Sunday, November 02, 2008

CHAINMAIL: Kowloon Walled City - Turk Street (Wordclock Records, 2008)

The CHAINMAIL section reviews bands that were proactive enough to e-mail me directly. Here at Cerebral Metalhead, initiative is rewarded.

Back in late '07, before Cerebral Metalhead began posting in earnest and just a few months into their bandlife, San Francisco's Kowloon Walled City nabbed a terabyte of glowing praise from the metal blogosphere for the Turk Street demo. And hoo-boy, am I glad they're taking the proper version out to the digital debutante ball as well. Bolstered by two new tracks that weren't on the demo, this shit deserves all the attention it can get. Even without knowing that the band was named after the densely populated, drug-infested and now demolished Chinese enclave that rose like a 14-story dungheap in the middle of British Hong Kong, you can easily envision Turk Street's lurching riffs as condemned buildings, so tall and close that light gets suffocated before it reaches street level.

KWC mainlines a more "refined" version of Cavity and Unsane's slow-grooving sludge, the kind of metal with riffs like wrecking balls -- blunt and destructive, with a buried-deep swing. That's not to say that Turk Street (named after one of the seedier thoroughfares in San Francisco's infamous Tenderloin District) sounds spit-shined, just that KWC have whittled sludge down to its essence: oxygen-sucking guitars toppling out of massive amp stacks, bottom end that you can feel in your bones, dude hoarsely shouting apocalyptic pronouncements over the quaking. The EP feels raw, but not quite gangrenous. KWC use synchronized blows to hammer you into the ground like a human tent stake, as opposed to breaking bones individually and then salting the festering wounds with feedback and blues slop like, say, Eyehategod or Sourvein. 

It's a thoroughly dominating aesthetic, almost cold, but Kowloon Walled City are kind-hearted enough to offer Turk Street for free in its digital incarnation. There's also a hand-silkscreened CD version and a red translucent 10" vinyl option available for purchase at KWC's website, if you feel like supporting them financially. Which you should.  

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