Noise is a term that tends to get a lot of hate from those in the music world who have yet to give it a chance. They assume that it’s, well, just noise. While artists such as Merzbow do specialize in that kind of sound, not all noise artists follow that path.
A Place to Bury Strangers is one of those acts that follow the noise rule book pretty well but still manage to stay accessible. They’ve been putting music out since 2007 and gained a pretty decent following with their 2009 sophomore record Exploding Head. Just recently they have resurfaced, announcing the release of a new EP titled Onwards to the Wall and plans to put out a third full-length this year.
From the get-go you get a clear idea of what the EP is all about. The band is known for possessing a wall-of-sound approach to their music; it doesn’t take too long before you realize what that refers to. There is zero free space in any track as everything is completely taken over by some sort of sound.The bass is as beefy as can be, the drums are constantly beating, and the vocals sound larger than life.
All of it is present in just the first track “I Lost You.” Don’t let that turn you off from checking the EP out, as it’s not simply a bunch of unnecessarily loud noise. A Place to Bury Strangers takes cues from post-punk. This gives them an edge when it comes to creativity and instrumentation.
The bass line in “So Far Away” and the opening guitar riff in “Nothing Will Surprise Me” showcase a group with imagination. That doesn’t mean fans of noise rock will feel alienated. The closing track “Drill It Up” is perfect for supporters of the genre. The guitars are crunching, and most importantly the vocals are highly reverbed. The song is intended to be loud and boisterous without being obnoxious and it truly works.
Onwards to the Wall is just a little taste of what the band may have to offer later in the year. However it shows that A Place to Bury Strangers hasn’t been away for nothing. The improvements in creativity this EP shows are a sign that we might be getting something big from these guys.