Sohns – Ripe/Rot
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Record Label: Flannel Gurl Records
Turmoil. It's bitter chaos with no hope or fortunate ending. It's an aggression found in most heavy music, but only well constructed and carried through the measures by few. There's a swell and release in a breakdown or breaking point some musicians look to achive and build around the whole, instead of riding a natural flow of construction into destruction. Artists like Some Girls, These Arms Are Snakes and mainly The Blood Brothers did this well - and it was taken from The Jesus Lizard and Unwound before them. When you start thinking outside the box of traditional hardcore - you can either write a bunch of "drops" or fabricate a more textural effort throughout.
San Antonio's Sohns had a lot of "pay-offs" on their last full length, 2010's To Ward It Off and Drown It Out. With the epic "A Place Called Worship," Sohns showed they could write a feature story, instead of a few quick headlines. On Ripe/Rot, the band expand on their former full-length's strengths and put together one of the year's most punishing records. Sohns have gone from Arab on Radar tonality, to Hydra Head amp worship. While the record closes in under 10 minutes, it also flows naturally. "Slow Train Blues of the Broken Skull" showcases vocalist Alex Mendez's expanding range, from low crooning to high pitched fit throwing. Mendez sounds like Johnny Whitney's most alert moments on Young Machetes and David Yow's bleakest growl on Goat.
"The Hole in the Foul" intros organ and gang chants into the record's apocalyptic finally, and one of 2012's most punishing moments. "Soul Salvation" encompasses everything that pulled me into post-hardcore, noise and the onset of damage. The tension built in the first two acts into the explosion of the last and the the mid-song breakdown of drums and bass all swell with confidence and terror. Sohns are one of the few bands building a full summer blockbuster, instead of just great dialogue and an overly hyped feeling. With Ripe/Rot, the band position themselves as this decade's 3OneG worship or V2 Records' relaunching. I hope Sohns expands even more in this direction and continue to create episodes of rage and uncertainty. I hope this is a bar set and not just that cult followed, rare record everyone fights for on vinyl boards ten years after the disband.