Art Of Burning Water
Between Life And Nowhere LP

01. Rambo Survival Techniques
02. Prime Example Of A Lonely Child
03. Barbara O'Reilly
04. You
05. To Be Brave
06. Voivodian Solutions To Die Kreuzien Problems
07. Alesha
08. Prone To Bouts Of Hopelessness
09. Baby Without Your Love
10. Kindness Is Strength

A broken down van for broken men on the side of some motorway on the way to a show only the promoter is excited about but still the beauty of the music sends the assembled bodies into a frenzied frenzy and what seemed pointless is now evidently point full. The years spent in the realm of ignore now seem a distant future away. The rewards for effort now seem effortlessly rewarding. By way of generous funding from the ever giving state the d-beat graduated and came to work for Art Of Burning Water. Fuck your 1982 d-beat worship. D-beat went to college. This is PhD-beat infused urban heartcore of the worst kind.

Release date 15/09/16.

Co-released with Bigout (EU) and Sleeping Giant Glossolalia (US).

Ltd. to 350 copies on black.

Being in a band isn’t an easy endeavor. Even with the right chemistry between members, the sheer number of obstacles a project has to jump over can be daunting. It can strain relationships, or even outright destroy them. Just recording an album is enough stress to cause even the most battle-hardened band to split up. That’s what makes a project such as Art of Burning Water so damn special. A band that has been trucking along for over ten years and released numerous full lengths and splits, each one having stayed true to their collective ideals and visions, never compromising or relying on a major label’s support. That’s what makes our scene of music so special and unique – that a group of people can come together and craft something without bending a knee to peer pressure or trends. Such is the case with A.OF.W.’s newest full-length Between Life And Nowhere.
For those unfamiliar with this trio’s sound – brace yourself. They manage to stand atop a few different styles, without ever copying anyone in particular, rooted in a ferocious sense of urgency which His Hero Is Gone trademarked and injected with a healthy dose of Converge-esque insanity. What makes this scene of music – and I’m using the term “scene” to encompass everything under the tent of extreme metal – so invigorating at times is the different approaches a band can use. What really excites me is when you can tell a band is playing from the heart and not just some formula for success. That you can almost taste the sweat and tears poured into each riff and passage. And yet again, Art of Burning Water have done that just that.
From the moment “Rambo Survival Techniques” starts, the earnest approach and frantic pace cascade out of the speakers. Vocalist and guitarist Grief screeches with such vitriolic and caustic intensity that one can almost imagine him fronting a basement dwelling Black Metal project. His vocal range found throughout here adds such a level of angst and fury to the already bombastic drumming of Mike and the earth-rumbling bass sound conjured forth by Kunal. While this band has cemented their sound in the aforementioned D-Beat Hardcore attack, they never shy away from branching out.
When assembled together, these three primal forces have wrought some of the most neck-breaking moments I’ve heard this year. The second track, “Prime Example of a Lonely Child,” contains the first real moment of sonic devastation. With a massive, terrifying riff that moves mountains and causes the foundations of skyscrapers to crack. This band has always brought some staggering passages to each of their albums. But upon having my face broken against the wall of sound they’ve made with this song, I knew immediately that this record is the best one they’ve put out in their long career.
A.O.B.W. have always done a stand up job of marrying the political and personal in their abrasive style of Hardcore. Much like the forefathers of this sound – From Ashes Rise and His Hero Is Gone – A.O.B.W. deliver their own fiery brand of righteous indignation with a sense that their message is futile in this crumbling world. Songs such as “Prone to Bouts” and “Alesha” blast across the speakers with a rage-fueled bombardment that leaves one twisting in the dust as the song settles.
The melding of traditional elements from the D-Beat Crust scene and more Metal-aligned Hardcore conjures up some great moments in these songs. And the surprising thing is just how fluid they weave in and out of those influences. It’s hard to pinpoint at times where the band is going on certain tracks or portions of the album. But that fact alone is a testament to how powerful this trio is together. They keep you guessing at every turn chaotic turn and down tuned riff.
The final track, “Kindness is Strength,” absolutely steals the spotlight as the best song on here. The delivery and assembly of the album has led up to this point. The juggernaut-sized riffs. The battering of fists against the social and economic walls society has constructed. The mindless toiling of wage-slaves and those whose faces are glued to their cell phones. The anger and frustration that one has as they watch the world slipping into a bleak future. The song has such a commanding sound that even while we look out our windows, a sense of hope for fighting the good fight washes over you. Boiled down into it’s essence, it’s a triumphant track that inspires one to go out into this fucking world and make it a better place. It’s what Hardcore should do at the end of the day: inspire you.
Moreso then their other releases, Between Life and Nowhere finds the band still worming their way through moments of feedback and spaced out madness. But even with that, this album feels much more streamlined and concise then anything they’ve done before. I’ve loved everything they’ve released, but this record seems like it was crafted as an ultimate expression of how the band sees this world. A world that is populated by those who wish us harm. A world torn apart by war and religious zealotry. But also a world that is fighting back. That finds inspiration in the flowers that spring forth from the cracks in the concrete. Between Life and Nowhere is a reflection of that notion. And for band that is still somehow relatively unknown to deliver something of this emotional caliber, it makes me question just about everything else around me. If that’s the intended result of this record, well then, they have done a remarkable job at their mission.

There's not too many bands that manage to retain a strong momentum of writing and release while maintaining their sense of purpose and integrity over a significant period. Art of Burning Water are one of the rare exceptions, a true gem of the British hardcore scene, consistently adding to a catalogue of work that, when they eventually call it a day, will be looked back on as underappreciated. Not that it seems that's coming any time soon, as theirs is a fire that appears to fuel from a bottomless well. Between Life and Nowhere is noticeably direct, particularly in context of the band in question - I remember many years ago purchasing The Voyage of the Pessimistic Philsoph shortly after a mind shattering AOBW gig, only to be perplexed by the awkwardness of the record until it finally clicked. Not here - there's an immediacy without losing their ferocity, attacking with an unrelenting metallic punk vigour, a breathless crust-infested assault whilst still delivering a distinction for each track. What's ultimately great about this album though is that it is defiantly, distinctly that of AOBW, existing in the centre of a Venn diagram of undergound consciousness to tempt in the fringes of metal, powerviolence, doom and hardcore, equally unafraid to piss on anyone who disagrees, and more so in terms of sheer quality - here is an album ten tracks long without pause, deviation or, most impressively, weakness. I could highlight the stunning opening of Rambo Surival Techniques and Prime Example of a Lonely Child, the sub half minute shriek of You or the guttural closing Kindness Is Strength but with the album over in twenty minutes, you're best just taking the full weight of it on straight through, ideally three times an hour. Consistently intense, continually absorbing, Art of Burning Water burn as bright as ever.

Metal Trenches
And now to harsh your vibe entirely. If that last band was a pot binge, Art of Burning Water is PCP. Off of UK's SuperFi Records, "this is PhD-beat infused urban heartcore of the worst kind." So Milo goes to college and these guys have to one-up him with a doctorate? Demented screeched vocals compliment noisy hardcore riffs that could be at home on a Botch record. It's not for everyone, but hell what is? Some of the tracks like "To Be Brave" include some sorrowful melody, but eruptions of chaos are never very far away. Oh, this one is a Name Your Price download as well. If you dig super aggro hardcore, mathcore, or post-hardcore/emoviolence, you should pick this up.

It is fair to say that any proposition from Art Of Burning Water is not for the faint hearted or anyone looking for melodic refuge. The trio’s sound though, and indeed new album Between Life And Nowhere, is something that a passion for ruthless noise with a penchant for violent infectiousness should and will eagerly embrace. The London based threesome of drummer Mike, guitarist/vocalist Grief, and bassist Kunal create hardcore sandstorms of sonic intolerance and rhythmic barbarity; twisted punk ravages which are as pestilential as any plague but built on grievous grooves and piercing hooks ridden by the rawest of throat ripping vocal squalls. It is a trespass which has fuelled a host of releases from the band since 2003 and provided one half of an impressive split 7” with Nervous Mothers earlier this year. True to say, the band’s sound may have alienated as many as it has befriended but those hooked on their creative hostility come with zeal many bands would pay for. A fury of ten songs over twenty minutes, Between Life And Nowhere has no times for niceties and flies at the senses from its first breath. A sonic lance and sample triggers Rambo Survival Techniques into life, the guitar an intrusive wave of sound backed by the thumping beats of Mike and Kunal’s grievous bassline. With Grief’s flesh wilting vocal spite soon infesting all, the track grumbles and rumbles like a bear with toothache, searing the senses whilst teasing them with an underlying catchiness which in turn lines the even more hellacious heart of Prime Example Of A Lonely Child. The track ebbs and flows in its intensity, never releasing ears from a sonic abuse but taunting the imagination with its primal instincts and another sampled incursion as spicy grooves and hungry riffs join in cantankerous intent. The excellent Barbara O’Reilly comes in on the final sonic twine of its predecessor; swiftly uncorking its caustic toxicity with a punishing persuasion before the twenty odd seconds of You simply erupts in primal cancer upon the listener which in turn is followed by the less nasty but just as intrusive adventure of To Be Brave. With swinging beats linking up with a growling brooding bassline, the song makes a calmer entrance, the guitar teasing and inviting before the full tempest of emotion and rage at the track’s heart ruptures into its virulent sound. Twisting from raucous hostility to predacious stalking across its irritable body, the song quickly hits the sweet spot. The acerbic melodic nature of Voivodian Solutions To Die Kreuzian Problems just as rapidly ignites ear though any kinder essences are lined with their own venom and soon involved with unbridled rancor as shown again within the infectiously woven drama of Alesha and the scathing rapacity of Prone To Bouts Of Hopelessness. The first of the two entices and brutalises with every harsh rhythm and heavy metal infused grooves, its punk ‘n’ roll almost welcoming but only to an awaiting destruction while its successor crawls over the senses with its poison on full show before savaging with full malevolent energy. A handful of seconds is all that Baby Without Your Love has and needs to share its distorted enmity, leaving the quarrelsome and increasingly violent punk ‘n’ roll of Kindness Is Strength to bring the album to a fine and feverish close. As suggested earlier, Between Life And Nowhere is not going to find a home in everyone’s ears, something it and the underrated Art Of Burning Water seem to revel in. Both offer punk/hardcore which leaves the kind of scars which sorts the men from the boys and both deserve a portion of your flesh and attention.

Des Cendres à La Cave
Toujours expéditif, toujours dégueulasse, toujours désespéré. Art Of Burning Water ne bouge pas d’un iota. Le même noir, le même gris (qui, à l’origine, devait être rose mais il faudra se procurer l’édition américaine pour en voir la couleur). La même basse à l’agonie, la même guitare toxique, la même batterie impitoyablement dévastée. Les mêmes couinements, les mêmes râles et les mêmes cris. La même violence qui inonde la moindre seconde du moindre morceau, ces derniers creusant le même amalgame punk/noise/metal/hardcore. À le dire comme ça, on pourrait croire qu’il s’agit toujours du même disque et ce n’est pas tout à fait ça. Certes, le trio continue à labourer inexorablement le même sillon mais en faisant cela, il creuse de plus en plus profond. Et entre deux LP, publie une quantité industrielle de splits qui lui permettent d’explorer toutes les facettes de sa musique, d’en nuancer tous les éléments et de créer, quelque part, une expertise dans la violence et le bruit. On passe de moins en moins du coq à l’âne et la diversité grandit désormais à l’intérieur des morceaux. L’atmosphère étouffée et monolithique, elle en revanche, perdure. Gravés sur les deux faces d’un vinyle tournant à la vitesse de 45 rpm, les morceaux se succèdent, administrent leurs crochets, leurs uppercuts et leurs coups de boule et de pied puis s’en vont sans se retourner. Ce qui agrippe ici, c’est la vraie colère qui inonde la moindre parcelle d’une musique qui ne se laissera jamais domestiquer et l’impression tenace que tout ce que l’on entend est joué avec la rage du désespoir. Between Life And Nowhere est ainsi profondément cathartique, autant pour Art Of Burning Water que pour nous et comme à chaque fois, on se demande s’ils continueront à brûler longtemps leur musique par les deux bouts. Pour l’instant, pas le moindre signe d’essoufflement, ni d’affadissement. Le mur vers lequel ils se précipitent semble encore loin. Pourvu qu’il le soit. Il faut qu’il le soit.