Kicking things off as they mean to and will go on, ‘Rest Well’ opens proceedings breathlessly with grooving riffs, pent up angst and ripping rhythm; while ‘No Living’ follows by pummelling the listener with apocalyptic leanings and snotty pessimistic vocals and a baseline that could peel paint off the walls. This quick start makes one thing blindingly obvious. Howls exist to be heard. They don’t wish to be just another space on your iPod. They want attention and they don’t want to wait around for it. Their music is the equivalent of knocking out a roof support with a sledge and sitting back to watch the result. And they know it. Uncompromising, vicious and distinguishable and that’s just in the space of 5 minutes and all. And breathe.
Things seamlessly continue at the same rate of destruction and effortlessly lack any regard for the state of your eardrums. ‘Black Dust’ comes off disjointed and menacing with spat words and crunching melodies, before ‘Ides’ rounds things off with pain staking emotion and a spiralling departure into disparaged self analysis and spiky cries. Then it is over as quickly as it arrived. There are no greetings, handshakes or well wishes. Just a sweaty, dirty flurry of energy and anxiety that leaves an addictively bitter taste at the back of throat and a handprint around the neck. You feel battered and bruised but also pining for more.
‘No Living’ is basically a rag tag 10-minute burst of punishing punk firmly rooted in the downtrodden depths. Rather than skirting round the edge of rawness, Howls have targeted the jugular and hit it with everything they can muster. For only a second effort, this is a particularly volatile and confidently vicious offering from the band, and to think what they could create and achieve across the span of a full length LP is rather exciting to say the least. The future is looking gloriously dark.
‘No Living’ by Howls is out now on A Wold At Your Door Records.
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)