Review: Noxagt – Brutage

Noxagt - BrutageThere’s nowhere for Noxagt to go. This is not repetition as a foundation for anywhere higher, but as a termination point; a place of stagnancy where the band can gravely run the counter down, beating their heads against a wall of cymbal and fractured concrete. Snare drums crack too early or too late, constantly jamming spanners in Noxagt’s wheels to prevent momentum and acceleration. Guitars moan wordlessly, baring a more prominent resemblance to motorised appliances (hedge strimmers, hair dryers) than anything musical or emotionally affiliated. They are rhythmic, functional and inescapably bleak.

Track titles speak of ominous pre-emption without consequence, lingering in a state of unease and forewarning. “You were followed by a man from the station to your house.” “Someone calls you every night but says nothing. You can’t sleep.” I feel as though I’m in a state of irreparable illness, pummelled unevenly by Noxagt’s empty toneless phrases. Feedback drapes itself over a beat that staggers in circles – accidently beautiful at points, splicing me with dull dagger incisions at others – while a riff twists and coughs like a body in fit, teased by the shadow of death and yet never claimed by it. Even when the closing track peels back the impact and distortion, Noxagt’s organs are revealed to be lurching in half-melody, blackened by amplifier spill and barely operational. Brutage is a mouth dangling open, or eyes observing the death within themselves in a mirror, or the toll of a bell that never decays.