Record Routine: Transfixiation is not quite enjoyable but an experience

A grungy journey through dizzying guitar licks and unapologetic percussion, A Place to Bury Strangers’ new LP follows in the footsteps of Nirvana and Neutral Milk Hotel. Lo-fi production and mesmerizing refrains hark back to the garage rock of the ‘90s, while the heavy hitting metal interludes pay tribute to underground grunge of the 2000s.

Transfixiation, beginning with “Supermaster” and “Straight,” proves misleading at times, as the album only gets stranger and more disorienting after the first two tracks. The opening track is the most mainstream cut off of the album, with a low, driving bass line and the most consistently understandable lyrics on the album. “Straight” then begins to lead the listener into the belly of the beast that is Transfixiation, with hints at the distorted, crazed guitar that graces the remainder of the album.

“What We Don’t See” is a sonic tribute to Youth Lagoon, as the somehow-poppy chaos provides a sense of positivity through ‘80s synths and a guitar that sounds like it’s being shoved into a tree-chipper machine. The following song, “Deeper,” provides the opposite emotion; a droning guitar, ceaseless crashing of drums and lyrics that are reminiscent of a zombie hoard create a certain discomfort that provokes one to sleep with the lights on.

As A Place to Bury Strangers starts to pull listeners out of the black abyss towards the end of the journey, they grace the listener with one last sanctuary in “Now It’s Over.” This eighth track of eleven grants hope and relaxation after spending the last few songs lurking through the depths of Hell.

But this hope does not last long. With the final ten minutes of Transfixiation, A Place to Bury Strangers drags their sound deeper than imaginable. To the point of bursting speakers with the sheer power of the guitar licks of the Devil himself, screaming through limits typically left untouched by sane musicians. The lo-fi, eardrum bursting finish to this album, if not something you enjoy, is at least something to experience.

Grade: C+

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