Review: Fed Ash – Diurnal Traumas (Astralands, Apr 17)

In an age where the always-connected genres of hardcore and noise are consistently being combined in new and exciting ways, truly great examples of marrying the two always stand out. Diurnal Traumas, the new full-length from Syracuse quartet Fed Ash, is one such instance. “The Eternal Footman” begins with an avalanche of brutal, dirty distortion, setting the stage for the pestilent atmosphere that pervades this short but fully fleshed-out release. After about 40 seconds the noise begins to collapse under its own weight, fracturing and fading before the full band enters without warning, vocalist Allie French’s harrowing growls ripping and tearing atop furious blasting and guitar tones from the depths of graves. As with many contemporary hardcore acts, Fed Ash’s particular style is difficult to pin down; they draw from a variety of beloved styles, from old-school powerviolence to classic black metal and grind. The eclectic influences coagulate in various forms, creating cacophonous, unstable chaos on “Nowhere,” infectious forward propulsion and cathartic sludge on “Familiar,” malignant blackened mayhem on “everythingallthetime.” French’s vocals truly sound like they’re coming from a throat that’s been force-fed ash, and both their sound and the gruesome images of ruin and decay they convey contribute to the spectacular totalism of the album’s aesthetic. Diurnal Traumas will stick with you long after its final notes fade into the darkness.

Diurnal Traumas is available on CD from newly formed label Astralands. A cassette edition from Orb Tapes is forthcoming.