Pound Land – Violence
Cruel Nature Records
Release Date: 29/09/23
Running Time: 36:26
Review by Dark Juan
Dark Juan is too hot. I am on my third set of invocation robes and it isn’t even 6pm yet, I’m sweating like I’m in court and now I have to go out again this evening because I need to collect some curtains. Be still my beating heart. Words cannot describe how much I don’t want to go out in the furnace that is currently West Yorkshire. I have no idea how ladies with more than usually ample bosoms survive in heat. Do they apply a liberal layer of talcum powder underneath the breast? Is the phrase “Ladies don’t sweat, they glow” accurate? Or, underneath the comfortable clothes, are there lakes of sweat collected under the front-loading boulder holder? I thought my inquisitive mind wanted to know, but it turns out that I don’t, because sweating is uncomfortable and smelly and generally unattractive, regardless of your sex. Dark Juan doesn’t like being sweaty, especially at work because the showers are in fairly constant use and Dark Juan goes to bed at the earliest possible opportunity. Roll on a mild autumn so then I can be comfortable in my new Magnus Archives hoodie…
Today’s offering upon the crudely welded and distinctly rusted and beat up Platter Of Splatter™ is another record from the increasingly impressive Cruel Nature Records, and it is Pound Land’s “Violence”. Pound Land are a very British Industrial band. Regional accents are proudly displayed, and Nick Harris and Adam Stone offer us a (barely) musical critique of corporate hegemony, business culture, mainstream media influence, automation, class polarisation and economic austerity. All of these issues are huge in the UK. Even the band’s name is a play on a famous UK chain of discount shops whose main purpose appears to be a source of cheap batteries for toys and a place where shoplifters and the poor homeless people congregate. The UK is rapidly becoming a dystopia with ill-favoured people with soundbite attention spans gawping at the idiot’s lantern or their smartphone while an entire planet of wonders revolves around them, ignored because they are busy spending the last of their money on voting for z-list celebrities on “game” shows. See ‘Media Amnesia’ for a rather more erudite take on these matters.
Dark Juan is fully plugged into the nasty, undesirable, pollution-stained world of Pound Land. ‘Low Health’ is a grinding, deeply unpleasant sojourn through the thoughts of a protagonist ruminating about “The leathery wings of fallen angels fleeing responsibility…” among other things. It is a musical version of Hell, the Changed world of The Magnus Archives where Fears rule humanity and there is only suffering, pain, sorrow and endless torture – not like physical torture like, for example, peine forte a dure – but that slow, endless loss of control over your own destiny that you know is happening, but you are utterly powerless to stop it. That relentless reduction of freedom, the ever-increasing cost of merely existing, the longing for the peace of the grave because then there will no longer be some cunt called Nigel demanding you complete the spreadsheet he gave you ten minutes before knocking off time, and threatening you with punishment, even though you came in early this morning into your grey, miserable office filled with equally grey, miserable people whose highlights in life is their tawdry sojourn to Malaga or Torremelinos for a week of solid drinking, occasional visits to the beach where they lie, unresponsive and sausage-like, baking in a sun that has only got hotter because of the shocking levels of pollution, deeply unsatisfactory sex with unattractive people from Worksop and steak and chips at an establishment run by Dave and Susan who moved from Middlesbrough 20 years ago and still don’t speak fucking Spanish and you have to get home to your kids on time because tonight it’s Scouts for one and Drama Club for the other. The only hope you have is when it’s all over for today, all the running around and dealing with what passes for life, you can drown your sorrows in a bottle of unspectacular, overpriced wine and spend an hour or two just cabbaged on the sofa staring blankly at a flickering screen. The absolute, dystopian horror…
Pound Land make me angry. My face is contorted with a fury that very few bands manage to engender in Dark Juan. My mouth is twisted and dry and my muscles tense and my mind is bubbling over with black vitriol and murderous rage at the sheer unfairness of everything. Their unusual, rabid, psychotic Industrial music makes me want to weld chainsaws to the sides of the Schwerer Gothikpanzer (being a 2009 VW Passat) and tear around city centres carving these sheep-like motherfuckers up. Opening track ‘Programmed’ is particularly savage, punk-like, atavistic vocals shouted over some kind of horribly bastardised 90s Alt-Metal/ Industrial sound, complete with a saxophone that has changed from a deeply seductive instrument into a massively unsettling squealing weapon that sets teeth on edge. The language in the lyrics is extremely potent, at least to me, a scathing diatribe that accurately describes the seething horror of the worm-like masses in Britain’s decaying city and town centres – a squirming, segmented, seedy underbelly of street violence and teenagers murdering teenagers because they were “disrespected”, and of the UK’s youth seemly only interested in importing the worst tenets of the culture of the youth of the USA, with gangs and blades. ‘Media Amnesia’ perfectly sums this up.
The production on this album is rather cleverer than it sounds. Vocals operate on different levels in the mix, sometimes blaring hatred an inch from the face of the listener and sometimes buried away in the mix where they can be barely heard. It is studiedly coarse and difficult to listen to. Pound Land do not release music to drink beer to on a sunny Sunday. They are the real rage against the machine – an uncompromising, uncomfortably harsh grind that speaks hidden and unfortunate truths over a machine-like grinding, a smoke belching, diesel-fuelled mill engine powering a colossal, faceless, brutalist concrete building that crushes dreams and excitement and individuality and the beauty of youth and produces pasty, grey-faced, fundamentally identical (apart from the choice of shit tattoo and equally shit partner) quasi-automatons with all the fight and joy ground out of them with a public address system constantly bombarding them with slogan after slogan about how fucking great their lives are… even as their last vestiges of humanity are being excised by the blades of constant struggle and a shockingly corrupt Government vastly overreaching its powers. What a ‘Fucking Joke’ indeed.
‘New Labour’ is a perfect example of this – a deeply ironic song about a drug dealer (although it is never specifically implied) who describes what he does, in a particularly snotty Mancunian accent, as buying, selling and negotiating – the only difference between him in his £500 tracksuit and a hedge fund manager in his Savile Row suit is what they are trying to shift, except the illegality of one is punished severely but the suited cunt who plays with the millions of pounds of other people’s money and loses it is let off scot-free because that is the nature of free-market capitalism, when in reality he should never see the light of day ever again because he is arguably the greater criminal.
I am going to have to wind up this review soon because Pound Land’s music resonates with Dark Juan rather too much and I am now contemplating becoming the new Guy Fawkes and taking the country over personally, except I won’t fuck it up like he did.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is conflicted on how to score this record. On one hand, it is a tremendously specialized and difficult listen, but on the other hand, everybody needs to hear the message Pound Land are screaming into the black, uncaring ether. They have found a convert and a listener in Dark Juan, though – their peculiar combination of Industrial, Punk, Grind, social conscience, absurdity and poetry and blood is absolutely what makes Dark Juan tick – it has to be 10/10 for a massively challenging record that will be criminally ignored by all except a select few who get it. And that is a fucking crying shame.
02. The Last Suffer
03. New Labour
04. Six Inch
05. Fucking Joke
06. Media Amnesia
07. Low Health
08. Violence Part 2
Nick – Instruments
Adam – Vocals, lyrics
Rich – Bass
Jo – Sax
Steve – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.