Sloks: A Knife In Your Hand – album review

SloksSloks: A Knife In Your Hand

(Voodoo Rhythm Records)

LP | CD | DL

Out now

Louder Than War Bomb Rating 4

 

Italy’s Sloks return with a blast of batshit-crazed fuzzed to the max trash-punk.

Turin’s Sloks first hit our radar just four months ago when they appeared on the latest tribute album to Subsonics. Their contribution was a blast. As if that wasn’t proof enough that their new album, A Knife In Your Hand, would be something to behold, the rule of three reigns true. Released via Voodoo Rhythm Records (run by one-man primitive-punk psychobilly underground leader Beat Zeller, a.k.a. Reverend Beat Man) and produced by Lo Spider, whose hands controlled great releases in recent years from The Scaners and Destination Lonely, a trinity of evidence preceded listening to raise expectations. And they were fulfilled.

Things kick off with the blistering proto-fuzz stomp of Dillinger, singer Ivy Claudy’s voice sounding like it’s being ripped from within her. A raw and primitive urge that, with her foils Buddy Fuzz on guitar and Tony Machete on drums, rakes you over hot coals. The trio hypnotise and lead you through a macabre dance, Claudy proclaiming that she’s “going to be Queen by the end of the day.” But this is a queen of a burning world where Flipper is her house band providing the songbook for her black mass. It’s the sound of her voice that permeates the album. On single No Makeup it begins to take an even more psychotic edge over the raucous stripped-back garage. The guitar suddenly crashes mid-beat into a feedback-drenched freefall, all the while the beat drives on.

The first half of the album leaves no room for respite from the onslaught of Sloks. It’s dizzying in its density, like a primordial take on The Cramps. When they reach Ruin It All, the guitar opens up somewhat, all the while still doused in that glorious fuzz sound. The effect, coupled with Claudy’s still demonic vocals, creates a stalking madness that engulfs from all sides. Killer vs Killer adds some space to breathe, from the floor, battered within an inch of oblivion. The guitar crashes sporadically over a simple organ, the simple drum beats pegging it to the rest of the songs. The vocals, throughout the verses at least, no longer attack, yet warn with veiled menace.

By the time the album reaches its closing triplet, the tools are well identified. Blunt and brutal, pounded and pile-driven. Sloks are not here to offer any surprise, but to draw you into a darkness where you know the unruly rule and the gothic garage Queen reigns.

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Words by Nathan Whittle. Find his Louder Than War archive here.

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