by Thomas Bedward February 03, 2020
An artist so prolific that he’s lost track of what order his albums were released in, Imbred has been part of Australia’s underground scene for longer than most. A rough-cut, DIY artist with a penchant for heavy grunge anthems, he’s become a cult figure on Soundcloud, Reddit, and beyond. Now, with the release of his eighth album, Imbred is closing in on an impressive milestone, 100,000 total streams.
Titled ‘Ashes’, the new album is a re-recorded collection of seven tracks drawn straight from the stark reality of Imbred’s life, influenced by depression, drugs, apathy, and self-doubt. Spontaneous, visceral, and fleeting, the album barely makes it passed fifteen minutes in length, charging headfirst into Imbred’s hedonistic grunge aesthetic with his trademark sense of passion.
Opening number ‘Shrooms’ falls seamlessly into the DIY spirit of Imbred’s music, echoing the caustic sounds of post-rock legends gone-by with a gritty, self-perpetuating sound. In atypical form, Imbred’s vocals ring with a sincerity and a drifting sense of harmony, creating a palatable modern grunge sound that actively builds on her previous work.
After ‘Shrooms’, an odd thing happens within the album and everything that follows is cloaked in a constant, high-pitch whine. It’s a screaming distraction that overshadows everything, drilling through your sense with a fierce and unflinching power. It’s hard to say what lies beneath the sonic howl, and no matter how hard you try, the final six tracks of ‘Ashes’ all arrive as only fleeting glimpses of what they could, or should be,
While shades of Imbred’s signature punk-esque sound is retained, the focus is constantly stolen by that sharp unrelenting tone, driving a wedge between the listener and the experience. Whether a strange artistic choice or an unfortunate accident during recording, it’s impossible to overcome, making what could be Imbred’s strongest album his most disorientating.
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