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Plague Soundscapes

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Album Review

Plague Soundscapes is the Locust's first release for Anti, the Epitaph offshoot that includes among its intellectually superior ranks Tom Waits, Eddie Izzard, and Buju Banton. Have these respected dinner guests encouraged the Locust to serve up something less severe for dinner? Of course not. Plague Soundscapes is a churning miasma of sonic goo, a grindcore steam shovel with an insatiable appetite for shock and awe. Twenty-six-second bursts of tinfoil-biting noise molt into cohesive songs. Cheeky titles like "The Half-Eaten Sausage Would Like to See You in His Office" and "Priest With the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Get Out of My Bed" disguise tightly wound arrangements that include insanely intricate drumming, assaulting keyboard squiggles, fantastic tag-team screams, and reams of razor-wire guitar. It only takes 21 minutes for this noise blanket to fully cocoon the listener, but a few more to really figure out what's going on inside. Plague Soundscapes never takes its knee off your chest, which will deter many a potential fan. There are no ballads here, no forays into proto-disco or industrial beatmaking. The closest it comes to a smoke break is the random electro noise loop ending "Anything Jesus Does I Can Do Better." Instead of sussing out the road to accessibility — and maligning its artfully crafted weird science project along the way — the Locust dredges the sluiceway between grind and noise, bringing brutal social comment to the surface and putting a big bitch slap on tradition-minded metal. It's definitely not for everyone; in fact, it's for very few. Nevertheless, it's important for bands like the Locust to exist. Brain-twisting records like Plague Soundscapes keep all those bands making an easy buck playing pap up at night, shaking in their nightshirts because they hear a sick buzz in the nighttime. Out there in the darkness, the Locust are doing it for the love. They have to be. Why else would a band name its pointed political protest rant "Psst! Is That a Halfie In Your Pants?"?


Formed: 1995 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Innovative, controversial, and frighteningly loud, the Southern California rock band the Locust has been called the future of hardcore punk by more than a few people. Critics and underground hardcore fans alike have argued for and against the band, citing in their debates the destructive tendencies of the Locust's intensely loyal fan base, insane stage antics, seemingly nonsensical lyrics, and questionable taste in merchandise. Through it all, the Locust has maintained a confident distance, preferring...
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Plague Soundscapes, The Locust
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