From the shadow of imposing snow-capped Alpine mountains emerges Elizabeth; kicking and screaming in a tumultuous flurry of grating hardcore. The Geneva band have only been in existence since 2009 but have already built an impressive reputation as stringent road warriors, hitting clubs across a wide diaspora – from the frozen steppes of St Petersburg to the Marxist tropical time warp of Havana. On their spanking new EP Insomnia, such unwavering dedication to touring is matched by some exceedingly tight musicianship not to mention an almost unfathomable amount of focussed aggression. Insomnia is four tracks of relentless aural barbarity, thundering drums and guitar work that’s alternately abrasive and crushing. It’s an unforgiving sound that finds natural allies in a number of fellow Euro bands and takes cues from Rise & Fall; it finds an affinity in those that are able to grasp ideas from outside of the usual banal hardcore repertoire, twisting their sound into untapped forms of musical savagery.
There’s an instant vocal resemblance to the inhuman guttural bark of Converge’s Jacob Bannon, who in turn form another tangible influence on these angry boys from Geneva. ‘Cemetery Feeling’ bristles which unorthodox guitar noise. After the intro riff of muddied bass, guitarist Charly scrapes and scratches across the strings with barely comprehensible speed as the rest of the band steam along at the outer limits of their beats-per-minute capabilities. ‘Created Enemies’ is equally relentless in its propulsive drive, vocalist Javier smattering the maelstrom with specks of lung as he proceeds to shred his vocal chords into tatters. ‘Danger’ continues the destruction, upping the intensity levels with a blizzard of almost melodic guitar but the best is saved for the EP’s death throws on the sublime dynamism of ‘Ravens’. Here, clean guitar lines dance along in a way unseen since the idiosyncratic yet underachieving weird-core of the sadly defunct Crocus. A round of barbed blast-beats brings the record to a premature conclusion after a breath-taking eight minutes of precision brutality.
Elizabeth’s brand of chaotic hardcore, delivered with an inch-thick crust, may be derivative in many respects. The band however, deserve the upmost credit for their impeccable musicianship and the sheer ferocity of the unrelenting terror conjured with such finesse. Elizabeth can sit proudly amongst the ever brilliant roster of bands on Throatruiner, for Insomnia is an exemplary artefact of twisted hardcore.
4 out of 5 high fives!