Atara / Miserable Failure – Hang Them Review
French grind with hardcore and black metal influence that screams of being “the noose that’ll suffocate your dry throat in an auto-erotic maelstrom of hatesphyxiation” – well now, don’t mind if I do! Hang Them is a limited edition split barrage that hurtles along destroying everything in its path, arrogantly snapping up the familiar punk and grindcore influence of bands like Circle of Dead Children and Cephalic Carnage all the while assaulting you with sound bites, noise and lyrics jammed with socio-political messages and concepts desirous of a more equal society [Dirty commies! - Steel Druhm]. Atara‘s groovy style and Miserable Failure‘s nihilism unite for 19 minutes to aggressively blast one very simple message and believe me it ain’t pretty… it’s aimed at the dictatorships and the corrupt “democracies” the world over – Hang Them!
The first six tracks bursting from your speakers belong to Atara and range from just under a minute to just shy of the 2-minute mark. “Pedro” is first on the scene, opening with a musical and spoken sound bite that harks back to the oldtimey black and white film era. Don’t get lulled into complacency, before you know it Atara hit you with everything they have. Over the course of “Pedro,” “Hang Them,” “Burden,” “Gelateen” and “One Minute Left,” Fred Palard, Hugo Champion and Benoit Santa-Cruz spew a tag team blend of barking black metal roars offset by throaty growls that make your knees rattle. “Victims” offers something a little different, bringing in pig-like grunts reminiscent of Circle of Dead Children or Cephalic Carnage, and I wish there’d been more of this vocal debauchery on the album.
Atara generally follow a structured system with their delivery (unlike What Miserable Failure unleashed later on), the tracks start off with a slow intro, “Hang Them” even settling into the zone of trudging, followed by a short burst of repetitive riff-work that gallops along with a distinctive black ‘n roll gait that I would most liken to the revelry of Vreid. “Burden” and “Gelateen” do their damnedest to break free of the rigid confines that Atara tried to impose on them, with “Burden” sounding more like a snatch of something Avatar could have included on Hail the Apocalypse, never picking up its pace beyond that of an easy trot, and “Gelateen” with it’s trippy, earthy bass interlude giving you a much needed breather around the mid-point.
After the last strains of “One Minute Left” play out, you’re hit by the apocalyptic undertones of Miserable Failure delivering what’s left of your 19-minute assault – prepare yourself, it’s a bit of a mind fuck! The back-end of the album is riddled with broken snippets of sound bites that warn of ensuing anarchy, starting with “I Miss You…”. The track is barely there when you’re hit with a cacophony of breaking glass and introduced to Bleu ‘s grinding hardcore scream shadowed by Rom “Maldito” Sanchez’s lower register weirdness in “Unus et solus mihi es,” and the loud-mouthed vocals on the back-end of the album dominate much of what’s happening, wearing heavily.
Miserable Failure‘s guitar work across “Unus et solus mihi es,” “6931 45 7325,” “Crevez Tous,” “Hang Them,” “Obituaries,” “Pink Coffin” feels heavy-handed and chunky, but instead of just clunking along as clumsy repeats, there are some hints to a delightful technicality. The big finale on the album is the lengthy epic “May You All be Cursed Forever” which with it’s doom death stench would slot in better after Cerekloth‘s “Praeludium.”
Well there you have it. Hang Them rubs you up in all the wrong ways and feels like a grind album should, with Atara‘s front-end ends up being a more “comfortable” listen than Miserable Failure‘s nihilistic onslaught. That said, is grind meant to be comfortable? Hell no! As far as split albums go, this is a decent offering with a production worthy of praise and well suited to the material, There’s modern warmth and rich texture attached to the tracks that makes the album sound full and exciting with just a slight fuzz added to Miserable Failure. There’s a little something on Hang Them for just about everybody, and I’ll be waiting for more from both acts.