20 February 2016

[P.U.T.] - Like Animals (Reissue)

A little surprised I have not heard of [P.U.T.] before they get in touch, the cover looks familiar and looking at the band's influences (Godflesh, Scorn, Killing Joke) I would have put them on for a band that would have appeal to our reviewer Chris Jermyn in a heartbeat.  But it has fallen to me to review this band, so let us have a brief update of their back story - the band formed in 1989 and consist of the Beyet brothers Lionel, Nicolas and Loic.  This is their fifth album which was actually originally released in 2012 (this reissue was released last year), they have also released 8 maxim EP's and have created a lot of strange madness and sound by the looks of things.  Now, industrial sludge is a strange genre at the best of times and not one that I delve into as much as I would love to say I was a big fan of this genre, it is something that I have not been able to enjoy as much as I should.  However, all things new it is time to find out if [P.U.T.] change that opinion....

“In The Lake” starts with little fanfare and you are dropped straight into a Godflesh inspired number with distorted guitars, shrieks of evil, wails of despair and an evil intent that has been give the form of a song.  There is a menacing streak that runs through this song, it is (by design) a song that is meant to challenge and be confrontational and aggressive.  However, it does not have an instant spark for me, it seems to keep its influences on its sleeve a little too much and whilst it is a decent song it does not become more with repeated listens.  “Zoo” is a nine-minute song that starts with a slow funeral paced tone, growling vocals, more oppressive guitar work and it goes on like this for the first section of the song; around the three-minute mark, the guitars start to become more aggressive and the speed picks up slightly (not too much though) and it feels that the focus has kicked in.  The song does have further peaks and troughs, it has the sounds of air sirens gong on throughout the ending and the ending is a long time coming to be honest; it has a similar vibe to the long endings of the third Lord of the Rings film by Peter Jackson, it does not end when the beat was right.  It is a long song which will not be for the weaker willed as it takes a lot of time to understand what is going on here, it is another song that feels as if it is recreating a style rather than pioneering a movement and whilst this is fine, it felt as if I knew what was going to come before I had even reached the end of the song. “Exuvia” is the third number, this song has a deeper industrial vibe going on in the song with a chunky riff, various noises and feedback mixed into the tune and an aggressive drum machine beat that drives you along without care or warning.  It is a strong tune which keeps it simple and does not go outside of its previously set comfort zone, but it does peak your interest with a memorable tune that I have been finding hard to shift.  It still feels like a tribute, but a well-produced one.  “There’s A Mammoth in This Room” goes for the slow and strange number, beginning with a sound akin to alarms going off in a distant room with the guitar riffing happening every now and then.  Once more it is the spaces in the music that make the skin on your neck crawl on this number, it is mostly about as fast as an approaching 1970’s zombie horde, but it does have a machine gun section in the middle that feels as if you are looping as the bullets go firing, it has the sound of an elephant (so a mammoth) every now and it is all very aggressive.  Yet it is another number I have heard before by other bands, however I will admit even if it is not the most original song I have heard this week (or year) it does bring a dry smile to my face and it does have a hypnotic drone that drills itself into you thought process.

“It” is a different song, well it starts off with a female scream – I am talking Hammer Horror-esque/splatter/gore level of screaming, none of your fake ass American remake of cult Japanese slasher movies on this song.  As the song goes along, it swirls along with a riff that makes an engaging impact on the album.  It is a strong, powerful number in a horror/industrial way that drags you along as if you have no choice but to submit to its will…. but the screams could have been mixed up a little, it is even more intense when you listen to it on repeat.  The title track “Like Animals” is next which takes a similar tone to “It”, it pivots on one main riff that loops around the listener and feels like it is getting closer and closer with each decreasing loop, all the while the drum machine and growing drags the song, pushes it forwards with a slow determination that is one of the strongest facets of this unit.  The song is a good number, but it is still another song that you can place all the inspirations on a map.  “Broke A Line” is next and the pattern remains the same, aggression, loop, aggression and repeat – the sound is one that is to be appreciated, maybe even admired, however it is not something that is easy on the ears and will be for a very small (but ultimately dedicated) audience. “It Ain’t Gonna Be Fun” keeps the repetitive noise going here, but some crazy guitar work going on as well.  You have the lynchpin of the main riff and drum machine, creating a centre point for the listener to focus on, whilst the brothers seeming appear to go out on a strange note/dimension shifting pattern which they lay onto the song; it is one of those songs that will make people either run in terror away from it or it will make people drives others insane by playing it forever.  Personally, I am still making up my mind on it as I write this.  I have had experiences of both emotions on this, but it has been depending on the mood when I have been listening to it.  However, it has always gotten a reaction which is a good state of affairs in my book.

 Now we start to look at the remix section of the album; firstly, we have “Rapture of The Deep "In The Lake"” which is listed as being “remaked” by Azuki, which is the best description of this song if we are being honest here.  It is somewhere between abstract art piece, hippy trance, world drum music and flat-out crazy.  But it is a wonderful re-interpretation of the original and it takes it in another direction which makes the song something else.  The penultimate song on the album is “Broke A Line - Remix by Garlic.wav” and this version of the song is not too sure about what it wants to be.  It is part trip hop, part minimalist, part abstract art house project and not serving as a good example of any of them.  It is listenable, but it does not enhance or add to the source material, so it is a thumbs down on this number for me.   Ending the album is the remix of “Zoo” called “Zoo Dub Mix by NE555”, which sadly follows the same pattern of the remix of “Broke A Line”.  It does not add or change much from the original song, it just adds a different drum beat and makes it sound as if you are hearing the song through a fog.  Sure, you have the odd new piece of electronic noise appear and it does not appear too bad, but remix should always either give a new perspective on a song or add another inspiring layer; this sadly does neither for me and ends the album on a strange note.

I have been going backwards and forwards on this album a lot over the last few days, it has been the only thing I have been listening to and I have been trying to get a firmer grip on the album.  It is a decent record, which has a few decent riffs on some of the tracks.  However, it wears keeps the inspiration of the songs a little too obvious and whilst it has a few moments of genius, it does not really connect with me in a way its influences have done in the past.  Also, apart from the remake of “In The Lake”, the remixes fail to add anything to the album as a whole and give it a weak ending.  For a band who have been around since 1998, they have made a nice scene for themselves and I hope that they keep on going and creating new noise – hell, the world needs bands that forge their own path and defying the usual terms of existence. It is by no means a bad record and it was really close to be a good album as the band has a sort of hypnotic sludge thing going on which will make a lot of people excited, but sadly for me the album is merely a decent one that will hopefully lead onto something else.

6.5 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there.

Top track – Like Animals

You can visit the [P.U.T.] Bandcamp page here and purchase the album (as well as other recordings) from [P.U.T.] directly

You can visit the [P.U.T.] Facebook page here

Like Animals is not available on streaming sites, but the album is available on Bandcamp.

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