It seems since I reviewed Studying’s ‘Songs About Leaving Home’ I find myself listening to and reviewing every punk band from Annandale, VA that I find out about. Virginia has undoubtedly seen an influx of punk, screamo, and emo bands lately and Kilgore Trout is yet another band from Annandale who is a part of this growing scene. This is their split with False Flag.
What separates Kilgore Trout’s sound from the many other bands from their area is the inclusion of multiple genres such as power-violence, noise, and screamo; sounds that have been seamlessly incorporated into a three song split of extreme and experimental music that is stylisitcally similar in both sound and composition to punk rock. It is as if Merzbow had decided to produce a punk record.
‘Hollow’, the first track opens with an oscillating wall of sound, a crushing and seemingly unexpected opener that left me interested to see where the band was going to take things. I didn’t have to wait long though because not shortly after the band opens up with some duel male and female vocals before tearing into the aggressive tendencies of power violence, full of unrelenting and pummeling chords. The vocals on this track are notable, often marring the lines between singing and screaming, a hollow half barked vocal. The track noisily transitions into the next, ‘Rose Quarts’ which begins much like the previous track. The vocals are buried beneath all of the distortion and instrument feedback and when you can hear them they are much more grating, the kind of vocals that really make for an aggressive and impacting performance.
The abrasive nature of the music on this split is undoubtedly going to turn some lovers of the genre off, however, there are moments of beauty beneath all of the chaos. On ‘Visita Interiora’ there is a clean break that leads into a section featuring remnants of clean tremolo picked guitar swells that can be heard buried beneath slabs of crunchy distortion and feedback. It is subtle and almost nonexistent, ghastly even.
Kilgore’s side of the split works so well in being aggressive while remaining raw; it proves that a band does not need top notch production to create something heavy and loud which is where I feel like so many bands associated with heavy music seem to have gone wrong. Still, I can not help but shake the fact as though the production on this release may turn some off. At times it is hard to discern some sounds from others, in other words many of the sounds get lost in the lo-fi production and muddy mess of noise. Their music is rough and unrefined, it lacks polish, which is not necessarily a negative thing as it only adds more dissonance to the atmosphere. It is raw and unforgiving, the way aggressive music should be.
Overall Rating: 7.7
Favorite Track: ‘Visita Interiora’
Recommended: Noisy, aggressive, stripped down and loud. Merzbow meets powerviolence.
*Note: this review only applies to the Kilgore Trout side of the split*