Review: Rusz – Hell (Golden Doom, Sep 26)

Other than a dense burst of digital-only releases in May–July 2020, this tape, and Golden Doom’s introduction of them as a “four headed girl band,” information about Leipzig quartet Rusz is virtually nonexistent. This obscurity somewhat works in their favor, however; the freeform outsider punk meditations that grace both sides of Hell are even more fascinating and enigmatic when there is almost no background knowledge with which to contextualize them. Rusz instead elects to introduce themselves modestly and implicitly—i.e., via the music itself—and yet the elusive unsayables found in the friction between scrambling instrumental excursions, improvised babble and banter, messy jams that are at once rhythmic and formless, etc. probably tell us more about these musicians than words ever could. Though the band’s particular style of artful, angular rock ‘n roll sloppiness is entirely their own, there are flavors and spices from all over: the rehearsal room intimacy and fourth-wall breaks common in the Quemada roster, the anxious motorik and strained yelps of Dog Faced Hermans, no wave jitter and skronk, even the smeared dub darkness of Mosquitoes. From its murky primordial beginnings to its invigorating, almost ecstatic final moments, Hell is a ramshackle masterpiece that both harangues and hypnotizes.