No More Pain EP
I came to the enigmatic, haunted anarcho-punks Rudimentary Peni somewhat late in the game, having missed their more “classic” fare on Crass/Corpus Christi Records. The first I heard was the haunted/autistic/idiot savant/spook-eyed heresy of Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric, featuring a stark, scratchy pen and ink drawing of a skeletal dandy on a death’s head steed rendered in a style somewhere between Edward Gorey and Charles Addams; the music, a pained punki-sludge thrashing around in which clipped, anti-Catholic verses were repeated over and over in endless variations, as if trying to unlock some sort of riddle contained in the phonetic sounds. It was thrilling and hair-raising, reminding me of the sheer wrongheaded joy that I felt when I first heard the Slits.
Rudimentary Peni have lived the punk/Crowleyan credo of “no future/do as thou wilt” to the very hilt, whether it’s their slim discography — this is their first album since 2004’s Archaic and they only have four LPS and two EPs to their name in a 27-year history — or the mysterious legend that has grown around them from their low profile. They hardly give interviews or play live, there are no artifacts to interpret besides an increasingly alien series of albums, disturbingly intricate artwork from Nikc Blinko that forms the only visual face for the band, lyrics that are often uncomfortably personal to the point of incomprehension and dark whisperings about the state of frontman Blinko’s mental health. Check out this album’s centerpiece poster image — in lieu of lyrics or liner notes — of a demonic figure that looks like a cross between Joe Kubert’s Shadow Thief and a woodcut of the devil, striding across a scratchy landscape of endless, hollow-eyed faces.
This 10-song EP, with nine tracks weighing in right at 2 minutes each, is an album of hypnotic, mantric fragments reminiscent of Wire and Suicide. The sound that Rudimentary Peni create for No More Pain is an amazingly compressed metallo-punk chug, each song centered around a single dirty stripped-bare riff – with elements of Oi, Discharge-style anarcho-punk, Big Black and the Damned seeping through the tight cracks — abetted by a martial rhythm section, over which Blinko sneers and shrieks like some hybrid of Lemmy, Johnny Lydon and Jimmy Pursey. Each song feels like a fragment, a single preserved thought, an incantation, rather than a full-on rock song. It’s almost too focused on one idea per song. But what an idea! And when the final track is a four-minute grungy, messy thrash through what is claimed to be “Pachabel’s Canon (in D)”… Well, let’s hear it for ideas and fractured muses and singular dedication to your own forms of expression, especially in the more communal punk scene, which tends to frown on stepping to far out of line. “I” think it’s fucking great. Will der kidz feel the same way?
Southern Records: www.southern.com