RONGEUR- ‘An Asphyxiating Embrace’
Rarely has a record been so appropriately titled. ‘An Asphyxiating Embrace’ truly does want to crush the life out of you. Rongeur’s debut album is made of hulking hardcore, slow-shifting sludge, and blackened metal and the Norwegian trio don’t seem to care what bits they bang you over the head with next. At its best it’s propulsive, compelling stuff but the separate pieces don’t always hang together. ‘Weltschmerz’ barrels along full of pain and rage and surprisingly suitable keyboard swells but doesn’t really go anywhere, ‘Chained to a Dead Horse’ injects some punk energy but only to immediate not memorable effect, while ‘Wellpisser’ (Yep, Rongeur are good at titles) starts excellently but descends into a pretty standard riffing before taking flight again. It’s not that Rongeur need to streamline their attack, they play each genre with aplomb, they just need to focus it, forge it in the harshest fire. Not essential then but a black-hearted attention-grabbing chokehold of a debut.