It’s been a good five years since we last had a new Unsane album, and while much has changed in the world since 2012, the NYC noise vets are as reliably dreary as ever. Dig the simple, one-word album title, with bolded font over a blood-spattered backdrop, and the 10 tracks within, only one of which has a moniker longer than two words. Brevity has always been part of the Unsane approach, and with songs like “Aberration,” “No Reprieve” and “We’re Fucked,” it’s clear that this ain’t no basketful of puppies.
“Factory” gets things off to a sludgy stop/start, with a caustic chorus punctuated by screeching guitar squeals. Contrary to its title, “The Grind” is actually slower and heavier than its predecessor, sounding sorta like the howling southern sludge of Kylesa. “Aberration” does pick up the pace a bit, more of a mid-paced stomp-and-growl. “No Reprieve” walks the line between the Melvins and Eyehategod, ending on a swirling flourish… and the breakdowns on “Lung” hit like a ton of bricks!
Tunes like “Inclusion” and “Distance” deliver more of Unsane’s caustic wit. “A Slow Reaction” hits you with some menacing, mid-paced, downtuned riffs and a few slow ‘n heavy breakdowns, before the aforementioned “We’re Fucked” comes in with a winding, swooping riff that fits the leather-lunged vocals perfectly. This is Noise Rock 101, Exhibit A, kids.