It took me a while to believe the hype about now-departed hardcore unit Throats, but when I finally saw them live it all made sense. I came away from that show with bloodied knuckles and ripped clothes, thinking "But I don't even like them?".
I went home and listened to the self-titled 12" I'd apparently purchased in a concussive haze, and all their secrets were revealed. I became obsessed with them, just as they announced they were disbanding at the end of 2010. Yet another case of a UK band cut down in their prime, I wasn't the only one lamenting their loss.
When I heard that a couple of the members had a new band on the go, so much time had passed that it raised only the mildest curiosity. Since seemingly everyone who had a hardcore band 3 years ago is now playing substandard pretentious bollocks of some variety, from electro to doom, I assumed they would have lost their youthful intensity and have recorded something similarly 'mature'. How fucking wrong I was.
Exhaustion's demo is just as blistering as Throats ever were, if not more so. From the piercing feedback that announces opener 'Ennui', a searing series of blastbeats and bile that's over almost before you can register that it's begun, through the ultra-distorted grind of 'Strangeness In The Strangeness', it seems I've found another band to hang my hopelessness on.
'Inessential' is a total fucking mess, blending everything from blackened tremolo, d-beat, sickening retches instead of remotely human vocals, all within a minute. 'Conceit' is a death-tinged grind that sounds like the band beat the vocalist close to death before dumping him down a well to record his vocals. The guitar work in the closing seconds is utterly mind-scrambling; I'd imagine the tab for this track would probably look like it was written by aliens.
There isn't much in terms of variety on offer, with penultimate track 'Liminal' continuing their penchant for torturous noise in the vague semblance of grind, but who needs 'songs' when you have sheer fucking fury?
Closing track 'Perfection Misunderstands The Ends...' actually has a vaguely melodic intro, the woozy, bluesy twin guitar harmony setting up the devastating d-beat attack which soon follows nicely. The constituent elements of this track are given a bit more breathing space here, allowing you to actually keep up with what's going on, which will be handy in a live environment; you might actually leave the gig with your sanity intact.
This demo is a hugely promising sign that Exhaustion will fulfil the potential that Throats displayed all those years ago. I highly recommend you take eleven minutes out of your day and get really fucking angry about it.
I highly recommend purchasing an actual tape from Church Of Fuck.