Oct. 18 2016 03:16 PM

Mexicali band’s A Century of Abuse is dark, aggressive

Since the dawn of the decade, there's been a pronounced resurgence in post-punk, albeit one that's had some unexpected permutations. London's Savages have infused Joy Division's streamlined gloom with an intense, muscular weight, while Atlanta's Algiers paired proto-industrial menace with soul and gospel for something both ominous and uplifting. Mexicali's Silent—fronted by Jung Sing, former drummer of San Diego synth punks All Leather—has a similarly innovative take on a dark punk sound, boosting Birthday Party and Banshees-inspired melodies with a gut-punching post-hardcore thrust.

Silent's debut album, A Century of Abuse, finds them arriving with a complete, albeit intense first full statement as a band. Right off the bat, "Lies Co." pulses and throbs with a focused yet menacing pound. There's a more manic groove to "Lost Voice," which walks the line between danceable and abrasive, collapsing into a moody, Sonic Youth-style interlude before rising back up into an unsettling dance party. And "Nothing for Nothing" features a furious bassline that more explicitly recalls The Birthday Party's Tracy Pew, juxtaposed nicely against a less frantic series of guitar riffs.

Some of the most effective moments on A Century of Abuse are the simplest. "Self," released as the first single from the album, crushes and gallops with a machine-gun drum beat and a rubber band bassline, Jung Sing yelping and screaming like a man possessed against a one-chord chorus. "Ripped Me" has a similar approach, but stretched out a bit, allowing more space in between the shriek and the low-end. It ends up being one of the catchiest moments of the record, as well as one of the most chilling.

Most of A Century of Abuse comprises moments of relentless energy and aggression, though the band's more atmospheric tracks—placed sparingly and effectively—showcase a broader depth in their songwriting abilities. "A Century" stalks slowly and eerily, like a just-offscreen horror movie villain. Yet "If You Said" features a much prettier melody, its goth-ballad sound a welcome break from the violence. With post-punk songs that hit this hard, however, you definitely don't want to mellow out too long before the breakneck rhythms start up again.

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