Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ramlord - Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom

Written by Craig Hayes.

Life is a struggle, whatever your situation. It is complicated and often disheartening, and it can become wholly precarious in the blink of an eye. Seven days a week you haul yourself out of bed and brace yourself for another day. You stare at grey polluted cityscapes filled with the detritus of capitalism’s crumbling facade and wonder if you’re any different to those forgotten souls huddled on street corners begging for change. We’re all, in one form or another, victims of the cold indifference of modernity.

This is why you must listen to Ramlord.

The New Hampshire trio are not going to solve your problems, let's be honest about that, but then, that's not in Ramlord's gamut. Jan ("usurper tongue and nihil resonance"), Ben ("blastphemous degradation of the human spirit") and Mike ("low souled grinder of the underbelly") make music to lean on when life gets hard, providing a means to spit those feelings of frustration, antipathy and revulsion back into society's face.

Ramlord dispense the best kind of music for venting rage and outrage--blackened d-beat. Punk and black metal (the perfect combination of hostility and militancy) are wrapped around Ramlord's grinding, stench-ridden swamps of sludge, crust and powerviolence. The band make inflammatory battering noise, and have a number of Bandcamp releases, including their powerful 2011 debut full-length, Stench of Fallacy, along with splits with Condensed Flesh and Cara Neir. The trio have recently released their new album, Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom, which comprises 11 putrid screeds of bile and belligerence, providing all the ammunition you need to stock your armory of enmity-driven convictions.

Like the best crust-slathered bands of yore (see Discharge, Hellbastard etc) Ramlord waste no time on ambiguity. Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom opens with the bitterly churning "Nihil Fucking Lifeblood" and "Weakness", before tearing through a triple dose of 30-second breakneck tracks of toxic metallized clangor. The bass-heavy sludge trawls of "Retrospect Dissonance" and "Dependency" rumble forth with strength that’s both crushing and macerating, while "Extinction of Clairvoyance (Part Two)" drops fuzzy noise-rock into the mix, although it’s very quickly smothered by virulent blackness.

Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom is exactly what's needed to strengthen your resolve against attacks from our contemporary world. It's ugly, as are the problems we face daily. It's as chaotic as our feelings and as bleak as the futures we face. And it's primal, just like those base instincts we need to survive.

However, in rendering the harshness of life (both external and internal) into 40-or-more minutes of sweltering sonic filth, Ramlord don't just highlight issues, they offer deep-rooted solace. The world is an uncaring and callous place, delivering never-ending streams of tragedy, but albums like Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom allow us to cope. In the album's frenetic velocity there's a sense that you’re not alone. When Ramlord roars, they roar for you. The band take our shared fears and frustrations and channel them into a sound just as discomforting as anything we see on the news, but in doing so, they provide us with exactly what we seek: catharsis.

Ramlord make malformed and monstrous noise, but the reality they represent is not distorted in any way. Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom is the truth. It may well be harrowing and rotten to the core, but even on our best days we know what lurks over our shoulders. Like the best crust bands (past and present) Ramlord don't just provide us with the ordnance we need to bolster our defense, they stand there alongside us, howling defiantly at the world.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Tagged with 2013, Craig Hayes, crust, free download, grindcore, Hypaethral Records, Ramlord, sludge metal