20 Apr 2017

10,000 Russos - Distress Distress (album review)

10,000 Russos make nasty music. Horrible music; distorted and contorted drone psychedelia, giving a sound equivalent to the vision of Francis Bacon's triptychs. Never before has a trio been able to make such an evil sound, or create such jarring imagery with just guitars and a taste for blood. On their second album, the Portugese trio sound harder, darker, and more scathing than ever; ever wondered what 2017 sounds like? Well, Distress Distress is the answer.

The title track acts as a perfect sonic manifesto for the band; 3 minutes of introduction, in which a fuzzed out bass and a clanking metronomic drum beat lay down foundations for this chopping, slicing industrial guitar. When met with minimal vocals; a depraved mumble of "distress, distress, now", 10,000 Russos conjure images of the most savage kind of chaos. Distress sounds like everything around you being burnt down or torn apart whilst you lie powerless; 10,000 Russos leave no room for hope or light, and so wreak darkness on the world effortlessly.

The opener Germinal is less subtle; in fact, I'd go so far as to say that it was obnoxious; but still conveys the overarching theme of scorched Earth dystopia that this band nail so well across it's seven minute runtime. Indistinct vocals are lost in the chaos brought along by a ravaging post-punk bassline, and a hazy noisy guitar assault. Germinal segues into Tutilitarian, a song that gives the illusion of Russos offering some kind of pop sensibilities; the vocals come in before a minute's on the runtime, rallying drums make it almost danceable, and there's even like, a tambourine? Make no mistake though, it's still intensely dark sounding. If someone like King Gizz put this out you'd wonder what had gotten into them, testament to just how evil sounding this Portugese trio are.

The album's plagued the void throughout, so unrelenting in their darkness are 10,000 Russos that you never really get a breather from the ensuing dystopia; the motorik haze of Radio 1 (the name almost certainly a reference to Radio 4, the most Keith Levene-y track on PiL's Metal Box) is about as un-radio friendly as it gets, whilst Europa Kaput is the most confrontational moment on the record with it's brooding bassline and ever-increasing intensity; it's name of it along just about nails the current political situation.

It's as if 50 years after psychedelia washed over Britain like a warm bath, giving music a new technicolour palette and eventually leading to a 'Summer of Love', this band of psychedelic hellraisers are here to instil darkness on everyone that they touch. There's nothing wrong with this though; Russos' music is satisfying, confrontational, and mesmeric in a way that you can't quite comprehend; they're a brilliant band, and this is a brilliant album. Mind you, if ever a time in recent history called for a band to do this, now is certainly the time, isn't it?


Order this album HERE (it's not on Spotify or streaming services in full, but it's worth your money, and Fuzz Club are one of our favourite labels about)

(Words: Cal Cashin)