Despite the best efforts of No Why Records founder Mark McGee and his former bass playing cohort in I Hate Sally/The Chariot, Dan Vokey, I have never found the time to check out Shallow North Dakota. And my knowledge of Cursed is cursory at best. But it was that same rhythm section (I think) that told me a few years ago about Hamilton’s Crux of Aux which features former members of both Shallow ND and Cursed. Their long-awaited debut has finally landed in Mona. And I for one was not prepared for how devastating these eight tracks are.
Noisy sludge or sludgy noise, call it what you will. Just don’t call it weak. Crux of Aux are visceral and incendiary. They’ve got a massive sound with snarling tone that’ll make you scowl and feel mean.
As one would expect from the noise rock element CofA often keep the listener off balance, moving from one neckwrecking riff to the next at the drop of a hat. But no matter what pace they’re working you over with, every note has impact. Their attack is relentless and heavy as fuck.
Noise and sludge aren’t the only sounds in their repertoire though. “Splat Splat” features a pummelling riff on repeat rife with hardcore energy. “Lithomancy” moves back and forth between doom and speed metal, while “Holy Books” has a part that’s close to Voivod-ian thrash.
Through it all their unconventional approach bruises and boggles with a rumble and swagger. There’s an elasticity to it all both short and long term. Across the album they stretch genre boundaries to the breaking point and beyond. And at any given moment they can move like a slingshot, pulling back quickly to deliver a killing blow.
Mona is all about that kind of energy that makes you want to throw a TV out a window and not give a shit after that. The momentum and inertia is enough to send you to the hospital. There’s no way standing still is even possible with this album, especially for the band. They could dodge bullets Matrix-style playing this. Complete aural destruction full of menace and sweat.
Fans of Shallow North Dakota and Cursed or even KEN Mode (uh, pre-Success) will find Mona essential listening. It gets better with every spin. It’s unstoppable, dynamic, electric and explosive.
Don’t ask why. Just go get it.
Released October 6, 2015 on No Why Records
Stream the album on Soundcloud.