For over a decade Brooklyn’s A Place To Bury Strangers have been dealing in pure sonic destruction. Famously lauded as the loudest band in NYC, their thunderous noise-rock has seen them pick up a cult following and shatter many unsuspecting eardrums across the globe. With no release or live show like the last, APTBS have continually twisted their malevolent sonic assault into something not of this world. Following 2018s Pinned LP (Dead Oceans) the trio are back once again – this time to release a live session courtesy of Fuzz Club Records in their enviable Session series.
Whilst in London at the end of a European tour in support of Pinned, the band spent the day at Lovebuzz Studio in South London to lay down the Session and it was released to the world last week as a vinyl exclusive alongside a collection of videos which have been released online. Raw, punishing and unpredictable the record was recorded in one take and perfectly captures the APTBS ethos through-and-through and sees the unwavering intensity of their live show committed to wax like never before.
“It’s good to record at the very end of the tour,” reflects Oliver Ackermann, the band’s vocalist/guitarist and founding member: “You’ve been playing these songs all tour and there’s a certain point when you kind of get tired of them, so you have to reinvent what they mean and what happens in them. I feel like that always pushes things to the next level. It’s exciting.” Some songs on the session may date back a decade but, true to the APTBS way, they’re totally reconfigured and pushed to their very limits.
Opening with ‘We’ve Come So Far’ from 2015 LP Transfixiation, a full-frontal assault that wastes no time with its aural attack starting almost instantly. It captures the live energy of their performances perfectly yet manages to portray the finesse associated with studio albums. ‘Drill It Up’ comes from 2012’s Onwards to the Wall with its rolling riffs and distended vocals. Again the raw edge shines through and if listened to with eyes closed, you could pretend you’re in a pitch black venue listening live. ‘Never Coming Back’ and ‘Punch Back’ are both from Pinned so are a slice from the present. Both tracks have a more refined feel, potentially because they are recent tracks and therefore exhibit their most recent musical prowess. In contrast, ‘Ocean’ is from their self-titled debut released in 2007 and once more harnesses that raw, unabashed electricity that fans have come to know and love. Waves of distorted noise take hold with the vocals pushed to the back as was their characteristic style then. ‘Chrome Shadow’, a previously unreleased track rounds things up with a hypnotic groove, industrial beats and effected, barely discernible vocals; it’s a great addition to a great set of tracks.
There aren’t many bands who can make deafening chaos sound so tight and meticulous, but these guys have mastered it. This Session recording is like a miniature Best Of album, serving as the perfect indoctrination into A Place To Bury Strangers – taking you through a no-holds-barred tour of their discography whilst also offering a glimpse into the almost-hypnotic power of their live show.