Slogun – Nothing. Ever. CD Old Captain 2019
The long standing Slogun returns in 2019 with a new album which incidentally is the 19th full length* issued since the mid 1990’s (* – excluding splits and collaboration albums). With solo member John Balistreri being active under the Slogun banner for 23 years now, the sound of the project has always been defined by and is immediately recognisable for his New York drawl and bile fuelled misanthropic rants. In that regard some things remain the same, as the vocals again play a core and central role, while the thematic preoccupations are neatly wrapped up in the album tag-line of: ‘Nothing you do will ever matter. Nothing. Ever’.
On the sonic front, it is apparent just how far the sound has elevated out of a harsh free-form noise style which was prevalent in the early days of the project, but which over recent albums has been gradually moving towards greater structural and refinement. Accordingly, Nothing. Ever. spans 11 tracks and 48 minutes, where creaking metallic textures, field-recording based loops, buzzing static, digital pulses, sustained drones etc. characterise the sonic framework. But rather than built a harsh wall of sonics, clear space and separation is employed in the mix, which gives each element room to breathe. Likewise the mood is controlled in tone and tensile in atmosphere, without being overtly aggressive or punishing. This then allows the centrally prominent and delay treated vocals to amplify a more overtly attacking and antagonistic mood. To speak of the vocals, these are are hard as ever in their aggressive and strained delivery, where it is also quite a monumental effort on John’s behalf to keep delivering rock solid, psychoanalytical tinged but street level focused rants without running out of either steam or thematic ideas.
With relatively compact and to the point tracks, the albums moves through at a brisk pace, which functions to maintain interest given the differing sonic compositions between each track. Clearly Nothing. Ever. this is still power electronics and industrial noise at its core, but when comparing this to much earlier output from Slogun it absolutely underlines how much emphasis has been placed on the meticulous structuring of the sonics into distinct and individual tracks. Consequently Nothing. Ever. manages to both sate expectations and surprise in equal measures, resulting in a very enjoyable album.