World peace feels like is an unachievable idea that goes against human nature. If we could peacefully coexist then we wouldn’t have created an irredeemable climate disaster or gone millennia after millennia looking to conquer foreign lands. In Buddhism, peace is only achievable from within, therefore to achieve world peace it seems to me that every culture and every military leader would need to find this before war is ever appeased. This would be the final step after accepting the fourth noble truth that there is a path leading to the cessation of suffering. Beneath this however, the first noble truth is that there is suffering and the second is that there is a cause to this suffering. The first noble truth states that ‘birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering’. Suffering is a fact of life, from this comes a reaction. In the case of Buddhism, this would be inner peace leading to world peace, but in the case of World Peace this reaction is noise. Two bassists, one drummer, and many vitriolic shouts of aggression.
Coming out of the Bay Area, World Peace have become the grisliest and best band in powerviolence in recent years, especially with the addition of Spy frontman Peter Pawlak as their second bassist/vocalist in 2019. 2023 sees the release of their second LP (if we can describe anything lasting 10 minutes as ‘long’). It Is Written is another rampaging 20 song offering that is over in a whirlwind but leaves you feeling like Wile E Coyote on the end of one of his mislaid traps to catch Roadrunner. It’s a controlled explosion of an album, as pure an expression as you can get with no frills to make it progressive or nice. It just rips.
Beginning and ending with two slowed down extended cuts (they both last over a minute), It Is Written is carefully bookended by tracks that balance out the pace of the album and give the bass some extra time to groove. The opening title track is a full 67 seconds of double bass riffs that act as the perfect introduction, no vocals and only a groove. The closing track is similarly slow and ventures into sludge territory with the blunt force of the main riff under the more calculated dual shouts that permeate the track. Held within these two walls of noise are 18 tracks which keep this penchant for riffs but without the restraint. Someone cut the brakes of their racing car, which is much more nitrous powered monster than carefully engineered Formula 1 rocket.
These grooves do continue throughout the album on tracks such as “With Arms Outstretched” which balances these with their usual total war assault, but they don’t define the album. What defines the album is a complete reckless abandon as World Peace venture to play as fast and aggressively as possible. The 1-2-3-4 drumstick count ins that begin most tracks are frenzied and yet controlled, readying the trio to fly off the handle for their next 27 second riot. You’d think someone told the French proletariat the retirement age was being raised by some of the ferocity in songs such as “Veneration Of”, another which is an aural Molotov cocktail in the hands of the San Francisco group.
Returning to Buddhism for a second, and 8th Century poet Santideva once wrote that ‘one’s mind finds no peace, neither enjoys pleasure or delight…while the dart of hatred is stuck in the heart’. I don’t get the impression that World Peace agree though as they don’t seem to have found peace with songs like “Penance Unending” ending up as a single for the album. Lyrics for this song read ‘never will we learn, this penance unending, knees bent eternal, forgiveness is the final sin’. This doesn’t sound like a band ready to reach enlightenment, but I’m here to react against the suffering which we see around us without finding inner peace as a lot of people don’t get the choice to find peace. How can we find peace in a society that neglects so many in need, that prejudices against so many for simply existing, that lauds and worships those who exploit?
World Peace have continued along their own path, there doesn’t seem to be an end goal to reach anything but they’re going to leave a trail of destruction wherever it takes them. It Is Written follows in the path of Come And See without adding too much to their sound but for some extra grooves and a more considered album structure. Yet, the latter is a modern classic, so changing a winning formula sounds like a route to disaster. Instead, they’ve plunged deeper into their own hyperspeed double-bass barrage to give back a 10-minute album that won’t bring peace to anyone but brings happiness to those who want an offering of the fastest and most neanderthalic music they could find.