ILS – ‘Curse’ | Album Review


ILS debut album Curse is out now via Pogo Records.

ILS are a Portland noise rock juggernaut that are going straight for the throat. Tom Glose on vocals fists his ideas straight in your ears with several different approaches, which diversifies the sound immensely and instantly pricks your ears up. Guitarist Nate Abner, who also engineers the album, seems to have collated the slick but lazy and raw sound into an aural cohesion which lifts the album to the next level. Tim Steiner on drums plays with power and precision. The syncopation with Adam Pike on bass is unrelenting, a powerful spinal cord to an expansive and brutally sincere sound.

ILS first album Curse comes screaming, red raw, out the same womb as JOHN(TIMESTWO) and USA Nails, proudly chewing a Jesus Lizard record and spitting it in your face. It’s like an unrelenting kick to the chest from the school bully followed by being painfully screamed at for 28 minutes. It’s a rager.

The first song ‘Bad Parts’ smashes you in the face with a rich and jagged sound, drapes over you like a delicious blanket of noise. It’s a great prelude for what’s to come, nestle in. I like being wrapped in this blanket. It’s loud, so loud, scares me a bit but I love it.

The band slip so comfortably into range with METZ, JOHN(TIMESTWO), USA Nails and strangely enough, the more accessible parts of Dillinger Escape Plan. It is a noisy fuck storm of huge cymbals that sit equal to a filthy but melodic guitar, fuzzed-up slack bass and the vocals, well. It’s disgusting. There’s a real ease, slur and character in the standard fayre vocal delivery, much like The Jesus Lizard. But then, there’s a red raw noise that comes bursting through what must be a very sore point of contention to this bloke, based on the beginning of ‘Whitemeat’. It’s fantastic. Fits the genre like a MAGA hat to Daily Mail subscriber. It’s not a manicured thing either, it just sounds necessary. From a place of pain not glory. There’s a sincerity that comes with the kind of purge that the whole band are throwing at you. I can feel the beast that’s been captured in the writing process, and for that to come across on record is a hard thing to achieve. It feels real. And ILS should be proud.

There is real sincerity and range in the vocals from Tom Glose. The higher-pitched, slightly untethered throat screams tear through the noise clutter of guitar and hi-hat beautifully. It’s like a madman being caught gnawing at his own arm at an already violent and loud party, you want to leave but know you want to see someone unravel.

The standout track is ‘For the Shame I Bring’. It hits you repeatedly in the head with blunt fists. Pure unalloyed noisy stabs counterpointed with drooling toms and some noisy melody. And then, the bend, oh god the bend. AND THE PAUSE. Makes me feel like I want to go shout my benefit claim at a brick wall and eat my own hand. It’s a ripper.

Order Curse here.

Find ILS on Facebook and Bandcamp.

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