Rough Hands – Moral Terror

Exploring the way singer Alex Dench interprets the world, both physically and mentally, and the changing state of the brain over time under different stresses, anxieties and prescription drugs, Rough Hands’ latest EP for Venn Records, Moral Terror, already feels like a troubling experience before even a single note has left the speaker, and that’s exactly how to approach it. Blending savage, slow-grind hardcore with an ominous metallic crunch and all manner of things in between, the five songs on offer cover more ground in their 20-odd minutes than many bands manage in a lifetime, with a brutish, ugly, fearlessness that is at times akin to being threatened by your own reflection. Opener Neuroplasticity sets out the stall with harsh digitised guitars and a neat Seasons In The Abyss-esque interlude that scrapes the spine like sandpaper, giving way to the jazzy terror of Sertraline Smile, which is unafraid to try its hand at anything on offer, veering from almost spoken word poetry to a shoegazey goth, bringing Type Of Negative to mind. That same uncompromising itchiness drives the closing title track, in which Dench does a very convincing Orchestra Of Wolves-era Frank Carter impression, but the biggest highlights come in the form of Anodyne and Symptoms Of Regression. While the former freaks like Dog Fashion Disco playing System Of A Down’s BYOB and Explosia by Gojira at the same time following an extensive course of electro-shock therapy, the latter does the gloriously unthinkable, blossoming from an intro that is pure Spandau Ballet into a raw, naked Turnstile-sized burst of metallic grunge. It’s an absolutely spectacular feat, and whether you’re aroused or aghast, or both, well worth the price of admission.
MonkHammer was thoroughly non-plussed by Code Orange’s Forever album last year, flatly refusing to frump his bloated carcass onto the creaking bandwagon with everyone else, but fans of the album should find a lot to enjoy here, and those who stuck with us in the mud could too. With vision like this, Rough Hands promise to be something very special indeed.
Moral Terror is available via Venn Records from Friday
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Categories: Reviews, Single and EP Reviews

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