[sic] Magazine

Rape Faction – Gone Forever

Rape Faction aren’t quite as shocking as they perhaps might first have you believe. Their possibly eyebrow-raising name aside, the first track on Gone Forever, ‘Vaporizer’, begins with a cacophony of noise, punctuated by subtly piercing, screeching or clanging noise samples – in as much as those are able to be subtle, anyway. Indeed, most tracks are bookended by similar noise, but these quickly dissolve into much friendlier and, dare I say it, agreeable tunes.

If I presume the capacity to invent new genre names, then I’m going to use it to call this, and by virtue others of similar ilk, Dead-Gaze (and there I have committed one of my pet peeves by tacking ‘gaze’ on to the end of a word to denote a genre, but it does fit). Much like fellow label mates Grave Babies and Lois Magic on Skrot Up and Sealings on FLA , or even Have A Nice Life , the sound is predominantly a lo-fi, under-produced mix of things like new-wave, punk/post-punk, noise, grunge, and shoegaze, with emphasis on the -gaze, and themes often (but not always) focusing on the morose side of things, which is generally given an overall scuzzy, but subdued, or even deadpan, delivery.

‘Kids On Dilaudid’, the fourth track of eight, would be a prime example of all the above elements, and certainly seems to do well in capturing the subject matter with its washed-out, glazed sound (dilaudid, I am informed, is a pain reliever, with anywhere from two to eight times the painkilling effects of morphine). The stand-out track, though, is undoubtedly ‘Whiteboy Uptown’, which combines a subtle but ominous approach almost reminiscent of Depeche Mode , with noise rock similar to ‘Songs About Fucking’-era Big Black , the result of which becomes a rather infectious menace.

On the final track, ‘Everything Dies’, the vocals become a little more distant, echoing behind a slower paced rhythm as the track title is repeated and escalates from a fairly monotonous intonation to the closest it can get to a woeful wail without breaking from the subdued tone, descending into breakdown territory as the point is driven home.

Rape Faction have certainly employed a few sounds and techniques designed to startle, but while the intros and outros to a few tracks could get to be headache-inducing if they went on for much longer than they do, the injections and loops of high-pitched feedback and so forth don’t tend to go too much against the grain, instead adding to, or in some cases becoming, melody, but predominantly taking a back seat to more effective use of low-key, repetitive and appealing rhythms.

Said repetiveness, coupled with the occasional wallowing and/or meandering melody meant that a couple of tracks (namely the aforementioned ‘Kids On Dilaudid’ and ‘Everything Dies’) were pushing at the point of being a tad overlong for me, but overall – with first impressions in mind – the most surprising thing about Rape Faction is how easy they are to listen to, repetitively.

~Gone Forever is out mid-Feb 2011 via the colloborative efforts of Skrot Up and Free Loving Anarchists .~