Aug 182010

The music comes first. The people who make the music come second. That’s just the way it is. But when the music strikes a chord, you want to know more about the people who make it, and how they make it, because sometimes, it opens a wider window into what you hear. And sometimes it doesn’t. Like we’ve said before, musical talent doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with being able to express yourself in other ways.

We got an advance listen to Connecticut-based Pristina‘s forthcoming album on Trendkill Recordings, The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow), and were blown away. We posted our review of the album yesterday. In connection with our review, we asked vocalist/bassist “Evil” Brendan Duff if he would answer a few questions, and he foolishly agreed.

What started as a small handful of e-mailed questions to fill in a few blanks in our review turned into a mini-interview, and as more questions occurred to us, Brendan continued to answer (instead of telling us, “fuck off already!”), and it became something more full-fledged.

More than that, it was one of those genuinely window-opening conversations. We learned, among other things, about how this stunning album came to be, about some unusual aspects of how it was recorded, about how Today Is The Day‘s Steve Austin can come to resemble the demented shark-hunter in Jaws, about how the lyrics emerged from Brendan’s struggle to get clean from heroin, and about where this band is headed in their future music. In other words, we had a few of those days that make creating this blog truly worthwhile.

Our interview with Brendan Duff follows the jump, along with a few more tidbits of information about the band and the music. Continue reading »

Aug 172010

Pristina‘s first full-length album, The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow), is fascinating in its diversity. It crushes like a slab of granite dropped from a high place, and it’s also searing in its unbridled, hardcore ferocity. It’s salted with unnerving vocal samples and electronic noise, and it also delivers galvanizing riffs. It grinds like a lumbering, blood-drenched tank through a landscape of sludge, and it erupts like an out-of-control flamethrower.

The Drought is raw and uncompromising, and it’s one of the most riveting collections of music we’ve heard this year.

The album consists of only five songs. Four of them range in length from about 3 1/2 minutes to about 8 1/2 — and then there’s the closing title track. It’s a 23-minute piece of mind-bending inventiveness that overcame our instinctive trepidation about songs of that length: It neither drones nor drags nor bloats its length with instrumental wankery. It is instead an ingenious, multi-phased beast that’s worth every minute of attention it demands.

The opening track, “Moonshiner”, begins with an extended sample from one of Henry Rollins’ spoken word albums, accompanied by the repetition of crushing chords and a methodical drum rhythm. Following that bruising yet hypnotic intro, Pristina erupts with Brendan Duff’s acidic screams and shuddering jackhammer riffs. The crusty sludge of those opening minutes and the more febrile blasts that replaced it then alternate, with brief interludes of acoustic guitar sandwiched in between.

That opening track sets the stage for what follows. It’s drenched in fuzzed out distortion, anchored by a dominant rhythm section, and propelled by remarkably inventive, expertly executed drumming.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »