Cheating on suicide. Austin gash addicts Street Sects pass for living on monumental debut End Position available now via The Flenser. The duo consisting of vocalist Leo Ashline and multi-instrumentalist Shaun Ringsmuth engage in psychological warfare with a well-calibrated arsenal of ruined dreams, intended to deafen and distort your perception beyond recognition. Play loud or not at all. The impact will soon have you floored, seeing ten shades of red with a halo of laughing birds circling overhead.
It’s too early for this shit. Try crashing your car into a brick wall on the way to work in the morning. End Position masterfully communicates the continuous cadence of everyday cacophony. Obscuring the [digital] detritus of words and sound that linger so heavily on a damaged, aging laptop into intricately twisted compositions, loaded with substance, trigger-happy and with no remorse. Ringsmuth’s back catalogue of sampled material to cherry pick from – what one would imagine as both overwhelming and crawling with options – takes on a life force of its own, operating much like a virus yet malfunctioning in favor of the opposition.
In pursuit of a total and excessive aesthetic, Ashline compliments the chaos by permeating through the mangled framework, cutting edge with confidence and leaving you, the unfortunate listener, blasted out of your skin. Death as an option is a comforting idea, and what seems to be the leitmotif of the album. Powerfully confrontational, the vocals are intimate and vehement, culling from the past’s clutter, compounding every last breath and syllable into the brutish fragments of a misanthropic catharsis. There is no interest in redemption however, in fact, just the opposite.
No holds barred. Their live performance is unlike any other. It is recommended you experience Street Sects in a filthy, rat-infested Midwestern basement the size of a storage unit at the height of summer, where the environment is claustrophobically hostile. Enjoy the perks of overstimulation in a sensory deprivation tank. Maneuvering through curtains of smoke, Ashline unexpectedly provokes the audience into submission, physically assaulting those within his vicinity while simultaneously lubricating the violence to follow. Amaurotic. Your sense of time and space become temporarily paralyzed. Strobe white florescent light and black din occupy the festering void. Mutating the movement of the room in a superficial manner that mirrors the events that take place in the House of Leaves, pummeling your already numb skull into a pulp.
Anxious to burst and give bloom to a new kind of venom; this is maximalism taken to the next level. Surgically sound with the same precision that comes from editing film, where each frame is taken into consideration, every second is a carefully calculated catastrophic moment. Sculpting noise and miscellaneous electronic milieu into sophistically structured songs that challenge convention and turn the broken clocks forward into another dimension. If you thought Stranger Things was spooky, or whatever, just imagine what your next day off lying around in bed would be like if Street Sects were to score the next overnight hype Netflix-original (incidentally, the group who was behind that soundtrack, S U R V I V E, are also from Austin). That’s the show we should be watching. That’s the story we need.
I can’t accurately attach a label to what I’m hearing or coerce myself into stringing some arbitrary words together for the sake of a definition, and I don’t want to either. This transcends a lot of that. In the regularly rotating arena of heavy music, where metal tends to dominate more often than not, Street Sects stand out as being uniquely adversarial and should not to be overlooked. I don’t want to sugarcoat anything either, but having been surrounded for so long by the same four grey walls, End Position emerges at an appropriate time more than ever as a much needed silver lining to the many shapes of punk that never came.