Godless Noise is a blur of nasty, antisocial, cranked-up, and VERY itchy speed from these Philly sociopaths. And really, the music of Infernal Stronghold is a pretty great fucking concept. Bands like Darkthrone and Dodsferd have been appropriating punk elements into their black metal brew for years now, but that sort of appropriation hasn’t been reversed nearly enough. It is here. Godless Noise is that rare thing of beauty, pitched between the clipped, impatient grindcore of longhaired punks like Napalm Death, Repulsion, and Nausea (and many other highlights of old Thrasher flexi-discs), and the storm-in-heaven rumble of black metal. The result is a constantly shifting, malleable hybrid that often feels like panning two different records back and forth on two stereos. And it works! Not only that, but Godless Noise has fuller production than on the more brittle, low-fi black metal records that are surely playing on each member’s turntable. You can make out the bass, for instance. This gives it the “black tsunami” feel that black metal always reaches towards, without the thuggish sonic posturing in which a lot of screamier punk wallows.
The instrumentation is a prime example of collaging aesthetics to create a new hybrid — grindcore breakdowns (you know what I’m talking about) and turn-on-a-dime blastbeats go down surprisingly well next to the wall-of-depression sound of shoegazey black metal. The vocals go from a Stygian shriek to a more mortal holler along the lines of Rudimentary Peni, and the lyrical concerns are less paeans to Satan or reveries about ancient forests than total punkoid misanthropy. Straight edgers are threatened (ouch!), as are most other conventions of polite society, and by the time you finish listening, the Baphomet on the inside almost seems like a redundant afterthought. Well under a half-hour, the album whizzes by — you’re completely exhausted, and there’s fucking dark red shit under your nails. Not bad.