Following a fairly lengthy hiatus, the UK industrial black thrashers have returned with a remarkable album presented in an even more remarkable cover. ‘Host Rider’ is an unsettling, strangulating cacophony drawing from wide-ranging influences yet sounding cohesive and channelled into the filthy outpouring that is this latest album from Zebadiah Crowe.
On one hand this is disturbingly industrial and pulsating with filth (in a manner reminiscent of Godslave) and, on the other, it takes more extreme forms of metal and sets about making them as abrasive as the boundaries of sound allow. Album opener, ‘Knucklebones’, hurls forth with an overblown synth (that sounds like Jean-Michel Jarre on mushrooms) and a blood-curdling vocal from half of the band, The Horrid, but it is on standout track ‘A Horror to The Eyes of Saintly Men’ where the band truly come into their own with a relentless barrage of unmerciful noise.
This record is lacking in any sense of sanity yet manages to maintain a meaning and a relevance throughout. Echoes of Ministry are clear but there are also subtle nods to the more unexpected – a touch of very early Anaal Nathrakh maybe or, in places, a hint of pre-stardom Slipknot.
There is music that finds itself in the underground and then there is music that is born from the murky sludge at its core. With ‘Host Rider’, Zebadiah Crowe have not only achieved the latter, they are more than content to wallow in that filth for evermore.