Gnod’s last album was full of righteous indignation, sparked by the toxic fumes of Brexit and Trump, it was a searing manifesto of rebellion that called for bucking the system, underpinned with the kind of noise hurricane that rightly accompanies such sentiments. Their follow-up remains, at least tonally, in line with the pounding rock typhoon they unleased on that album, dipping toes slightly into the caustic post-punk and harsh noise masks they’ve donned before but welling up the same level of intensity that spiked the blood pressure last time ‘round. On Chapel Perilous though, they ditch a great deal of the straight-forward, sonic turpentine execution that marked Just Say No… ‘s beating heart.
This time the band aren’t operating as the first line dissenters, they’re leaning into the chaos that’s become the daily bread. Their intensity and anger is shot through a disorienting prism, bouncing the blindingly heavy hues across an endless web of mirrors via gummy dub touches, clattering repetitious beats and acid bath guitars. There’s still a gnashed tooth, clenched fisted attack but on Chapel Perilous Gnod act as a conduit for the fears that are arising around us seemingly by the moment. The band is plugged straight to the alarmingly quick descent into dystopian ideals that have come one after another these days and they’re just as adrift, still angry but now swinging wildly rather than acting as a battering ram set to topple the gates.
This can be felt most prominently in the gale force opener “Donovan’s Daughters,” a fifteen-minute ripper that builds to cathartic screams of “I don’t know where this is going.” The track shines an x-ray on every panic attack moment had while scrolling through the day, building to boil until the tension can’t hold. Dread’s been a good friend to Gnod over the years but they’ve rarely wielded it as well as they have here. Sandwiched between that opener and the similarly riled “Uncle Frank Says Turn It Down,” the band trades in itchy instrumentals that claw at the base of the skull and the respirator drones of “A Body”. If Just Say No… was a call to arms, this album is a distress call bouncing off the beacons with little hope that anyone’s going to answer.
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