We've never stopped, and we never will. Sound lives forever. We hope our music is most unpleasant."San Francisco, CA's Admiral Angry want you to feel as terrible as they do. With a name like Admiral Angry, one almost expects nü-grind or Brokencyde-style embarrassment. While there is a slight grind feel in places, this couldn't be further from the truth. There is nothing ironic about their name. Buster is an album that, musically, borrows equally from Neurosis, late period Black Flag and the doom of Black Sabbath. Vocalist Chris Lindblad channels the ghost of Dystopia for an extremely tortured delivery that will make you cringe in a good way. Keep in mind, this album can be very down-tempo, almost minimal in songwriting at points. While some bands may do this because lack of talent, with Admiral Angry, it seems more an issue of restraint.
Opener "Sex with a Stranger" lets you know what you're in for, beginning with detuned sludge that moves at the speed of molasses. At about the 1:30 mark, things begin to get a little bit more interesting. The music drops out and makes way for an almost inappropriately bouncy drum beat. This segues into a series of riffs that will have you thinking that the next cannot possibly be more dense or heavy. Towards the end of the song things pick up, and it is interesting to see the band play with some higher tempos.
The band then takes a slight left turn, and back into slow tempos on the next track "Circling the Drain," moving from a few seconds of ambient noise into doomier territory. From here the band toys with some more sludge riffs before taking on a more droning sound about three minutes in. Not even a minute passes before an almost southern-fried riff begins to pound your head in. This song really puts Admiral Angry's unique songwriting on display.
With track 3, "Kill Yourself," we are left to scratch our heads yet again, as the opening riff seems to channel Nothing-era Meshuggah as equally as the groove of Will Haven or even Deftones. While this may turn some users off, it is a very small part of the collage of Admiral Angry and really does work in the context. The band moves seamlessly into chunky, percussive riffs with higher, tremolo picked guitar lines to give us a break from so much low end. The track ends with another interesting up-tempo drum beat accompanied by some strange, grating noise.
From this point in the album, Admiral Angry take all of these components, and rearranges them, creating songs that are obviously tied, but are unique enough that the album doesn't get monotonous. Final tracks "Bug Vomit" and "The Illusion of Strength" are real highlights of the album, displaying riffs that consist of one or two notes played for sometimes over one minute, as well as riffs that seem like they never repeat. You would think that the band was playing completely off the cuff, if it weren't for how tight they were.
This is not to say that Buster doesn't have its faults. This is an album that is for a very specific kind of music fan, and it will be lost on many, even those who could get some enjoyment from it. Parts of it drag, but from doomy sludge, that is to be expected. If you completely hate it, which a lot of you will, then I guess Admiral Angry has fulfilled their mission statement.
Sadly, due to the very tragic passing of guitarist/main songwriter Daniel Krauss earlier this year from cystic fibrosis, this album, in addition to an upcoming one-song, 30-minute EP, may be the only mark that this truly unique band leaves on the world. Listen to this album on a good set of speakers, and let one of the heaviest, truly dread-filled albums of the decade envelop you. If you like what you hear, please consider actually buying it, as ALL proceeds from the sale of Buster go to cystic fibrosis research.