Wake in Fright

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Following their 2015 debut full-length, Perfect World, New York-based industrial/noise rock duo Uniform signed to Sacred Bones for the release of 2016's Ghosthouse EP, which set the stage for their second album, Wake in Fright. Released in January of 2017 as Donald Trump was being sworn into office as President of the United States of America, the album reflects the paranoia, confusion, and sheer horror rampant throughout the nation. Uniform take their already caustic sound to its extreme, sampling actual explosions and gunshots for the album's drum tracks. The songs all vary in tempo, but many of the tracks are absolutely relentless, recalling a more overdriven version of Ministry's most thrash-influenced material. "The Light at the End (Cause)" is particularly brutal at its beginning, pummeling at machine-gun velocity before breaking down into a pounding, nightmarish dirge accompanying vocalist Michael Berdan's tortured screaming. For much of the album, his voice has a rabid snarl recalling David Yow (the Jesus Lizard) or a severely electroshocked David Thomas (Pere Ubu), but even more intense and confrontational. Ben Greenberg's guitar plays more of a role here than on previous Uniform releases, and here it's absolutely scorching. On tracks such as "The Killing of America" and "Bootlicker," he plays hypercharged thrash metal riffs (and even solos), adding a significant Slayer influence to the band's Chrome-indebted sound. The album is never anything less than punishing, but "The Lost" eases away from the jackhammer drilling, with thudding dance beats and unhinged guitars that flail away at something resembling a melody, recalling a very blown-out, pissed-off version of early New Order. As with Uniform's first album, this one ends with a more experimental noise piece with spoken vocals, "The Light at the End (Effect)." Terrifying and violent, Wake in Fright is a perfectly logical response to the state of the world.

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