AMN Reviews: The Noise Eating Monsters – Voracious (2020; Brazen Head)

Free punk? Is that a thing? Maybe it should be. It is a contradiction in terms after a fashion, with the three-chord philosophy of the former conflicting with the on-the-fly, open-endedness of the latter. But the Noise Eating Monsters could be viewed as employing a combination or amalgam of these polar opposite styles.

Alex Ward (guitar), Alex Thomas (drums), and Tim Hill (sax) collaborate on this curiously abrasive mix. Ward splits his time between jangly chording, speed riffing, and a few hurried solos, while Hill solos atop the others in an angular and disjoint fashion. Thomas is the most rhythmic of the three, providing a powerful yet shifting set of beats.

This general approach prevails for only so long before evolves into chaotic blowouts. Still, the trio opens things up from time to time with atmospheric improv featuring more than a few twisted notes. A standout track is Sixes and Sevens, with Ward and Thomas setting down a staggered and tension-filled set of rhythms over which Hill provides punctuated and discordant themes. Structurally, the unusually timing of the piece makes it seem to be falling apart and coming together simultaneously.

Voracious is a solid and compelling effort.  If a more aggressive version of Curlew or Rattlemouth sounds like your cup of tea, don’t hesitate.