Archive for the ‘Prisons’ Category

Sounds Like Hell: Prisons

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

I spent months thinking Prisons were a post-rock band. When I stumbled across their Bandcamp page under the tag “noise rock” back in March, all that existed was one track, and a link to a disused Facebook page with under 50 likes. Bandcamp is full of these anomalies: long-defunct bands uploading old records, new bands from unheard of corners of the world (in this case: Underjord, Sweden, a town that Google Maps can’t find) who fizzle out after one release. That one track, Sun Factory, was addictive, bathed in nuance, flirting with post-rock tendencies yet steering clear of its banality. It was simple: a four-bar, five-note guitar refrain maintaining rhythm, while a flurry of layers segue in and out. In the background, reverbed radio interference cut in and out, and the whole song bleeds out before you realize the crescendo already hit.

The follow-up released earlier this month is anything but post-rock. On EP, Prisons’ sound is steeped in dread and unresolved tension, an industrial dirge underpinning riffs that float in and out of dissonance. On Electric Sleep, the reveal comes two minutes in as an uncomfortable build-up gives way to violent screams heavy-as-fuck-riffage. There are flourishes here that recall the criminally underappreciated Suffocate for Fuck Sake, another short-lived Swedish act who married post-rock sentiment with agonizing heaviness and attracted a small but dedicated following with pretentiously titled but admirably ambitious debut album. But who’s to say these guys ever heard of them. In any case, the URL group’s Bandcamp URL does them justice: Prisons hurt.