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Album Review

Horrid Red – "Radiant Life" – [Soft Abuse]

Thurston Hunger   11/25/2020   12-inch, A Library

Fourth full length from this band with Bay Area roots and a distinctly Teutonic tincture. Bunker Wolf sings in his native German tongue (while titling the songs in English) his voice is perhaps the most rough, brazen instrument on the record. Edmund Xavier (Glenn Donaldson) along with
Clay Ruby veer far from their Jeweled Antler daze and Burial Hex nights respectively. The drum machines here are happy little robots, not hammering industrial death magnets. No trace of sonic cthonics, or hazey
texture-based Blithe drone drifters. These songs have pep. And polish, while they would fit in with ein track from Cassettencombinant, they eschew the raw for refined. The German words I cannot decipher, I will say their songs “Still Suffering” and “Last Flower of Youth” both feel really happy to me. Hell “End of the Age” even has digital handclaps. Maybe Wolf is singing poems from Rilke, somehow I don’t think so? The title track has a nice slinky vibe to it (cool clinking percussion and a bass line that prowls).
The song before it “Pity The Sun” rang a doppelganger bell to “Under the Milky Way.” That might just be me. It also kinda echoes “Nothing in My Heart” from Horrid Red’s debut. That album had a more punk bent (or see the older Teenage Panzerkorps with Bunker Wolf aand Edmund/Glenn), this is solidly pop, but both have the unmistakable bite of Wolf’s vocals.
BTW: This one’s on the stellar Soft Abuse label, just saying a FreakWeek focus on that label would be mighty tasty.

-Thurston Hunger

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