Nefarious Industries – Burn After Hearing (Various Artists)

Nefarious Industries – Burn After Hearing

Nefarious Industries’ describe themselves on their Bandcamp page as: “(an) independent label & music collective extending its tentacles into far-flung regions of the musical spectrum… …home to crime, slime & grime since 2010”.

Home to crime? Isn’t that prison? And Grime? Isn’t that’s, like, Stormzy and Dizzee Rascal? Is this a Grime album?

The answer is: No, this is a Various Artists album.

The first track I heard before declaring my interest in reviewing Burn After Hearing was Black Gate No. 1 by a band called Gematria. Give this video a listen:

“Now”, I thought to myself, “this has a feel of Procedurally Generated Djent” – often incorrectly labelled AI generated Djent. I once gave myself the task of listening to 10 hours, non-stop, of Procedurally Generated Djent. I was all Djented out. After the required amount of counselling, I anticipated that if I ever heard more Djent then there was a very good chance that I would need to take an holiday from all music (I know I paint a tasty picture of it, so if this whets your appetite then you can check it out in the link at the bottom of this review). It isn’t that I don’t like it, au contraire. When I heard Black Gate No. 1, I felt surprisingly inspired to dive headlong into this, the most Olympic-Concrete-Rapids-Designed-For-Killing-Kayakers of musics. I thought this would be another 45 or so minutes of real Djent, and gasping for breath after basking in the raging water-filled jagged rapids of musical precision might be just what I need! After all, it had only been a little over two years since my Djenty Marathon. I was ready! But I hadn’t done my research. As the renowned French philosopher, scientist, album reviewer and mathematician, René Descartes, would often say “Mère d’une petite mouffette constipée, Assomption est la mère de toutes les erreurs”. Such a wag!

This is not all Djent. The 100th release by Nefarious Industries, with the catalogue number NEF100, is mostly something else. Burn After Hearing is 50 minutes and 33 seconds of music, sometimes heavy and quite diverse music. It demonstrates that Nefarious Industries truly do “showcase the harrowing sonic landscape of their eclectic roster”. I read that initially as “their electric toaster”. The statement, therefore, seemed somewhat confusing. Truth.

I don’t think any of this is Grime. But if you want to check out something that might challenge any perceptions of what you think about Grime, then check out Stormzy headlining Reading Festival in 2022 with Rabea Massaad opening the set on guitar. If you can find it!

Burn After Hearing presents 14 acts who don’t all share even one thing, and one thing they don’t all share is the word “metal”. “Metal” would have helped lock the bands in the Genre cupboard under the stairs. Though quite a few of them should probably be kept in that particular cupboard, a comprehensive breakdown of what this album typically represents is not that easy. It seems unfair to highlight one band over another, and this would be a long review if I put them all under the microscope, but every band and every song has its own merits, whatever the genre, and OK – there is a lot of metal.

You might say there’s something for everyone, with the possible exceptions of my editor (Ed’s note – damn, I’m going to have to listen to it now!) and my 3 year old granddaughter and quite a lot of other people I can think of. One song I initially didn’t believe is for everyone is Kimota by Nequient. Sometimes, however, two negatives really can make a positive! Telling myself I’d put my musical prejudice to one side, I tried to imagine my wife listening to Nequient’s mix of blast beats and Cradle Of Filth style vocals. This combination really did go a long way to challenge my preconceptions. At least, I say that, but it didn’t. I just can’t listen to drums played as a sport or more than 20 seconds of Cradle of Filth.

The DRX, on the other hand, have a smashing take on what constitutes rhythmical patterns. At once, they are so rhythmically interesting – what The Mercury Tree are to microtonal rock LINK to Spidermilk review – and have a more conventional vocalist. Spoiler alert – there is an unexpected cameo by the Cookie Monster. Arbogast have more of a Slayer vibe, spliced with some Djenty intro, driven by double-time metal drums and shoutiness. Then, coming in at number 14, pop pickers, we have some unsettling ambience from Zevious, with their contribution, Death Wind. Then again Psychosomatic are like rockabilly on steroids and bear no resemblance to the rest of the featured artists.

If your taste lends itself to the heavier side of rock, then Burn After Hearing is a great selection of bands who might be new to you. Some of the tracks genuinely inspire me to look for more from the bands who spawned them:

Zvi – Massive Attack meets NIN in a dark alley.
Gematria – Heavy and weird
Gridfailure – Also heavy and weird, though, I suspect in a Too-Much-Of-A-Good-Thing way.
Cinema Cinema – Avant-garde jazzy lunacy, only much less groovy.
…and the aforementioned Zevious – Death Wind is simply stark, dark and broody ambience. They get my vote for best track on Burn After Hearing.

Burn After Hearing is an extremely well compiled collection. It certainly puts the Nefarious Industries electric toaster in the shop window. Buy it. Would I? Yes.

01. El Drugstore – Rural Ecstasy (4:27)
02. The DRX – Diamond Maker (4:33)
03. Arbogast – Purgative (2:56)
04. Risk Relay – Intervention Undivine (4:04)
05. Humans Etcetera – Odd Zoom (3:55)
06. Psychosomatic – Green River (1:50)
07. Zvi – Twocelled (3:27)
08. Nequient – Kimota (5:01)
09. Gematria – Black Gate No. 1 (3:53)
10. Bedtimemagic – The Slumber Party (Part I) (2:01)
11. Gridfailure – Blades and Arson Instead (4:09)
12. Fuck Your Birthday – House of 1000 Corners (4:47)
13. Cinema Cinema – Nose-Level Collision (1:25)
14. Zevious – Death Wind (3:57)

Total Time – 50:25

(BM: Never gonna happen) 😉

Record Label: Nefarious Industries
Catalogue#: NEF100
Country of Origin: International
Date of Release: 14th June 2024

Nefarious Industries Album info at Nefarious Industries | Facebook | Audio/Video | X