Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Kowloon Walled City - 'Grievances' (Album Review)

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/10/2015
Label: Neurot Recordings (CD) |
Gilead Media (Vinyl)



Passages of minimal melodic interplay give way to shards of dissonance and outbursts of lean, razor-sharp riffing. The languid tempo of the drums reinforces the weight of the music and together with the gnarly bass, act as the perfect backdrop for intricate guitar interplay.

‘Grievances’ CD//DD// LP track listing:

1. Your Best Years
2. Grievances
3. Backlit
4. The Grift
5. White Walls
6. True Believer
7. Daughters And Sons

The Review:

Sometimes understatement and restraint can hit harder than an onslaught of volume and noise. San Francisco’s Kowloon Walled City have dialled back the distortion on “Grievances” at no detriment to the emotional heft of their music.

From the spare picked intro of “Your Best Years” to the final ringing chords of “Daughters and Sons”, the band weave a hypnotic path through pared down heaviness and fragile calm. Passages of minimal melodic interplay give way to shards of dissonance and outbursts of lean, razor-sharp riffing. The languid tempo of the drums reinforces the weight of the music and together with the gnarly bass act as the perfect backdrop for intricate guitar interplay. Scott Evans world-weary vocals add the final element to the mix, lending an air of frazzled urgency to proceedings particularly on the excellent slow burning “True Believer”.

The overall effect is something that straddles the worlds of metal and post-hardcore, not sitting comfortably in either but instead creating something interesting and unique. Imagine These Arms Are Snakes playing Slint or Shellac slowly melting in the sun.  As an album, “Grievances” really holds together well and feels more like a single piece that ebbs and flows rather than a collection of songs, although each of the seven tracks are distinctly great in their own right.

 Grievances” piques your interest on first listen then really digs its claws in as further plays reveal its full depths. You may hear many records this year powered by towering walls of amplification delivering rivers of molten sludge, but few will leave the same lasting impact as this fine collection.



‘Grievances’ is available here


FFO: Fight Amp, Shellac, Fudge Tunnel, Theory of Ruin


Band info: bandcamp | facebook

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