Concede – Indoctrinate
Release Date: 23/06/2020
Running Time: 22:44
Review by Steven Hooke
After a succession of EP’s and splits under the Concede moniker, multi-instrumentalist and project leader Jay Huxtable enlists the talents of End It All frontman Peter Emms for the debut album from the Australian powerviolence troop.
The terms “laid-back” and “relaxed” need not apply here.
“Indoctrinate” is a viperous, angry vortex of punishing pace, bleak nihilism, and a multitude of riffs that would make Scott Hull proud. The album doesn’t even bother with a dedicated intro track of static noise or a spooky man telling you you’re gonna die or something, it’s just a bit of feedback and boom, you’re in. Strap in for nearly 23 minutes of getting your head kicked in.
The album rarely – if ever – allows you time to catch your breath, bounding from one bite-sized burst of intensity to another, with only one song out of the 15 breaking two minutes. In those little blasts though, the one thing that can be consistently identified is the quality of the guitar work on show. Many a grind/powerviolence group come and go and sacrifice creativity and ideas in the name of speed, resulting in a drab mess that’s only exciting for the first two minutes. Cheaper than getting married I suppose…
But dem riffs bound their way through the tortured screams and sodomised snare to add a little depth to the proceedings. First major highlight on the album ‘Through The Teeth’ seems to have taken inspiration from Napalm Death’s ‘Time Waits For No Slave’ whilst ‘Misgiven’ has a definite air of Nails about it, and ‘Bottom Feeder’ doesn’t immediately sound like any particular grind/powerviolence royalty, but it does slap real fucking hard.
On the musical side of things, “Indoctrinate” does hold itself up pretty well. The guitars as mentioned go hard, Emms sounds wickedly marvellous in his delivery and the overall production handles itself pretty damn well. There’s never a moment when a particular layer sounds washed out or too overzealous.
But the biggest thing holding Concede back in these early stages is that they’re already pigeon-holing themselves. That constant barrage of sound with no deferring to a slower pace, experimental idea or even a different drum beat makes the album drag at times even with its short run time. Every song even starts the same with a squeal of feedback.
Taking Nail’s 2016 album “You Will Never Be One Of Us” as an example, on track one, the focus is more on the groove and the vocal hook, track two is the frenetic blast, three is an almost portmanteau of the previous tracks, four is back to the intense blast beast and then five almost becomes a metal song with how much it leans on that riff. With “Indoctrinate”, the only step outside the comfort zone comes right at the very end with final track ‘One With The Earth’, a five minute plus track that is basically Dream Theater compared to the rest of the album. But, with the diversity in the song – slower, groovier pace, and multiple, more elaborate riffs – shows that Concede have the mettle to pull something more substantial off and incorporate it more into future releases.
23 minutes of Concede is as cathartic a release as they come. While some will like the zero-reprieve approach to “Indoctrinate”, others will want that brief pause to dust themselves off and pick up their teeth. But the performances from Emms’ vocals and Huxtable’s guitar and production are not to be sniffed, nor too his lyrical writings. A nice, plump serving of white-hot anger, nihilism and anti-government if you don’t mind.
But Hell, even the bleep test has a rest period.
02. Through The Teeth
04. Burn In Your Own Hell
05. You Ruin Me
08. No Certainty
12. Bottom Feeder
15. One With The Earth
Peter Emms – Lead Vocals
Jay Huxtable – All Instruments, Additional Vocals
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