Once upon a time, there was a band called Skywave who became infamous for their overwhelming, Jesus & Mary Chain-esque noise freakouts. They released a number of singles, seven inches, EPs, and compilation appearances, though for some reason, noone ever seemed to pay them much attention. I first heard about them via the Blisscent compilations, and later, their excellent full-length, Synthtastic.
The band has since broken up, with several side projects filling the void. One such project is Ceremony, of whom I’ve written before. Another project is A Place to Bury Strangers, featuring Skywave’s former frontman, Oliver Ackermann.
The name might conjure up some metalcore or emo act, but A Place to Bury Strangers continues exploring the same, pummeling sonic territory of Skywave while delving even deeper into the darkness. Front and center is Ackermann’s so-painfully-loud-it’s-beautiful guitar, which always sounds this close to exploding from the sheer amount of noise and feedback it’s generating (due, no doubt, to the custom effects pedals Ackermann builds under the name Death By Audio).
Buried under the guitar noise is an undercurrent of dark, surging rhythms that bring to mind early Cure circa Faith and Pornography — check out “Ocean” on their MySpace page to hear what I mean — machine gun-like drum programming, and Ockermann’s empty, detached vocals. Taken altogether, these make for a dark, punishing sound to be sure, bringing to mind savage nights in the dark underbelly of some Blade Runner-esque city in the depths of winter.
And yet the trio plunges headlong into the frenzy with such reckless abandon, not caring how many lacerations and broken bones they suffer from their battery of sounds, that it’s difficult not to get caught up in the storm right along with them.