Athenian noise rock quartet Krause have been around since 2015, attracting small but dedicated followings in both Greece and the UK. Their debut album, ‘2am Thoughts’ (2017), marked them out as a band of interest for lovers of the sort of heavy, sludgey noise rock made by Amphetamine Reptile artists like Unsane and Cows back in the early 90s. Their second album, ‘The Ecstasy of Infinite Sterility’ (2019), was in much the same vein; Krause did not alter their sound drastically, they just made it slightly dirtier and uglier, and it was no less sonically impressive or enjoyable than their debut as a result. Their latest album, ‘The Art of Fatigue’, is their best album yet. It sees them teaming up with engineer Giorgos Christoforidis, who brings metallic hardcore tinges to the band’s sound through the way he layers all the instrumentation into this thick, dense mix.
The way in which the guitars, bass, and drums all meld together on opening track ‘Ignorant Acts of Stunted Vision’ sets the tone well for what is to follow. The tempo speeds up significantly on ‘Crowdfunded Assassination’ and ‘Sloppy Human Excess’. In fact, it doesn’t let up for the entirety of the album’s first side and beyond, as Krause blast through ‘The Stuff of Tired Eyes’, ‘Talentless but Connected’, ‘Steeped in Disaster’, and ‘Bootstrap Reactionaries and Alienated Intelligentsia’ like their lives depend on it.
‘Ceremonial Aspects of Everyday Bloodbaths’ and ‘Stressworld’ may have a slower pace to them than what has preceded them, but this just enables appreciation of Christoforidis’ excellently sludgey layering of the instrumentation at a more listener-friendly pace. Alongside the music, all of which is played flawlessly, another noteworthy thing about ‘The Art of Fatigue’ is frontman Alex Vagenas’ vocals, which recall those of Unsane’s Chris Spencer at their best, but manage to sound even more strained and pained. When the sessions for this album were over, the poor man’s throat must have hurt considerably.
The speedy ‘Hot Bods and Prohibition’ and the comparatively, slow, thick, dense, six-minute epic ‘The Things I Love Affront Me with the Effort It Takes to Love Them’ bring ‘The Art of Fatigue’ to a close, and when it’s over, the abiding feeling the album leaves is one of having been impressed. Over just 32 minutes of music, Krause have created some of the heaviest, filthiest noise rock released so far this year, cementing their place as one of the most exciting emerging noise rock bands in the process. It would be possible to fill up the rest of this review with superlatives, but that would be doing the band and the reader a disservice. Seriously, go and listen to this album now. It is the best album of 2022 so far, one whose music cannot be done justice by mere words. If there’s any justice, it will lead to Krause selling out the Scala and being added to major festival bills. ‘The Art of Fatigue’ is available now via Venerate Industries. Order it here.