But Listen: 029: ESA – Devotion, Discipline and Denial

Another week, another noise album – despite it appearing to be a reasonably small “scene” there does seem to be a real vitality across the breadth of the noise spectrum at the moment, with release after release trying something just that little different, although not all are entirely successful in meeting what they are trying to achieve.


Devotion, Discipline and Denial

Label: Hive
Catalog#: HIV21
Buy from: Amazon


This, I’m glad to report, is an album of the highest quality. It is also a slightly strange animal, too, with it being meticulously constructed into three seperate sections (the ‘Devotion’, ‘Discipline’ and ‘Denial’ of the album title), which really do have a quite different feel to each of them.

The album starts very slowly indeed, with Manipulating God being little more than a slow-burning intro track, which works nicely into Belief Conversion, which is where the first of the surprises appear – clever use of Rotersand vocal samples across a drilling and incessant beat, before moving up yet another gear into We All Know The World Is Wrong, with the ugly, twisted metal of the beats are tempered by a swooning female vocal putting the world to rights.

The ‘Discipline’ section begins with the thumping noise of Nerve Patterns, and pushes the ante yet further with Say No To Emo, more clever sampling intertwined with some quite brutal beats in Cutslut, followed by probably the pick of the bunch – Test. Same pattern – familiar sample, then beats and noises arrive to beat you round the head – but instead of leaving you bleeding and wheezing, simply leaves you smiling at just how good this is.

Final section ‘Denial’ changes things again, supressing the beats in the main behind a thick fog of effects, creating a softer cushion to fall on – although not soft enough to dull the impact of Satan Is Real, or indeed The Fruits of Self-Loathing. Really odd, though, is the last track The Misconception of Zen – it has a much more mellow feel, after the tense rage of the rest of the CD – and acts as a good comedown to close.

There is one more track, though, the Scrap.edx-credited Devoted Contortions – another pounding track that perhaps sits a little uncomfortably at the end of such a cohesive whole.

That is actually the winning factor in this album – there is a clear concept to the album, that has been well thought through, what with the running order, the flow, the witty and clever titles, hell, even the samples are well-used and integral to the tracks they appear in. And the whole result? One of the best noise albums I have ever heard, and a strong contender for the best album I will hear in all of 2006.

Leave a Reply