Shawn O’Brien – vocals
Thomas Buser – lead guitar
Wes Jenkins – rhythm guitar
Brandon Lawrence – bass/synth
Johnny Bay – drums/machine
Of Suns Above
D Rugs (Roger That)
One Of A Kind
Nights Like These
Trux De Rio
Through My Words
Tough Shit Society
Whoever coined the term less is more hadn’t reckoned with Above This. Packing bass like it’s not only going out of fashion, but also about to be gathered up and shot into the stratosphere, the band bring new meaning to speaker distortion.
In case you hadn’t realised this from the off, Above This have kindly signposted you in the right direction with their ‘Bring Back The Bass’ campaign. Therefore there is absolutely no sniff of prizes for guessing debut album 7L7 is big, bold, and host to a whole heap of in-your-face swag.
At times frontman Shawn O’Brien sounds as though he’s even pissed off with his own existence, let alone that of everyone around him, such is the relentless nature of those low end roars. Combine this with the chugging guitars, and of course, that bass, means that if you’re looking for a soundtrack for mindless destruction this fits the bill perfectly.
Counting the number of bass drops at work here feels futile, but rest assured you’re never far away from one. Not only does it mean that you’re left wishing you had a bigger and better sound system to hear them on, it does also lend the tracks a perhaps unwanted sense of familiarity as the album goes on. Some of the songs such as opener ‘7L7’ may also divide opinions through the use of more technical and synth elements, but then, hey, everyone seems to be doing it these days.
The downside of all that use of the big ‘B’ is that the production quality of the album suffers a little as a whole, plagued by the all familiar buzzing of struggling speakers. It’d be good to hear just what Above This might sound like in the hands of a state-of-the-art studio. That said the tracks do lead nicely into one another without any breaks to interrupt the unrelenting fury at hand. Slightly dubious production can be forgiven though when you factor in that Above This are a band of two countries, with members in the US and Germany trying to create music across the gulf.
It’d be simple to write Above This off as unimaginative, but their commitment to this single vision is endearing in its own way, as you cannot underestimate the entertainment factor of cathartic brutality every now and then. With the band already releasing teasers for their new forthcoming album, this level of proficiency suggests that they haven’t found any cause to mellow just yet.