The noisecore dudes in Catholic Guilt are celebrating the vinyl rerelease of their spring 2010 LP Beyond Pleasuredome, which is reason enough to give this oldish collection a new spin. Vinyl, the format so beloved for its sonic fidelity alongside its perceived permanence over other dead media, is an odd choice for a band so bent on sonic annihilation. This is speaker-shredding stuff of the grimiest degree — your record player's stylus may turn to dust trying to transmit the mayhem locked in the grooves. But the band knows how to marshal its weapons, with quick-and-dirty punk to almost scientific studies in white noise. So maybe that high fidelity will bring out untold layers to Catholic Guilt's sonic lacquering; plus, listening to Pleasuredome on a hi-fi is safer than listening with earbuds.
Any album title that calls to mind Mad Max, "Kubla Khan," Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Sigmund Freud is off to a good start. By that same token, any album that starts off with eight minutes of motorik blasts, mutilated vocals and granular decay called "The Joint Song" is clearly not interested in luring on-the-fence listeners with an easy opener. "Pink Out" is more straight-shooting, with a rudimentary guitar line that eventually gives way to the undulating waves of feedback and the album's most shred-heavy bits. In that way, Catholic Guilt tightens the funnel as the disc goes on — "Kill the Punx" is 100 seconds of delicious snot-punk — only to leave the listener further down the well by the end of the program. So by the time "Rocket to Russia" hits, with its dubby vocals, retro keyboards and upticked guitars, you'd be forgiven for thinking another band has taken over. If nothing else, the oddity is a reprieve and a nod to the band's rarely heard pop savvy. All the previous forces on the album combine on the eleven-minute closer "Rubber Burner" — the vocals sound their most urgent, the drone-like bass parts sink in deeper, and the brooding energy bristles throughout.
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