(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
Friedrich Nietzsche is attributed to the famous quote “If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you…“. Yes, indeed, Freddie, yes indeed but WHERE is it one must stand to take that self-summarizing, intently introspective viewing? Why, on the edge, or in this case, the ledge, of course.
Illinois’ Ledge are the eviscerating embodiment of what can come crawling forth from within that abyss too. Perhaps the most concerning fact of all is that Ledge appears to be nearly all the conjuration of one person, John Hoffman. John was the front man for the recently dissolved Weekend Nachos and here he handles all of the drums, bass, and vocals on Cold Hard Concrete, along with the visual presentation (artwork) as well. His WN band mate Andy Nelson does contribute some guitars and also handled recording/engineering/mixing this effort.
Like that previous act, or Spine, or even similar to his time in an early version of Harm’s Way, Ledge is all about the brutality of powerviolence. This is the second official offering from this entity and simply put, it is punishing in every sense of the word.
Comprised of eight songs, the music is a dense, almost lo-fi barrage of slow, injuring sonic savagery. Staggering beatdowns of post-hardcore sludge and feedback-flickering doom permeate various moments of this acidic, corrosive bath. Songs like “Through Your Skull“, “Fuck Yourself” or the magnificent “Last Shred Of Hope” feel like the be-all, end-all of anything remotely even hopeful or reassuring.
No, instead this is the audio apocalypse on heaping doses of steroids, where black metal and punk influences are right at home in the depraved dysfunction. There is no one-dimensional mediocrity undermining this album like so many other attempted shots at heavyweight blatancy suffer. Instead, you undergo a constantly transitioning variety of malevolent music that is meant to damage you.
For Fans Of Primitive Man, Godflesh and Harm’s Way.