How to Kill: Like Angels (Failsafe)

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How to Kill: Bad Day at Black Rock
How to Kill: Like Angels (Failsafe)

If the band name, the album cover, titles like And Death Shall Have Dominion and the black on black postcards within don't give you the clue, then I shall flip all the cards and tell you: this four-piece from Christchurch delve into the dark stuff . . . but not in some kind of death-metal/horror-kitschy way at all.

These guys are a wall of sonics instrumental band who have a widescreen vision and the firepower to back it up. They also have a sense of dynamics which isn't grounded in the obvious soft-loud formula of the grunge era but owes more to the scouring of bands like New Zealand's Skeptics and New York guitar artists like Glenn Branca or those who move in the circles around Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo.

And they don't also go for the obvious sense of menace (stalking bass lines, creepy little guitar figures) but rather carve out sheer blocks of sound through suggestions of Metallica chords before skimming off with some references to evocative film-noir soundtracks.

This won't be to everyone's taste, but it is powerful, impressive, more measured than first impressions (or my description) might suggest, and I have found it remarkable tonic.

They should be big in Berlin. 

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