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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Sludge: NO WAY - "Sing Praises"

The older I get, the less self-aware I become. It usually takes a not-so-casual nudge from my wife to coax me into tackling the garlic on my breath. I just may go through an entire day at work without realizing I've forgotten to glaze my 'pits with deodorant. Stray hairs poking from my shirt's collar, weird marks that may or may not be self-inflicted as I sleep, and some smudge on any of the day's articles of clothing all seem more and more likely as years pass. And I'm giving fewer fucks by the day.

But this stickiness... whew. The slick, slimy nature of the stink steaming from No Way's four-track Sing Praises is fully self-aware. This four-track EP is equal parts sludge-metal, noise-rock, NYC hardcore, and every blister in-between. Sweating through eighteen all-too-brief minutes, this Brooklyn quartet introduces an angst-riddled clinic on shifting blame and gnawing caked dirt. These guys know what they're doing.

Abrupt, jarring noise is thrown thick on the opening tandem of The Cutting and Shake The Meat. The former is jagged and sticky, leaning forward with stab after stab and revealing more layers than you'd expect. NO WAY shove our faces into hot mud, pushing as deep as they can until the track's initial bouncing rhythm returns with hanging flesh. Shake The Meat continues the bass-led, buoyant administration of piss. Jarring patches of blazing licks grapple with stop-start highlights as guitars burn and Chris Enriquez's drums absolutely fucking flatten. The near-hopeful tone at the midpoint creates a wholly deceptive moment of clarity, but Chuck Berrett's vocal gruff is gruff, dirty, and damn near sweaty-Southern. You uncomfortable yet?

War Dance is NO WAY's tapered, reserved juxtaposition to the terse noise, at least briefly. When Berrett awakens and hopes to face the sun, he simply can't. A long lament is violently interrupted and... well, they're slamming our faces again. Repeated punches, abscessed clamor, and the disc's slowest, sludgiest moments can't detract from the bemoaning of prophecies fulfilling themselves. The band open things up, but the track ultimately bookends with those pensive plucks.

Sing Praises saves its largest sound for the closing Pasture / Abuela, steadily fuzzed-out and providing no shortage of warnings as it plows. Every evolution unveils a hidden misdeed, and as the sound expands on itself, we're engulfed in swirls. Squeaking, squirming, and ultimately leveling everything the light touches, Pasture holds all of NO WAY's trademarks until life bluntly freezes. Abuela steadies the sound and you reach for Grandma's bony hand through the fog. Just as she's guiding us through the thorns, NO WAY smear us with shit, bag our heads, and scour us with their own recipe of fierce sludge.

Drawing from innumerable influences and stamping out their own brand of metal, NO WAY's net should drag wide and draw fans like flies. For all its filth and violence, Sing Praises somehow manages to maintain a resilient, resin-coated groove that washes down the sharp stones. That grease-ball bully on the playground is suddenly a jack of all trades, and he's got some cool shit for you. You know this won't end well, but... Goddamn, this is fun. "Whoa, wait a minute! Where the fuck are we going?!" Shhh...

For fans of: Whores., Unsane, Helmet
Pair with: Spaten Optimator, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

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