We Deserve Our Failures

Glass All Empty

dB Rating: 8/10

Release Date: August 14, 2015
Label: Hex

What’s in a band’s name? In this case, fucking everything. Make sure the knives, ropes, firearms and running cars in locked garages are far, far away if you dare expose yourself to this album’s 10-minute coda, “Eternal Silent Darkness.” Set against metronomic piano thunderclaps and tinkles, a sampled narrator matter-of-factly intones, “Essentially nothing, nothing happens after death … most people seem to mistake nothing for something,” in addition to somehow even more dispiriting observations. The unyielding, dire funeral march that ensues is not unlike the most harrowing output of your everyday Gilead Media post-everything titan. But the truth is, “Eternal Silent Darkness” is the welcome, holy-shit-they-can-dothat- too?! exception to the frantic noise-rock rule on We Deserve Our Failures.

Most of this seven-song debut is in the bullshit-free vein of criminally unsung Hex predecessors Achilles and Engineer, but with a surprising focus—and memorability—that noise-rock outfits often lose in their riff barrage. Not the case here. Leadoff salvo “Guilt Tripper” and “Handicapper General” unleash hurricanes of feedback and harmonics (all courtesy of just one guitarist, T.J. Calandra), which ricochet against the brick walls erected—and gleefully shattered by—bassist Matt Jaime and drummer Nick Shelton. Scott Thayer swallows the mic the way 99 percent of vocalists in this genre do, as familiar-but-inspired strains of Botch and Kiss It Goodbye signify Bleak as an easy finalist for an already strong 2015 rookie of the year class.

—Andrew Bonazelli
Review originally printed in the September 2015 issue (#131).