‘The abyss stares back’ is one of those wonderfully weird occurrences that you wish would happen more in music. Three bands, each writing a song around the concept of cosmic horror… what’s not to like? While the combined lyrical imaginings of SUE, Twelve Twelve, and (the fantastically named) The Butters Aliens aren’t likely to be challenging H.P. Lovecraft for his throne atop the genre, they more than make up for this with some brilliant, angry guitar driven angst.
The Butter’s Aliens perhaps have the most offbeat definition of cosmic horror, with ‘Rat Trap’, a song about lacking a CV and their boss “being a prick”, but then the idea of a buttery alien is more than enough to conjure the kind of horrific images that the theme implies. Even if the band were to have a less satisfying name, the fantastic crunchy guitar lines that break into some nice twangy lead guitar, backed up by fast aggressive drumming and angry shouty vocals means that I can easily forgive this slightly flimsy application of the concept.
Twelve Twelve don’t let the pace drop on ‘Pills’ another sublimely angry effort. This time the theme seems to be stretched to taking pills but at least the “Universe is set against me” as is shouted again and again in the chorus. It's raw, it's pissed off and it's well worth repeat listens, as it balances the thumping adrenaline with slower more considered moments to great effect.
I was already impressed with SUE when Off the Hook checked out their debut effort- ‘It will never end’ and their contribution to this EP, ‘The Beast’ does not disappoint. Still fast, angry, and unhinged with eerie spacy guitars and vocals hinting at something to do with a Werewolf in ham horror stylings. I say something to do as after many listens, I’m still not quite sure what the song is about but that is the chaotic beauty of SUE and one of the reasons that they really work. A blast of befuddling noise that occasionally shouts out phrases isolated from their meaning. It's not clean and crisp but then again it's not meant to be.
So while the three bands maybe do not quite deliver on the promise of ‘Cosmic Horror’, the vivid, unrefined joy of the music more than makes up for that in all three songs. This is fast, angry music at its best! Three bands, who complement each other well, all belting out some great music to a very loose theme, brings us back to where we began- what is not to like?
Written by Jimmy Rock