Legalise Crime, Beat the Law, Poland, BSFD Recordings, CD023 (2017)
From Poland comes this filthy doom sludge mob who rejoice in short, sharp songs that pack in huge wallops of thick magma guitar and drum crash all iced over with the most hilarious song titles I’ve ever seen. “Crack that took the Whole Summer to Lose”? – you’d have to be trying to sell it to penguins in the Antarctic. As for track 12, those latitude / longitude co-ordinates give a location in the band’s home city of Wroclaw which might be where the guys recorded this album. Or perhaps they mark the spot where the band first crawled out of the primordial sludge ooze that still influences and shapes the sound and texture of the thick grinding metal crust on display. Whatever the members had in mind, one thing is for sure: “Beat the Law” is an impressive debut, a surprisingly fast and punchy doom sewer sludge album of raw power and ragged screech.
By themselves most songs are short and the album is best heard in one hit from start to finish. It actually flows well that way and from Track 1 to the end of Track 7 at least, the music does sound more or less continuous. The aforementioned “Crack …” brings a sharp break with a punky attitude and speed but it still features glacial doom sludge slush mixed with the fast snappy stuff. Some listeners may gripe that the songs should be longer, especially as some have deep Mariana Trench-sized grooves that never let you go once you’re right into them, and that the pauses between songs come too fast. I tend to agree, that most songs could be a lot longer just to savour and immerse yourself in, because the band’s sound is incredibly massive and mind-destroying, and in some songs like “Riot Rat”, the guys really go off their brains in the screaming and in generating the most insane feedback noise.
The album gets off to a good start in the relatively low-key “XXXX” opener which basically softens us up for the onslaught to come. And come it does with full aggression and power, and plenty of throat-shredding desperation on the part of the vocalist. “Jimmy Hix Sucks Cock” (yes, really) is a huge number that just barely fits in its three-minutes-and-a-bit time-slot. (Sorry, it’s difficult to talk about this song without double entendres.) “Doomed City” starts with glorious feedback drone abrasion that tears through your mind like slow-ripping paint stripper. “Noob the Loser” has a great rhythm that drives the song and very infectious pop riffs that together with the singing turn the song into doom hardcore. These songs are but just three examples of how the album bludgeons listeners into awed silence with a surprising mix of fast, even punk-influenced beats, some of the slowest slabs of doom sludge ever to trudge into view, occasional doompop melodies and strong riffing combined with inspired moments of feedback improvisation.
By the end, you might be left reeling from all the hard hitting (not always a good idea if the band wants people to replay the album as soon as it finishes) or you might feel a bit frustrated that the songs are so short and tend to start fast, fast, then go slow and then fast again without much let up. We’ll have to wait for a follow-up to see if the band is willing to play longer tracks that deliver the sledgehammer hits a bit more … slowly.