Uniform – Shame: Album Review

Uniform, New York noise merchants, return with their fourth full length LP; Shame.

Released: 11th September 2020

Label: Sacred Bones Records

Formats: CD / LP / Digital

In short, Uniform are a force of nature. Their music is visceral and punishing, and they take no prisoners in their pursuit of sonic battery.

Shame is Uniform’s fourth long player, and it feels like they have really pushed things up a notch. With the addition of a third band member in Mike Sharp on drums, their is an added ferocity and brawn to an already monolithic sound.

Delco opens the album with a quick pounding of the drum before Michael Berdan launches the assault with a Keith Flint like snarl. ‘You are what you’ve done…you are what’s been done to you,’ shouts Berdan as the track builds over dense guitars and pummelling drums.

Mike Sharp’s drumming throughout the album is spectacular. The shift between slow paced doomy stylings, black metal blasts, d-beat furiosity and more straight up thrash motifs are wonderfully exhibited throughout.

Dispatches From The Gutter sees the aforementioned thrash stylings as Berdan again ratches up the emotion with his distorted and impassioned vocals.

Deeply personal lyrical content seems to adorn many of the pieces on Shame. Life In Remission speaks for itself in it’s content but the music is really something else. Whilst having a personal edge, many of them are inspired by films and literature. “I took inspiration from a few stories of alcoholic implosion, namely Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and John O’Brien’s Leaving Las Vegas. The line That’s why I drink. That’s why I weep appears in homage to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone episode Night of the Meek,” explains Michael Berdan. (You can read more about the lyrical content in this essay).

The wall of noise that greets the listener in Life In Remission is pummelling. However the ending maelstrom of the song really is an audio highlight. The subtle use of electronics that swirl around the ending is reminiscent of the scene in Casino where Joe Pesci has a guy’s head in a vice. You just can’t escape with the intensity just slowly closes in on you.

There is an aura of Black Celebration era Depeche Mode on the title track in it’s programmed intro beat before the live drums gradually grab the song. ‘My last confession, my greatest sin,’ exults Berdan in a Tom G Warrior style as the layers of the song coalesce.

Ben Greenberg (guitars) is responsible for a lot of the mixing and producing, along with the masterful Randall Dunn. His guitar work is spectacular throughout. There are crunching bass lines and guitar stylings that veer from Crowbar style sludge to Darkthrone inspired black metal with some Scandinavian death metal thrown in for good measure.

I Am The Cancer is the closing track on the album. It clocks in at near eight minutes and serves as an epic ending to an epic album. The reflective and nihilistic nature of the album comes full circle with the repetition of the phrase ‘God will not love you forever,’ before one final, uncomfortable building of noise.

As the album ends, you’ll breath out. You’ll need to get some more oxygen going around your body as Shame is suffocating, claustrophobic, smothering and stifling. It should come as no surprise that Uniform have put together such a monumental album. Their splits with The Body were spectacular, the band members individual projects are plentiful and Uniform are prolifically genial.

Give yourself to Shame, and it will continually give to you.

Listen to, and watch the stunning video, to Life In Remission below. You can also read our in depth chat with Ben from Uniform here.

Uniform: Website / Bandcamp / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

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