The first thing that came to my mind when I came across GUNS OF BRIXTON’s new album, Inlandsis, was the song of THE CLASH which seems to be the bands namesake. Therefore I was really curious in which way this band – that I haven’t known until then – relates to the famous British punk rockers. So I started from scratch and did a little bit of research before I began listening to their latest album. It turned out that GUNS OF BRIXTON is a five-member band from Caen and they are active for quite some time now, specifically since 2003. With Inlandsis they already released their fourth album and by looking at their previous work the connection to THE CLASH now became clearer to me. The first album – released in 2005 – is called Near dub experience and their second is titled in.dub.out. So they seem to have a relationship to dub-influenced music just like THE CLASH had. Because of that my excitement to finally listen to Inlandsis grew even stronger. How would a postrock / post-hardcore album with that influences sound like?
The first of the nine tracks is called Hibakusha which is a Japanese word for the surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. The chosen setting for this track could hardly be more cruel and horrific. And the music matches perfectly to this scenario. The short and dire introduction quickly leads into a sonic outburst of crushing drums and walls of guitar layers symbolizing the atomic explosion and all its destructive power. This eruption is followed by a long part of ghostly and haunting postrock guitar melodies that truly are an audible recreation of the horrible aftermath.
The following song, Du bist mir vollkommen egal, is a typical example of the general sound of this album. GUNS OF BRIXTON are alternating heavy guitar riffs with a few quiet parts. I mostly enjoyed the bassline which for the first time reminded me a little bit of dub music. But sadly they didn’t give these parts much room to evolve.
Il Ne Restera Que Des Silhouttes was the first big surprise. It starts with a beautiful yet eerie melody but suddenly everything gets interrupted by a post-hardcore-ish part with very harsh screams – which I think sound absolutely amazing in French. The last half of the track returns to the postrock sound of the beginning but electronic dub influences really refresh that passage.
Téphras on the other hand sounds very similar to Du bist mir vollkommen egal but this time the dreamy and atmospheric segments are much more suitable to the louder parts.
The next highlight for me was the eighth track Alger. It features soundsamples and a quite good female singer which is in some places supported by the intense screaming of the band’s actual vocalist. This combination really stands out and probably makes this song the most unique on the entire album.
Overall I would say that GUNS OF BRIXTON did not invent anything really new especially if you’re familiar with today’s postrock and post-hardcore. But it is still a very solid album and their effort to experiment with some very different sounds (for example the trumpets on Retour Du Japon, female vocals or the electronic approach at the end of Il Ne Restera Que Des Silhouttes). Therefore, almost every song had something different to offer and the whole album didn’t get boring at any time. But I also think that these special and more experimental sections could have been given more room to expand – just like the sporadic screaming which I think had a ton of energy! Also, I really liked the warm and grooving basslines that at some times reminded me of the dub-influence which I initially thought would be more present. Maybe they are on their first two albums and I am sure to check these out as you should check out GUNS OF BRIXTON‘s Inlandsis.
GUNS OF BRIXTON
postrock / post-hardcore