If a steel mill, an iron foundry and a blacksmith’s workshop decided to form a band it wouldn’t be far from what Petbrick have made on their second album Liminal. It’s an epic, industrial-electronic colossus that make jackhammers sound like purring kittens. Wayne Adams (Big Lad/Johnny Broke) and Iggor Cavalera (Sepultura/Cavalera Conspiracy/Soulwax) have put together what they say is “an insane mirror of what being isolated feels like – madness through noise experimentations”.
The first two tracks, ‘Primer’ and ‘Arboria’ flow into each other like two neighbouring buildings being demolished at the same time, followed by the high-energy elasticated fuzz of ‘Pigeon Kick’ and the menacing warp and weft of ‘Raijin’ (the Japanese god of lightning, thunder, and storms). ‘Lysergic Aura (Feat. Lord Goat & Truck Jewelz)’ is the sound of boulders on trampolines with vocals filtered through gravel and ‘Damballa’, the Haitian Voodoo spirit often depicted as a great white serpent, moves from slithering quiet to the sharp sting of drums and percussion. ‘Ayan’ is a full tilt batería of electronic pops and crackles firing out over non-stop drums with the feel of trying to play pinball with 100 balls at the same time, ‘Grind You Dull’, the most hardcore track on the album, has Jacob Bannon screaming into a volcano of drums and ‘Chemical Returns’ is a cavernous stomp. The penultimate track, ‘Distorted Peace’, has waves of juddering electronics locked in a rictus embrace with the vocals of Paula Rebellato with everything phasing in and out of cohesion while drums paw at the ground or gallop straight through, and Liminal’s final track is ‘Reckoning’, with slow-burning synthesisers vacillating underneath the rasp of Steve Von Till’s vocals which are warning of the reckoning yet to come.
Liminal put me in mind of the glorious, organised chaos of Test Department or Mark Stewart & The Mafia. It offers domination with syncopation and Petbrick have put battering rams in the mechanical hands of drummers wearing exoskeletons from Aliens. They are communing with the Earth’s tectonic plates and blasting away meteors that break through the atmosphere with their sonic assault. It’s the sound of the Big Bang and Armageddon happening at the same time and this sensorial pummelling is formidable, invigorating and revelatory.
Review by Paul F Cook