Exit_International – Black Junk 10th Anniversary Re-release

Black Junk Album Cover Art

Exit_International – Black Junk 10th Anniversary Re-release
Say Something Records
Release Date: 17/09/21
Running Time: 41:02
Review by Steven Hooke

There existed a time in the UK alternative scene where our sad, decrepit little rock produced some of the world’s finest music. From 2008-2013, the likes of Hawk Eyes, The Defiled, Exit Ten, Feed the Rhino, and loads more took genres struggling to maintain relevance, and intrigue in audiences, and gave them a much-needed kick up the arse. Tucked away in the rolling fields of Wales, in the cruel shadows of Bullet for My Valentine, Funeral for a Friend, and Skindred, laid the angry, snarling, face-shredding, bass guitar-hailing trio known as Exit_International.

A dual-bass guitar-fronted act, incorporating Post-Punk, Hardcore and Noise in one handy little motif later to be known as “Noise Pop”, Exit_International are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut, “Black Junk”, with a vinyl re-release and remaster. Fans of the original release will no doubt be unsurprised to hear that the album sounds right at home in today’s setting. With artists such as Code Orange, Jamie Lenman, Haggard Cat, Turnstile, and Melted Bodies pushing the boundaries of Punk and Noise already, E_I feels right home with said company, with their shrieks of “why so cynical?” and “she’s got a chainsaw”.

Remasters tend to be a relatively divisive medium, especially for music made in the modern age. But what it does to “Black Junk” is make the sound so much fuller, breathing new life into songs such as the previously muddied, ‘My Mouth is Your Mouth’, which now sounds fantastic, and the realisation of a ‘Jump in the Fire’-esque riff on ‘Sex W/ Strangers’. The staple track ‘Chainsaw Song’ continues to sound absolutely incredible, but now with extra emphasis on the muted sliding riff on the second half of verses, and some underrated drum work from Adam Thomas. The repeating vocal hooks of ‘Shake Your Bad Ass’, ‘Body Joyrider’, ‘Voices’ and the like still sound and feel like they could tear open a 200-cap room with no hesitation.

The previously-13 track album brings along with it some semi-new material from the group, with never before released tracks, ‘Lay to Waste’, ‘Hex Lover’, and ‘Black Junk’. ‘Lay to Waste’ starts with a suitably treacle-thick bass riff, with an accompanying drum roll that slowly turns into a bastard son of Helmet and Pulled Apart by Horses, complete with a discordant piano interlude. ‘Hex Lover’ has big Melvins energy, with a huge, fuzzy, sludge riff as the centrepiece of the track, with some gorgeous bass tones sprinkled about as well. Finally, the unappointed title track, a Reuben-tinged bounty of rolling riffs, lo-fi vocal trade-offs, and a drop desperately calling out for a sea of flailing limbs. All three tracks are incredible and could easily have found their way on the initial release.

Like many of the forgotten turn of the decade generation, Exit_International have split up and gone their separate ways, returning only for this cruel (yet very hospitable) reminder of what we missed out on. Fortunately, it is never too late to discover a hidden gem, and a “Black Junk” with a fresh, bigger sound, some brilliant bonus tracks, and the same energy as snorting a sherbet Dib-Dab, is more than deserving of your time.

01. Glory Horn
02. Sex W/ Strangers
03. Voices
04. Shake Your Bad Ass
05. Bowie’s Ghost
06. Body Joyrider
07. Sherman Fang
08. Chainsaw Song
09. My Mouth is Your Mouth
10. Lights Out
11. King of the Junkies
12. Blindfolds
13. Hey Disciple
14. Lay to Waste
15. Hex Lover
16. Black Junk

Scott Lee Andrews – Vocals, Bass
Fudge Wilson – Vocals, Bass
Adam Thomas – Drums, Percussion


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