The Swiss noise rock trio ASBEST know how to develop tension. If their debut Driven wasn’t indication enough, this full album premiere has 9 tracks and 37 minutes of unrelenting anxiety that present their message loud and clear.
The moment “Autodigestion” plays you’re whisked away into a storm of nervous energy. The opening riff feels like a descent down a dusty stairwell with a slithering bassline before a burst of anxious vocals reminiscent of late stage ‘80s hardcore (think Biafra, or Rollins) wallow and bemoan about being stuck, dehumanized, and drugged the fuck out, before everything kinda crumbles into ash by the end. It’s a particularly haunting track, but never reaches dissonance, nor destruction. Instead it meanders in the blue/black leaving everything staunchly in between post-punk and hardcore, which makes it a solid offering of unique cool to the touch art rock.
That’s not it, though. Later on, ASBEST strut the fuck out with swagger in noise rock glory on tracks like “Dysopium”, “Hubris”, and “Mutually Assured Reduction”. Those tracks add a layer to an already complex multi-genre sound, and show some airy riff centric tunes that’ll raise your spirits just enough.
So much of this album feels frantic, and breathless. There are spoken word parts that lend details to subject material before the punky riffs cut through. All of it is anxious and worrisome psalms that feel sparse, but pointy. The trio do a good job utilizing their stripped down scarcity with lingering riffs that bleed into one another as the pressure increases, then a slight reprieve for the chorus, before it starts all over again. It’s constantly prickly, never easy going, and wholly effective.
Something about this album just carries an oppressive weight to it. The spoken word vocals Robyn Trachsel provides on tracks “Declaration of Defenselessness” and “Mutually Assured Reduction” are muttered with an uneasiness and paranoia that pressures from the outside. Jonas Häne’s drums sew loose ends together, but also leaves enough room to breathe as Judith Breitinger’s sleek bass riffs give a solid platform for the concerning musings.
The vibe of this album is highly palatable. There’s so much clear-eyed expression in this offering to present what they’re getting at that it leaves out all the guesswork. The sound is loud, the vocals are distressed, and the message is finalized. Like a brick through the window, ASBEST did not come to be misunderstood or go out on a whimper, and left an impressive offering of post-punk meets noise rock with a side of late ’90s alt bizarro rock that all blends well together. It’s a path that is commendable and unique. The end result is an engaging, thrilling, and effective sound that grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until the ride is over.
ASBEST have a decent sophomore album on their hands. Cutting the difference between hefty noise rockers like WHORES., and the concerning weight of depressive grunge that Chat Pile produces, they’re providing an insatiable album that feels like the process of grief. It’s a gloomy catharsis that enables for an engaging listening experience. The elements they’re incorporating is a welcome addition to their solid catalog. I’m looking forward to their development, and curious which way they will take their sound.
Cyanide is out May 19th on Czar of Crickets Productions and A Tree In A Field Records and can be streamed on all major platforms then, or if you can’t wait, you can stream the entire album right now above. Wanna get this beauty on vinyl? Pre-order right here! While you’re at it, don’t forget to give ASBEST a follow on their socials: