Escape is not Freedom/Dusk Village
Split EP

Absolutely sick little sludgy, abrasive split release here from a pair of bands that feature some under the radar heavy rock vets from both sides of the pond.  A good split EP should introduce you to two great bands that you might not know a whole helluva a lot about but after a few plays you should be hungering for more and looking up where to find additional material from each outfit.  That’s exactly what this one does.

Escape is not Freedom is a Chicago trio and they’ve got a killer blend of sonic elements going.  They are as dangerous as a car crash at high speed yet they also work with subtleties just as well, while still retaining a depth-charging musical breadth that blurs the line between genres.  “Boiling Nails” is a real burner calling to mind 16, filthy Am-Rep anger bearers Hammerhead/Unsane/early Today is the Day, TAD, forgotten Israeli slime masters Rabies Caste and Rebreather.  Guitar powerhouse Mike Gussis (ex-Arctic Sleep) piles on riff after riff of pained groove that sandpapers your skin off while the bass rips into fluid swerves, curves and lines that even walk off from the guitar work a bit.  Scaly, noisy white wash tumbles into lurching, brown disaster bass as the drumming pounds fills and taut punk-leaned beats into every inch of the terror.  Mike’s vocals are scorching, distorted screams dripping with an almost paranoid rage that sticks out amongst a crowded pack of screamers.  He reminds me of Jerue (16), Tad Doyle, Chris Spencer and Dave K (Rabies Caste).  Don’t get too comfy with these cats because their second contribution “We’re Wrecked” is a dark, melodic wall of static in the key of My Bloody Valentine and Hum.  It’s heavier than both but relies on glimmering melodies, towering rhythms (the drumming could topple mountains) and a late game ripper of a guitar solo that drips with benevolent malice.  The gorgeous vocals provided by Emily Jancetic (ex-Harms Way, frequent Arctic Sleep guest, currently of the excellent Engines) tremble with personality, power and soul.  She’s got range, wavering melody and grace in her pipes and it’s always great to hear anything that she works on next; this being a perfect match between singer and music if there ever was one.

It’s funny I should mention Rabies Caste earlier as dusK Village features at least one of the guys from that vastly underrated, festering abscess of sludge.  An oddball on Earache at the time, Rabies Caste’s Let the Soul out and cut the Vein made a huge impact on me at the time (enough to have me chase down nearly the entirety of their worthwhile discography).  They sounded a lot like so much I was into musically back then and still to this day, but somehow they also managed to have a completely different feel of violence than anyone else playing the sludgy/noise-rock oriented sleaze.  Some of their stuff was downright freaky, the song “Hand Abortion” in particular…that’s still a fuckin’ song-title I wish I came up with.  If you’re one of the folks out there jonesing for their particular take on noise/doom/sludge/drone/punk, dusK Village sports a very familiar sound.  “Exolife Civilization Leak” is a pulverizing display of acid-melted guitars, brain usurping bass throbs and battering drums.   Rumbling, growling bummed on life shouting vocals cut through the twitchy, nervous tic guitar tone and battle-hardened snare pop.  With enough time fluxes in the drumming department to keep things interesting and that fucking immovable bass holding this down, this tune is nothing short of a filth lover’s feast.  It has a bit of a swing to it yet it’s bombed to all bloody hell on touches of Steercleaner Godflesh and Aussie maniacs Halo’s finest works.  Calling to mind Rabies’ faster, hobbled screeching sludge punk fury “A Self-Fan” picks up the pace with sloppy, crusty beats (even some double-kick later on) and ragged guitars that couple to the bass as they descend into furious head-nodding riffage.  It’s damn good to hear this specific sound again, I’ve gotta say.

Efficient and economical, there’s not a bad tune in the batch here.  I came away as a huge fan of both sides and really think the pairing couldn’t have been better.  Anyone into unrelenting noise-rock, sludge, punk and even some glistening melody, would be wise to give this one a check.  It was available as a cassette release but those might be out of stock by now.  In any case, it’s still available to grab digitally and this beauty is sure worth your bucks!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
November 9th, 2018


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