[Slab sleeve]"Revelations Chapter 1" (EP, 2012)

Iron Triangle

Best known for the People Pie single, and out of commission since the release of 1989’s Death´s Head Soup, Slab (now sadly minus the exclamation mark) have re-convened around the core song-writing nucleus of Stephen Dray and Paul Jarvis. This four track CD strips away the funkier elements of horns and female backing vocals (and to a large degree drums) that marked their previous sound, leaving the dark heart of throbbing bass and rasping almost guttural vocals to carry the weight of the songs. 

With titles like I Saw A Plane Fall From The Sky and Hallucinations From The Front (July 1st, 1917) this was never going to be a cheery record, and to be sure it isn’t. Swathes of distorted bass smother the former while a list of horrors is recited in a blank monotone. Were it not for the new age connotations associated with the term I would almost call it Ambient, but this is the ambience of the charnel house, where the stench of death hangs heavy in the air. 

Moon Returning describes the thought processes of a man remembering a war time atrocity, and knows that the visceral thrill of murder is something that he cannot exist without. “Something’s wrong in my head/ And I can’t go back again/ Village burning/ Moon returning/ I can’t go home anymore”  Only Tornado Alley has anything that could be described as a tune or a beat, and it’s a woozy, off-kilter tune at that, while the whispered lyrics of the stand out track Hallucinations From The Front (July 1st, 1917) could easily be a poem written by an actual combatant in the trenches. “I’m shaking on the fire step/ Drinking in this lull/ Rifle cocked and loaded/ Knuckle white as skull”. 

An angry, menacing record that will stay with you long after it’s over, I will leave you with the final lines of the CD “That night the dreams begin/ Of headless horses and bloated corpses/ Stinking gangrene and chocking chlorine/Now she’s there every night, with him”. 8/10

Nick Hydra (February 2013)