Something deeply dark and devastatingly heavy lurks in the woods that Baptists have created on their debut album ‘Bushcraft’. Southern Lord Records are developing an unerring ability to uncover amazing talent from the sludge/hardcore depths, and this album continues that trend unabated.
From the opening song and travelling all the way to the superb conclusion ‘Abandon’, ‘Bushcraft’ is so on point it’s ridiculous; discordant and gigantic ‘Betterment’s introduction and continued disposition is never abated or Baptists fury depleted.
It is always difficult to paint your sound with shades that will both enamour yourselves to fans of your particular genre and at the same time remain contemporary and appealing. One of the many touches rising above the undeniable heavy guitar tones is the peaking into feedback, which is so controlled it whistles around the spinney of dark and disturbing imagery that Andrew Drury so aptly depicts.
For a début full length album Baptists quickly gain their footing, likely to be down to the touring that took place before, allowing to cement their sound long before recording with Kurt Ballou at Godcity could take place, ‘In Droves’ and the hardcore race of ‘Bullets’ represent exactly that: songs worked through to the point of them exploding, drilled and perfected to obtain the maximum effect.
Even in the rare breathers that Baptists take like ‘Still Melt’ it’s simply a moment for them to sharpen images and ideas, dig in and carve chunks off you.
One of the real secrets to the pushing vibe and unmitigated attack is A Text Book Tragedy’s drummer Nick Yacyshyn, who is the epitome of controlled attack peppered with intense aggression.
The run time of thirty plus minutes for all eleven tracks shows how quickly Baptists hit the ground running, and get to the point of their sound; that very difficult line to walk of being intelligent and progressive whilst both angry and driven. Measured well, as in the case of ‘Mortar Head’ it can really leave a scar, and with a production that not only sounds live and like they are in the room but they have somehow managed to make it into your head and are ransacking that too.
Of all the twisted and interesting offerings ‘Soiled Roots’ may be the most telling, as Andy sings “Overcome your disorder, medicate your defeat” with the mesmerizing bass tightening and tightening, it as though Baptists are creating an escape plan, a method of not fighting modern life but dealing with it, essentially bushcraft skills for everyday life.
Solid, unflinching, at times breakneck ‘Bushcraft’ is a band making the record that many have been waiting to hear since their 2010 self titled EP.