Quenntown Bassville is the latest release from Montreal’s francophone hard-rock outfit WÔ. The album is lo-fi, aggressive, and loud as the average hardcore record but features some sonic variety. On the whole, this record is dark and vicious, but that atmosphere is created in a variety of ways.
The opening track, “Le Coat,” opens with a fast-paced and relatively light guitar riff. The song has a driving rhythm, and most of the heaviness is courtesy of the growled and gravely lead vocals. The following track, “J’fais d’la chip,” is slower and has more complicated rhythms in the verses. The mix focuses more on the bass more than the guitar in this one. In a way that reminds me of Black Flag‘s stylistic variety, “Flanc Mou” moves away from the hardcore influences and into a territory more comparable to metal. It’s slow and doomy for the most part but, to prevent monotony from setting in, the song occasionally speeds up slightly, and the vocals switch from a rhythmic grunt to a bizarrely melodic groan.
“Machine à sous” is easily the most melodic song on the record and the guitar riff throughout most of it sounds like The Clash with a much darker twist. That dark twist is accented by the addition of a creepy keyboard part. As an anglophone, figuring out the lyrics on this record is a challenge but the line, “comme une boxer pas de bras” which translates to, “Like a boxer with no arms.” That tragic image sticks out and highlights the sadness that permeates the song. The vibe continues on the total wildcard track, “Invertébré” which is a distorted acoustic song that is in a similar vein as a few Black Sabbath songs.
“Jeudi d’paye” has a more modern sound and reminds me of post-hardcore bands like At the Drive-In, especially the shouted, as opposed to growled vocals and the elaborate lead guitar part. This more modern and distinctly punk vibe can also be found on “Pas Tuable.” The album rounds itself out with “Ma Minoune.” The slow pace and lighter sound has a bluesy feel to it, which makes it an ideal closing track.
Quenntown Bassvile isn’t exactly innovative when you look at the individual parts but it mixes styles that aren’t often heard together, and this makes it an interesting listen for fans of both punk and metal. Some of the songs lag a bit, and the low production value was occasionally a turnoff for me, but I doubt that diehard fans of music like this will mind very much.
Written By Brian Charles Clarke
*edited by Danielle Kenedy