Worrier
Art Of Burning Water refuse to die despite being one of the most frowned upon bunch of noise making twats of the past 10 years.
There is no machine behind this band and the UK 'underground' rock circle jerk has never approved them or championed them and they do not have friends in high places but DO have high friends. You won't be told to check them out and they will not be seen high fiving the correct people in the correct places in order to further their way up festival bills with the correct bands.
Art Of Burning Water are outsiders in the truest sense of the word AND VERY PROUD TO STAND OUTSIDE THE GOLDEN CIRCLE OF YOUR LOVE.
Art Of Burning Water are a steroided immigrant noise punk outfit that does not need to be loved to live.
Art Of Burning Water love what they do and therefore need not be loved for what they do. This is strong music by weak people.
Stuffed to the gills with hack ‘n’ slash grindcore madness, this vicious slab of vinyl is a caustic reintroduction to one of the UK underground’s most vituperative bands. Leaning hard on a pristine yet gouging production sound, “Living Is For Giving…” is a nineteen minute blast of contempt, fashioning guttural stomping riffs into incisive blade-like implements. A singular strain of black humour pervades dark witted track titles such as “No Day Is Tragedy Free” and “It Will Make Sense When You Bleed”, pouring even more fuel on the chaos contained within. It is nothing less than a sonic monstering.
Three years ago to the day, I caught London’s Art Of Burning Water supporting Conan at the Unicorn, although I wasn’t won over. Watching the semi-veterans unravelling their complex sludge tangle felt like encountering someone easily solving a cryptic crossword – impressive, for sure, but inexplicably contemptible. I’ve since ditched my luddite fear of technical ability, thankfully in time to really get down with the band’s fifth full length due out in October on Riot Season.
Living is For Giving, Dying Is For Getting sees the band cornering noise rock and forcing in to brawl, harnessing the power of the almighty lurch. At every available opportunity, Art Of Burning Water deploy refracted and inverted riffs that squirm along to the type of miniscule pedantic grooves which only really make sense to the band themselves, but are fascinating enough to consent to. Unhinged hardcore along the lines of Cold Sweat and Leeds’ Mob Rules bleeds in to tracks like ‘Happiness Always Ends In Tears’ and ‘Snake State Nausea’, and the way they execute it aligns them somewhere near the sound of rural bruisers Meadows, but they are indisputably following their own path.
Huge, slaloming chunks of metallic mass and pistoning atonal bass algorithms knock the wind out of you time and time again throughout – the sheer amount of heave ’n’ crush in ‘December 14th 1990 (Sadness Begins)’ even providing healthy competition for Magrudergrind’s ‘Bridge Burner’ – and although amusingly indecipherable during the last mentioned track (shrieking plus reverb sounds an awful lot like the wind…), the vocals are convincing, hateful and overblown from start to finish. Living Is For Giving, Dying Is For Getting doesn’t always have much of a sense of adhesion, however, nor much purpose. You have the feeling that if they wanted to go heavier, they could with little fuss; stranger, faster, slower all seem within their range too (Norway’s Staer being a good example of pushing it to the limit). Tracks on the recent Isolation Tank split and The World Is Yours compilation suggested a few differing types of sounds too, but they don’t get aired here.
Ah well, even if Art Of Burning Water don’t present themselves for immediate consumption and inspection, there’s an obstinate willingness to invent and entertain within them, which overrides that all, and highlights them as one of the most valuable and formidable bands in the pleasantly swelling UK underground right now.
ECHOES AND DUST
I’m not entirely sure how or why I thought The Art of Burning Water were some kind of quirky indie band, until I came across them a few years back. Since this point, I have come to associate them with bands such as Palehorse and the Afternoon Gentleman, and whilst different to the utter misery of the former and raging grind of the latter, they are definitely pushing their own kind of extremity.
Which brings us nicely to their latest; ‘Living is for giving, Dying is For Getting.’ After a brief sample ‘No Day Is Tragedy Free’ drags itself along in reluctant malice with white noise screams searing over the top and then, without warning they blast into the hyper punk of ‘You get what you’re given.’ It’s pretty clear that accessibility is not much of a priority, there is no feeling that they are making music for anyone other than themselves and as a result they go wherever they please and make a brutal but intelligent racket in the process.
Sonically they fall somewhere between Knut and various grind / noisecore bands, although there are some (relatively) straight up and memorable riffs to be found in the likes of ‘At the hands of them.’ and ‘It will all make sense when we’re dead’, which makes a good contrast and holds your attention without becoming monotonous. There is some interesting times signatures and clever flips in rhythm in the middle of “It will all make sense when we’re dead” and genuinely sinister chord progressions in “Snake state nausea” add variety and make for a listen that seems more progressive and intriguing on each listen.
At the time of writing there are still new elements coming to light which highlight how much thought has been put into the record. The playing is impeccable, well planned and clearly they are all masters of their respective instruments.
The vocals are never anything less than all out fury and desperation. Serving almost as the proverbial nails down the board in the background, it’s as if they are there purely to be unpleasant for the sake of it (which by the way is meant as a compliment). The riffs and aforementioned dynamics and technical changes carry the overall sound and for me are what form the songs, rather than relying on standard structure / verse / chorus.
If you’re looking for pure nihilism and fury and an example of a band pushing themselves to the extreme, with no regard for others opinion and with the intention of making a hideous racket, then look no further. At 20 minutes long it’s a little brief, but needs to be no longer. This is a crushing work of utter despondency which I can’t recommend enough.
AOBW have been round long enough to know better. If you're reading a site like this you've seen them take skin from twenty paces in the back room of a pub outside the centre of some city or town. If not, just click on that track below and you'll know where you are. UK DIY band, on the floor. Somewhere between hardcore and metal, there're nods to the old and to the new.
They've got a really fuckin' excellent grip on how and why parts of modern life are crap. AOBW have taken hold of the object, had a real good look at it and made their minds up. It's worse, and it doesn't have to be like this.
The production is fierce, it's not what you'd classically call good, but who wants that. Everything's on top of everything else. The drumming is neck aching lesson in the balance of technical proficiency and abandon. What the strings lack in strict tightness just adds to the careening nature of Living Is For Giving. Tunes aren't been drawn out of the wood and steel here, they're physically forced out through a hole just slightly to small.
AOBW have done here what they've done many times before, released a fantastic record. They've always been a band that makes me want to kick shit over, and once again that chair is most definitely going out the window. You ain't going to make love to this record, but maybe you'll fuck good.
More austere but no less high impact are Art Of Burning Water. Living Is For Giving, Dying Is For Getting opens with a sample of Malcolm X's declaration of solidarity: "Anyone, I don't care what colour you are, as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this Earth". It's a fierce combination of black power rhetoric and metal-punk attitude, where angst and anger are driven home with every serrated chord and chop.
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