"Subtract Nerve" (EP, 2013)
You might think that relocating from a grey and dank UK to the blue skies and heat of Australia might inspire vocalist Ed Oxime to lighten the Concrete Lung sound. If you did, then you'd be very much mistaken. Subtract Nerve serves up a thirty minute slab of doom-laden metal.
A distinctive Concrete Lung sound has now emerged. It lies more firmly in the metal genre than the experimental metal of Versions Of Hell (still their personal highlight to date). However, in every aspect they're still pushing the envelope of expectations. It is in the 'down' moments of songs, those parts where they focus first on creating atmosphere, such as on the opening minute of the eight-minute epic User, that gets this six-track EP off to a suitably disturbing start, that their talent truly shines. When the demonic vocals take a rest half way through and we hear the chanting, bells and echoing drums, it invokes fond memories of Basil Poludouris' powerful soundtrack to the 1984 Conan The Barbarian film.
It's the intellectual dimension that especially sets Concrete Lung apart. This is no only reflected in lyrics desperate to express their concerns but in the unpredictable song structures and leftfield components. Their unhinged saxophone makes another appearance on the glorious final (hidden) track. Four minutes of insane-in-the-brain brilliance - precisely what makes Concrete Lung unique. 7/10
Rob Dyer (November 2013)
"Die Dreaming" (Single, 2012)
If you've listened to these men before and thought they were rather heavy sounding then brace yourself. Cause you ain't heard nothing yet. If there has been any doubt before as to whether Concrete Lung were the spawn of terror metal or apocalyptic industrial then this single firmly forges their claim in metal.
English label Armalyte Industries have seen fit to make this first Concrete Lung single available only as a 7” vinyl format. Which we can only applaud. It is a sumptuous package that will delight those sensible human beings who prefer tangible products over ephemeral digital ones. The 180gsm vinyl comes packaged in an equally heavyweight card sleeve with a double-sided photo/credit sheet.
There are only two tracks. One on Side A and one on Side B. That's it. No messing about with none of that remix nonsense. Die Dreaming is the right choice for the title track – it is the stronger of the two. But that may be perhaps it contains more of the unique (if very subtle here) stylistic touches that so far have set Concrete Lung apart from everyone else. Communal Slave occupies faintly more traditional metal ground but serves up the more punishing beats. Only the Devil knows where Concrete Lung will be headed next.
Oh, did I mention that the vinyl is green marble? I didn't? Well, it is. Monstrous. 7/10
Rob Dyer (June 2012)
"Versions of Hell" (Album, 2011) !DSO Recommended!
Proper fucking industrial. That’s what Concrete Lung make. Which is why they stand out from the crowd. Like the early industrial sound produced by the likes of Throbbing Gristle or even Cabaret Voltaire, the noise they so sweetly make is drenched in the sweaty origins of punk. Their attitude to just do their own thing means they’re never constrained by parameters induced by genre labels. Which means they consistently turn out imaginative, unexpected and original songs. Yes, 'original'… in a field as forensically explored as this has been for decades.
That they’ve already managed to slam dunk impressive supporting slots to (next word used advisedly) legends like The Young Gods, Front Line Assembly and Leather Strip (all in the past year no less) – even before the release of this, their debut album, is testament to a natural ability to a produce bleeding edge sound that's not afraid to take chances and remain impressive throughout. And although they'll happily recognise their influences (early Pitchshifter, Ministry and Skinny Puppy) and their noise sometimes reflects them, that isn't at the expense of their own intellect and creativity which is why Concrete Lung should be at the top of you to do list. Where else would you find a seven minute experimental jazz number (Dead In The Mind) amid the hammering and yelling of youthful disillusionment (cf. all 46 seconds of Wall of Christ)? Nowhere else. Only here - that's where. Would-be competitors take note: the rules of engagement are changing... and Concrete Lung are rewriting them. 8/10
Rob Dyer (March 2011)
"Waste of Flesh" (EP, 2010)
Having been caught by surprise when these guys supported Grendel in London last December, I was looking forward to hearing this (their second) release. Although the production lacks the depth and punch the songs deserve (especially for me, having first heard them live) this seven track EP/mini album still firmly throws down the gauntlet to anyone willing to take up the challenge. Labelled by the band themselves as 'death industrial', it's safe to say you're unlikely to hear this either on Radio 1 or at your local care home during Friday afternoon's in-chair workout to music. In hell, on the other hand, the odds are much better.
Remixes of Sins of Flesh and Graveyard Recovery from the debut The Dawn of X are included. Intriguingly both have more electronics, which have been forsaken on the rest of this EP in favour of a more abrasive, pile-driving guitar based sound, but strongly suggest their inaugural demo release would be worth getting one's hands on too. Personal fave of the new material is Recovery Position whose rhythmic drums made me think of The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste-era Ministry. Which is obviously a very good thing. A timely reminder that heavy 'n' hard doesn't have to mean dumb 'n' dull. 7/10
Rob Dyer (March 2010)