Written by: The Administrator
Without fail, I get excited when a project bearing the Demo I moniker hits the ol' inbox. There is something so intrinsically intoxicating about the prospect of band's first foray, something utterly salivatory about the promise of raw potential. Add a "blackened crust" descriptor and you know I'm slamming in the earbuds with great haste.
While Compress' first outing starts on a somber tone, opener "A Setting Sun" moves towards some significantly more furious environs. There's a jarring sense of movement that Compress bring to the table across these three tracks--and I mean this, of course, in the most complimentary sense of the term.
This kineticism is particularly apparent when the guitar leaves behind the atmosphere and commits to the lurch. "Rotting Foundation" displays this transition prominently in the first minute or so, moving from a more distance blackened aesthetic into a series of crusty and stomping-ly invigorating riffs. It's a mix of styles that comes across as fairly fluid, and results in a consistent engagement. There are many moments throughout that serve to capture and subsequently fixate my attention, which could be described as prone-to-wander at best. As a prime example, I enjoy the more frenetic momentum on second track "Limitless Doubt Within Limited Options"--it provides a sense of urgency that contrasts very nicely with the song's more languid bridge, as well as its noisy outro.
While this certainly not the most lo-fi demo out there–not by a long shot, in fact–your enjoyment of Compress' current output will be determined in part by your affinity for the thin sound intrinsic to a demo recording. While managing to hit with significant impact, there's not a ton of weight or bombast bolstering the instrumentation and vocals. While I personally enjoy that raw 'n' rough quality, fans of polished production won't find it here. But! Therein lurks the charm and, one might argue, the heart of the emotive weight.
All told, this succeeds quite well within its role as a demo. Despite a brief runtime, this Western Mass. crew demonstrates a nice range, and I'm primed and ready to see where Compress take these sights and sounds in future recordings. They are sitting on a whole lot of potential, and while this project makes for a highly enjoyable listen on its own merits, I'm excited to witness what they create beyond the demo era. Demo I is available on bandcamp for the low price of Name Your Own Price, which is more than fair for what you're getting. If you have an affinity for demo tapes, or just like raw music in general, I highly recommendpicking this one up.
Compress - Demo I was released Dec. 16th, 2022. Find it here!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.