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Bummer - "Holy Terror" | Album Review


by Brian Manley

Thundering trio Bummer claws its way out of Kansas City to deliver its latest scream-disc, a 10-song destroyer that grows from the radiated land of Noise Rock proper. Hints of Unsane, Melvins, Jesus Lizard, KARP have been spouted in the reference point game, and these starting places are good ground zero points for where Bummer hails from, although they don’t act as a big iron portcullis that traps the band into a formulaic bore. Holy Terror is an apt name for a burner that isn’t necessarily frightening, but hulking and hair-raising.

From the opening frenzy of “HeXXX Games,” Bummer reveals itself as a steward of noise rock, stirring the nest with a popeyed mass of stops, lurchings and oozings brewed within the feedback. Low-end punches with crisp brass tack drums that crunch the big riffs forward in a twisted scuffle of whatever you think post-hardcore is, rolling in the dirt with the innards of sludge punk and a bit of disfigured metal. Guitarist Matt Perrin’s vocals are raspy screeches doggedly scrapping to climb out of the uproar of the sound. Most songs hover around the two-minute mark, firing off the ruckus and quickly diving into the next cut.

Holy Terror is a consistent listen; nearly each track intros with a splash of feedback leading to a deluge of jabbing guitar that was recorded as though Perrin is fighting to keep the instrument within the lines of the song. Something like “Astro Bastard” begins with a thrash opening that maintains its mean gouge, while Mike Gustafson’s bass creeps underneath with a slithering crawl that cruises below the surface like a detached submarine following alongside with ill intent.  “Reefer Sadness” sees that bass open and lead with a grinding monstrous Unsane-level measure that launches haphazardly into a warbled off-kilter voice that trips and sways until a war-like chorus led by a enjoyably harsh and brief rhythmic hook.

The album is dogged like that, growing more tense the further in you drive. “Fred Savage 420” and “King Shit” punch faster; Sam Hutchinson’s drums fly galvanic and aggressive and Perrin’s mid-level screams again remind one of the walls built by Unsane’s Chris Spencer. Bummer’s Holy Terror is a ballistic headbanging album that doesn’t break new ground or discover a new cave, but its anchored nice and heavy in the noisy caverns it calls home. I’m willing to bet the live show is an explosive cathartic score.