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 . . .)