[Album Review] White Lung- Deep Fantasy
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by Mark Anthony Brennan
whitelung

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Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Label: Domino Records

Warning: take a deep breath before pressing the start button on ‘Deep Fantasy’ because once you do it’s a headlong rush, with no time for anything as mundane as inhaling. White Lung lets loose an unrelenting torrent of scorching metal-tinged hardcore. They take no prisoners. It is punk perfection.

The Vancouver power unit (now joined by new bassist, Hether Fortune) has been garnering international recognition and rightly so. Although they have signed with the UK’s heavy hitting Domino Records, their music remains uncompromising and raw. And yet behind the brutal sonic barrage there is an artistry to Kenneth William’s guitar work that sets the band apart from virtually every other hardcore outfit out there today. The songs fly at you in such rapid spurts that it takes a few listens to fully appreciate his brilliant chord progressions and catchy riffs, which draw upon influences as diverse as Motorhead and Bad Brains. William’s indispensible contribution lends the music a subtle complexity that resonates with the listener long after the record is over. We may have been down this road several times before, but White Lung makes the fusion of angry hardcore and sinister metal sound fresh, and that’s all that matters.

If William raises the band above the herd then singer Mish Way gives the whole effort a purpose. She snarls with a disdain that belies her deep convictions. On ‘Deep Fantasy’ she tackles such issues as rape, substance abuse and our image-obsessed culture with more than mere frankness. On “I Believe You”, for instance, she yells, “Don’t take me/You won’t make me/Cause I’ll always/I’ll always win,” asserting that the survivor of a sexual assault is not the victim but the victor. On the opening track “Drown With the Monster”, as another example, it is unclear what or who the “monster” is that she is battling with, until you realize that she is being deliberately ambiguous. We all have our own “monster”, and if we don’t learn how to deal with it then we will drown with it. Heady stuff indeed, from a woman who has some meaningful insights and knows how to creatively express them.

It is fitting that the new champs of hardcore hail from the city that coined the term (think DOA’s ‘Hardcore 81’). You just know that Joey “Shithead” Keithley is out there somewhere, smiling.