“Read a book they said. Well, I read a book and didn’t much like what I learned.”
Imagine if Girl Band swapped their instruments for chainsaws, jackhammers and a cement mixer that’s been set on fire. You would be somewhere in the vicinity of what Thank are constructing as music, but ultimately you’re barely scratching the surface. This is the dimension of hell splitting open in front of you. This is a Hieronymus Bosch painting in musical form that’s started to melt into a sickening puddle of smoldering wax, wires and decay. Subjecting yourself for more than 20 minutes of this will send you fucking insane. Boiling, bubbling, mutated flesh, that’s where we’re coming from. I feel sick.
Thank are a five piece from Leeds and Sexghost Hellscape, is their debut EP. Recorded live and I honestly wouldn’t expect anything less; at one point you can hear the keyboard unfolding itself out of the speakers, popping and crackling with surges of electronic disarray and headache-inducing thunder.
Instruments merge into each other, are flattened, then expand, exploding into view, before crunching back into tight balls of quivering energy, before splitting open again. None more so than the acerbic and spitting opener of Taxidermist. The BBC-B Micro-tape-loading intro synth lines give it an already sinister vibe, not to be mention the scuzzy bass, which makes way for the splatter-punk vocals, which are a drunken and sporadic drawl of nonchalance that triggers into snapping tirades of distaste.
“You were born to work, pay bills and die – anyone else who says otherwise is a fucking hippy” drawls Thank’s vocalist on the buzzsaw rambling of Fragile Ego. Life is fucking futile and why should we bother seems to be the motto. The guitars sound like a bunch of power tools – the drums are a cymbal heavy pounding of despair and it’s attacked with the kind of raw, scraping chaos of Girl Band splitting themselves apart. Even Thank’s vocalist sounds a bit like Dara Kiely in places, (which is never a bad thing) but it’s those guitars and synths – the mash up is this unholy, mesmeric, howling vortex of ear-wrecking, animalistic roars.
There’s an essence of uncomfortable unpredictability about Thank, in that – thinking a song will go one way will ultimate mean it will spiral off into a corkscrew of crackling energy into something entirely different. Take the bonkers electro-build up of squelching keyboards and rattling militant percussion of Punching Bag. It builds and builds and builds through this never-ending skyscraper of jagged noise, teasing and tantalizing, before suddenly, these words break through:
“Tonight Matthew I am nothing and I am okay with that. Tonight Matthew I will shit in my own hands and clap.”
Wait, what? Getting more incensed with rage, Thank’s vocalist changes from a comical drawl to an enraged snarl, especially as the devious synth-lines plow back into view. “IT SOUNDED SO APPEALING!” he chants through this vomit-inducing turbulence of warped, destructive dance-tinged noise.
There’s a Blacklisters vibe surrounding the stocky aggro-punk throwdown of Thank The Universe – it’s an alienating caterwaul of throbbing bass punches and mangled guitar lines. The large ham squeals of “THAAAANNK YOU! THAAANNK YOU!” are not for the faint-hearted. The final track drags itself into view in the form of the 8 minute descent into hell that is Petrol Head. The sinister drum crashes, humming keyboards, despair-inducing lyrics and cries to “honk if your horny” just go to show the kind of derangement we’re dealing with here. Soon the words “The only reason we’re all safe, is because no-one here wants to die” will slowly start to set your teeth on edge, make sweat run down your spine and soon barely become words – they meld into this wailing, gnashing and erratic bedlam of feedback.
On Sexghost Hellscape songs aren’t really created, they merely breakthrough a portal into our world, emerging from the Upside Down, covered in slime and begin to take shape. Any of the tracks on this could soundtrack a horror film. The whole thing could BE a fucking horror film for all we know. I wish there was more, although I’m unsure my mind/ears could take it. To put it into perspective, imagine the first time you heard the Blood Brothers – THAT level of excitement.
You can stream/purchase Sexghost Hellscape by Thank below. Also, it’s name your price on bandcamp, so chuck them a few quid so they can continue to create this mind-bending excellence.