REVIEW ROUND-UP: Fit For An Autopsy, Modern Error, PENGSHUi, jackie

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Fit For An Autopsy

Oh What The Future Holds

Back in 2019, Fit For An Autopsy unleashed an epic offering in the form of the album, The Sea Of Tragic Beasts. It elevated their sound, and their career, showing an incredible exploration of compositional techniques and creativity. Following up such a well-received release always adds an extra layer of pressure; there’s a sense of eager anticipation with a hint of uncertainty as to what will come next. Of course, there was absolutely no need to worry; Oh What The Future Holds continues Fit For An Autopsy’s evolution magnificently. The band’s developed signature sound focuses in on the powerful, aggressive brutality that the heavier genres of music enable to be explored so beautifully. Fit For An Autopsy don’t just throw their all into this one aspect, they carefully manipulate and enhance it at the right moments. Balancing deeper ideas and emotions thematically and musically throughout each track, embracing the experimental, delving into new sounds and techniques, provides the album with something extra. The title track has an alluring affect with ethereal pads and a ghostly piano melody setting a disturbing mood. The build-up draws out at a dramatic pace falling into the heavy instrumentation with a fierce blow. Higher Level Of Hate delivers a percussion focused introduction, before building into heavy through a thrilling lead riff and eerie, atmospheric dissonance. The addition of a different texture, although a seemingly small detail, contributes to a huge overall impact. Collateral Damage is true to its title; incredibly intense, hard-hitting rhythms and energy charge through the track. Technical guitar motifs, and a melodic soaring lead, play with the dynamics interweaving further colour into the sound. Oh What The Future Holds delivers the utterly heavy, the guttural, the demonic elements that underpin and fuel Fit For An Autopsy’s sound. The new album also sees the outfit push even further, it sees them explore new dimensions unafraid to venture into new realms of inspiration. Oh What The Future Holds opens the door to a thrilling voyage into dark dimensions along with a few theatrical twists. • HR


For fans of: The Acacia Strain, Black Tongue, After The Burial

‘Oh What The Future Holds’ by Fit For An Autopsy is out now on Nuclear Blast Records.

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Modern Error

Victim Of A Modern Age

At a time when the greater post-hardcore scene is striving to make rigid genre delineation feel like an archaic concept, the depth is which Modern Error’s debut album is ingrained in that notion can’t be a coincidence. Here’s an album thematically and sonically divided into two movements, centred around technological advancement and its subsequent stranglehold, and relayed through the complementary tones of expansive rock and industrial to augment its post-hardcore base. It’s a tremendously ambitious undertaking for a debut, and perhaps one that Modern Error aren’t entirely equipped to stick the landing with just yet. It’s worth noting that’s a summation of how the album averages out; both sides have plentiful strengths but not the sort that have much overlap, thus leaving the album more split than the band were intending, but in a way that a concept like this can welcome as an eventuality. It doesn’t help that Lull is there to rend the album into its separate halves, where copious vocal manipulation slices through any hope of cohesion. Beyond that though, Modern Error’s proficiency with essentially everything they try feels pretty evident here. Be that in an overblown mesh of My Chemical Romance, The Used and Underøath, or the crawling Nine Inch Nails-adjacent turns that colour The Truest Blue and It’s Just A Feeling, there’s a lot achieved from the sheer breadth of work on this album. Zak Pinchin’s voice slots in well in both sides too, as he embraces a tone reminiscent of those 2000 halcyon days on A Vital Sign, but also finds a way to curve around a heaving percussion line on Feels Like Violence. The production is another area on Victim Of A Modern Age that continuously elevates what’s around it, not just in its density and unbreakable exterior that creates, but in the jagged shards of electronic assistance that facilitate the gnashing, technology-minded vibe. Despite the crossover being fairly limited on its most surface level, there’s actually quite a lot about Victim Of A Modern Age that synergises with the ideas and mood cultivated. Modern Error display significant aptitude for a variety of sounds, not necessarily in bringing them together for a cohesive whole, but exploring pockets within them with a lot of depth and payoff. They’re not quite at the heights they’re aiming for just yet, but it’s a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’; there’s potential to spare around pretty much every corner. • LN


For fans of: Underøath, Nine Inch Nails, The Used

‘Victim Of A Modern Age’ by Modern Error is released on 21st January on Rude Records.

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Destroy Yourself

The desire to endorse PENGSHUi has always been much more realistic than the capacity to do so. They’ve got an interesting, modern concept in blending punk, drum ‘n’ bass and grime, and they’ve claimed a foothold within a scene vocalising the disenfranchisement of the working class, but they don’t tend to click more than that. It’s not all that hard to figure out why either, especially when Destroy Yourself just seems to repeat the mistakes of their debut. They’re rarely able to embody the firepower that their music demands, instead left with blocky, immovable guitars and bass that grind in place more than they actually burn. Some of the writing and production on this album was contributed to by Flux Pavillion, and that can be rather telling by how the slamming weight of drum ‘n’ bass isn’t wholly transferable in this rock context. It just makes a lot of the album lumber along, really only engaging with some momentum when the wall of noise dips out for something more notably grime-flavoured, like Break The Law or IDKWYBT. That’s undoubtedly where PENGSHUi hit their most workable stride, no less because Illaman is legitimately competent as an MC. He’s able to go toe-to-toe with P Money on Break The Law in terms of speed and tactile rhyming capability, but the punk flair raises its head on the looser, carnal emotionality of Ain’t No Love and I’m Sick that do work well. But like with seemingly everything that PENGSHUi strike upon, there’s some kind of mitigating factor, here being how Illaman’s delivery doesn’t mesh with the music backing him at all, and it feels like awkward attempts are being made to clunk everything in place on more than one occasion. There’s little of the litheness or precision in PENGSHUi’s make-up that’s really needed for music this pointed and street-level to click; it operates on the ‘volume-over-vitality’ basis where the anger is justified and the perspective is understandable, but it doesn’t carry a deeper weight. With a song like Eat The Rich that was inspired by seeing Jacob Rees-Mogg saying that the Grenfell victims ‘lacked common sense’, there’s a real kernel of creative fury that could come from that, but the specificity just isn’t there. It’s a bit better on the more introspective or community-focused tracks (save for This Is My Youth that feels more like a songwriting challenge in references to Star Trek and old drum ‘n’ bass that feel completely disconnected from everything around it), but it still isn’t enough to give Destroy Yourself the boost it really needs. PENGSHUi remain respectable in their vision, almost all the way down, but the execution is still so far removed from that, and that can be hard to look past when it’s still such an important factor. • LN


For fans of: Hacktivist, Bob Vylan, Strange Bones

‘Destroy Yourself’ by PENGSHUi is released on 28th January on MVKA.

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Hey Angel

It’s rare that a band like jackie will come around and set up for a full 180 on a sound that’s always seemed destined to stay put. That’s always been the case for indie-rock plied by artists like Courtney Barnett or Kurt Vile, critically acclaimed but deeply uninteresting in presentation and sound. Hey Angel presents an interesting case then, as an EP that’s midway between those dust-settled indie-rock soloists and lilting alt-country troubadours, but with more brawn and accessibility than either to its enormous credit. For one, the warm, well-rounded sound is far preferable to the creakier norm, where the bass foundation and supple percussion offer a stable foundation for some lovely steel guitar on Leaving Tomorrow (Figure It Out) and vocal clouds on Filter. It’s just an exceptionally aesthetically pleasing listen overall, with a poppier undercurrent that jackie embrace, more so in ethos than outright stylism, that’s enough for these hooks to really settle down strongly across the board. It’s a notable boost to a sound that rarely allows this sort of brightness to make its way to the fore, and does so without marginalising the personal journey that’s of such importance. Granted, the natural format of an EP can mean that Jackie Mohr’s can seem a bit more truncated than most, but the top-shelf songwriting and determination it brings forth are as recognisable as ever. There’s a sense of exhalation that colours this EP, like reaching the end of a tunnel of self-examination and closure, and learning to embrace the discoveries found throughout. There’s certainly a darkness within that—Love To Give’s refrain of “I’ve got no more love to give / Someone took the last of it” feels particularly harrowing against the quake of the guitars behind it—but that also frames a force of will to plough ahead and thrive. It’s in the white-hot intent in restrictive ties severed on the chorus on Leaving Tomorrow (Figure It Out), and on I Can’t Forget This Feeling which rounds things out on a more hopeful, triumphant climax than most in this lane are willing to offer. All the way down, Hey Angel just hits bigger and better notes than this sort of indie-rock is liable to, to where jackie feel like an utter rejuvenation without altering any of the fundamentals, but making them work regardless. Basically, there’s no reason the rest of the scene shouldn’t be built to look like this. • LN


For fans of: Bruce Springsteen, Courtney Barnett, Sharon Van Etten

‘Hey Angel’ by jackie is released on 28th January on Perfectly Sane Music.

Words by Luke Nuttall (LN) and Holly Royle (HR)

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