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Album Review: UNIFORM Shame

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There is a buzz going on in this city, an incessant electric hum that never shuts up. It has become all too familiar, practically embedded. My brain is insoluble and full of what. It throbs with the scathing joy of a reckless profligate, looming about the drab chic of the streets. Boring myself to tears. I can hear a laugh track repeating itself in the background. It coddles and lulls me to sleep until the joke isn’t funny anymore. I crave for a taste of dementia. Something to erase and forgive this nightmare, for it knows not what it does.

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"You are what you’ve done. You are what’s been done to you." That’s the opening lyric to Uniform’s fourth full-length album, Shame. Since Uniform’s inception, they’ve been an abattoir of contemptuous, industrial carnage. Force-feeding and bludgeoning their machines, pushed beyond the point of operation. Sonically marred and rife with malfunction—it's the future sound of the gutter. The bastard child of Al Jourgensen and Keith Flint. Slathered in metallic noise. Warped and fuzzed-out. Buried under harsh blankets of distortion accompanied by inconsolable anger, one that is unrelenting and repentless.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Banging on the doldrums under the shadow of God’s hand. Uniform orchestrates their own blend of cacophony with surgical precision and punk sensibility, maneuvering through the mud and muck of their predecessors, Budget amplifiers cranked and blown out to deafening volumes while unapologetically rigged up to an array of pedals, sequencers, and synthesizers. Sampling the sounds of violence, albeit gunshots or explosions, to be tweaked into rhythms. Carving out subhuman anthems for the apocalypse.

Unlike previous releases, which incorporated more industrial, EBM, and noise elements, Shame leans more heavily toward thrash and hardcore, as evidenced by the addition of live drums versus the use of drum machines. Tracks like “Life in Remission” and “I Am the Cancer” echo howls of lo-fi black metal. Baptized in filth. The din of blast beats, tremolo picking, and tumultuous noise descends before exploding into absolute madness and melancholy. Writhing in ecstasy and decay.

On “Shame”, the brooding and menacing title track, you are exonerated and punished for your sins. Greenberg’s deafening, melodic chords crunch in syncopation with the machinery of the drums, while Berdan incessantly laments about fading into sunlight. All in an epic and operatic, industrial fashion. Whereas “Dispatches from the Gutter” is more of a straightforward knuckle-dragger. The second single off the album, in which the music video features an immolation rite performed underneath the lunar eclipse of Independence Day 2020. Burn. Rebuild.

Fraught with turmoil. Hallucinations of ultraviolence filtered through the fog and pollution of a post-pandemic world – a world which we have yet to reckon with in this fascist state of America. Dissolving. The light at the end of the tunnel drifting further and further into obscurity, as you find yourself being dragged across the concrete, twisted metal, and broken glass. Doomed to repeat yesterday. No future and no hope. Uniform reminds us all that this won’t end well. And God will not love you forever.

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Score: 7/10

 

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