SENSUAL NOISE is an experimental, down-tempo hardcore band from the Belgian coast. Initially formed as a four-piece back in 2004, they now number five, and describe themselves as a ‘doom assault.’ (Not exactly what I was expecting from either the name of the band or the title of this, their second formal release!)
There is actually a fair mix of influences and styles on this five-track EP – it’s not all mental, hardcore shouts and screams. It does have its more considered moments. However, I feel they may be overplayed a little – more of that in a moment.
Opening track ‘Step Into Motion,’ is an excellent way to start an EP. It firmly establishes that SENSUAL NOISE can really rawk! The hardcore vocals are evident on this one – growled and threatening, they intermingle with brief moments of calmness as the song drops to a meandering bass line that slowly builds and invites in the other instruments for the instrumental and more slow-paced second half of the track. (The impressive drumming, I have to say, is quite rightly given some prominence on this track and throughout the EP’s half hour duration.)
‘Red Pelican Black Cat’ is an interesting song title….but in all honesty it could be called anything at all because you can’t make out a word of the vocals! But that’s the way I like it – it starts out quite violently and then slows down and takes the form of early Seventies Prog Rock music – reminding me very much of the German band Guru Guru in its style and composition. I like this track very much.
‘Battle Of The Ants,’ however, is where the EP kind of loses me. It’s very much down-tempo, although the vocals do rise from the depths to roar their fury at certain points. Probably in isolation I would enjoy this more, but at six and a half minutes it would have had more positive impact had it been cut by about fifty percent.
The opening two minutes of ‘Agoraphobe On Fire’ had me back to full attention, with the full blast of the hardcore side of SENSUAL NOISE to the fore. And then, bugger me, didn’t it just drop down in pace again?! Not in intensity, though. No – it’s still pretty heavy, but again I think they slightly labour the slower passages. Maybe cut them back a little, or substitute with a bit more of the hardcore side?
Case in point: final track’ Moving Through Borders’ is the shortest of the five, at marginally less than four minutes, and as such it maintains interest and vibrancy throughout. The vocals this time have a sort of eerie feel to them. Against a backdrop of rolling, tribal drums and a heavy bass line augmented with resonating deep guitar licks, it’s as if a group of demonically possessed monks are passing through the cloisters. It’s most certainly different, and would vie with ‘Step Into Motion’ for the accolade of ‘best track.’
I can think there would be a great interest in this EP if it gets the exposure, but would suggest SENSUAL NOISE guard against extending their works just for the hell of it.
(Self released in a six-page digi-pack CD format and available through the band at http://www.sensualnoise.be )
(7.5 / 10)