Friday 25 August 2017

ALBUM REVIEW & FULL STREAM: Ledge - "Cold Hard Concrete"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/08/ 2017
Label: Translation Loss Records

“Cold Hard Concrete" is that uneasy masterpiece you will value even more by year's end.

"Cold Hard Concrete" CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Through Your Skull
2. Blacked Out
3. You Know Who You Are
4. Stalk Your Enemies
5. Disappearing God
6. Fuck Yourself
7. Last Shred of Hope
8. Condemned

The Review:

Metal music has had, over the years, many solo projects, intentional or less so as the bands lived on. Sometimes these projects can be quite divine, because they carry forward an artist's unique musical vision. Other times, you wonder how much it can be a self-indulgent endeavor or vanity plate weighed down by one musician's inability to work with others or compromise for the sake of art. Who of us has not witnessed a flabby presentation or two?

When it comes to Ledge, though, the debut full-length is much more of the former rather than the latter.

Ledge has been a prolific act so far, with a demo and a split LP with the band Disrotted both released within the last year. John Hoffman's one-man extreme music escapade merges doom, hardcore and traditional death metal in an eight-song package that convincingly stands out from the crowd. Much of that distinction is simply due to Hoffman's style. He's held the microphone for the likes of hardcore outfit Spine and grindcore act Weekend Nachos. In fact, Hoffman's body of work has always been quite original, with black metal and punk influences throughout. When you check out these previous performers, you will notice immediately Hoffman's copious contributions. Ledge is seemingly an outgrowth of the sort of creative output that requires enough room to put it all out there. This time around, Hoffman is the boss of everything, covering bass, drums and vocals. The result is a bruising musical trip certain to exceed your hopes for this stylish premiere.

On top of Hoffman's on-mic performance, "Cold Hard Concrete" stands out for a few different reasons. His arrangement of this full-length, sans extra musicians, is well done and pairs tracks stunningly. For instance, "Blacked Out" rampages at you from the start, only to grind to a sludge, then seguing powerfully into "You Know Who You Are." Hoffman's ravenous lyrics on "Stalk Your Enemies" find fellow travelers in the themes that come up in "Disappearing God." As you reach the doom-laden "Last Shred of Hope" and the doom/death metal-tinged closing song, "Condemned," it is hard not to appreciate how Hoffman composed cuts to build on moods. Bass and drums set the apprehensive body from whence Hoffman's words lash out. "Cold Hard Concrete" is that uneasy masterpiece you will value even more by year's end.  Check out the album in full below.  

"Cold Hard Concrete" is available here

Band info: bandcamp