Abrasive, humorless, and nearly horrific, Absence is black-power metal, though the New Jersey-based trio that made it can be properly filed in the hip-hop racks. Antarctic beauty surfaces fleetingly, but the album is most characterized by sheets of whooshing noise that sound something like My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields playing a poorly maintained industrial floor sweeper. Over the din, MC Dälek "swallows razor blades to keep [his] vocal chords sharpened" (from "Distorted Prose") and rhymes about racist war pigs with a timbre and ideology similar to largely forgotten rapper Paris.
Like a cash-strapped action movie that keeps using the same explosion shot, Absence can be tedious, but it begins and ends with arresting force. It will either amplify or mute your anxiety, possibly both. This is not dystopian music, because the world it envisions is this world, as perceived by the permanent underclass and prisoners on whose behalf it shouts at the devil.
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