Album: Bad Faith
There is nothing clear about the path with which humanity progresses. While, true, there are guidelines in the forms of hope and prayer—and rules in the form of laws and regulations—there is no single upon which mankind’s collective feet must plot, one ahead of the other, towards an “end.” Instead, there is a thicket—a mass of unorganized bramble that faces us, sheer organic dissonance. And nothing anthropomorphizes that dissonance better than Denouncer, and their gut-busting, bone shattering full length release, Bad Faith. Bad Faith is a brief but comprehensive lecture on harsh, faith-free hardcore—from jarring, battering breakdowns to thrashing, lacerating riffs and pummeling percussion, Denouncer are a diverse group of musicians who are capable of crafting a stunning and immersive release out of the barest, most minimal elements of the genre.
Denouncer waste no time in showmanship—no flair for the dramatic, no build up—just raw, wrenching anguish that grabs the listener by the throat and crushes their windpipe. “Existence” is a brooding, bitter track which shows one side of Denouncer’s duplicitous dynamic: sludgy, down-tuned atmosphere. Tracks like “Existence” and “Detach” lumber along at a giant’s pace, crushing down upon the listener’s shoulders like Earth on Atlas’ back. Roaring assaults of ambient, arching guitar lines soar over looming, splashy-yet-sinister drumming: it is as if Bad Faith is a cathedral built in memoriam of the dissonance which guides humanity as it strides tediously through the bramble of its own future. While the drums trudge and the guitars hover like an albatross overhead, the vocals are simply chaotic. A beastly, aggressive roar accompanies the catastrophic instrumentation and guides it into the listener’s head and lets it spread through the listener’s mind—taking over, slowly but surely.
The second side of the Janus-like experience that Denouncer provide on Bad Faith is sinful, scalding aggression. No track shows this better than “Bastard.” This song rampages at a break-neck and rollicking pace—trading in the uncertainty and timidity of humanity’s plodding, slow pace through the thicket of dissonance for a panicked, hurried sprint. “Bastard,” along with “Abandoned” slice through the disordered wall of confusion and ambiguity of the band’s peers in the hardcore genres and creates nothing but sheer, skin-rending dissonance. Chugs clash with splashing, roaring cymbals and stray chords creating nothing but aural insanity for the listener to get lost in. On top of it all, where brooding anguish and sinister darkness kept the vocals in the straight-and-narrow, energy and anger lets them roam wherever they like—from screeches, to shouts to guttural lows and surreal, in-your-face yells. This intense energy keeps the listener hooked, lacing their already piqued interested with a burning desire to hear what else Denouncer have to attack them with.
It’s the winding, plodding bitterness that manages to sneak and flow into the listener’s head, but the bitter, energetic anger which hammers it in, solidifying its presence in the listener’s brain. In this manner, Denouncer employ a beautiful, yet brutal dynamic of crushing, sludgy atmosphere and skin-rending, spine-shattering energy to make a masterpiece out of relatively little. Denouncer take thrashy, jarring guitar lines and chuggy, crushing breakdowns, combine them with dissonant, immense atmosphere and roaring, diverse vocals to make a raw, gritty album which puts even the most overproduced hardcore releases to shame. The sheer amounts of boundless emotion and skin-dissolving acidity present on Bad Faith are enough to turn even the staunchest believers in glitzy, glamorous production and ritzy, dazzling electronic effects to cynics and soulless misanthropes. That is the true beauty of Denouncer—they denounce the popular path chosen by their peers and carve their own way through the disorganized density that faces the future of hardcore.
To hell with what you believe, every conception you have come to call true about hardcore is nothing—especially after being obliterated by the dissonant destruction of Denouncer’s Bad Faith. Raw, rigorous and ruthless, this furious four-piece have taken the chewed bubblegum-and-duct-tape approach to piecing together what might very well be one of the most in-your-face and relentless attacks hardcore music has seen in years.
For Fans Of: Nails, Xibalba, Dead End Path, Backtrack, Ceremony
By: Connor Welsh