Who doesn’t love LOUD NOISES?! Well as it turns out, quite a lot of people… but if it is what you’re looking for, Philadelphian trio Bardus are here to whet your appetite. Combining the downtuned sludge of Melvins with the reverb melodies of Queens Of The Stone Age, ‘Stella Porta’ is the outfit’s second record after 2013’s debut ‘Solus’. These American boys don’t mess about, and aren’t your clean-cut good boy outfit from your local church choir either – they thrive on the chaos that is their music.
‘Smoke Bath’ is a quick machine gun punch to open up proceedings in the style of ‘Bleach’-era Nirvana, and is followed by a bile-spewing, yet pleasurable listen in ‘Monolith’. Whilst this is the kind of music that this particular writer usually goes weak at the knees for, track three, ‘Sky King’, as dirty and unkempt as it is, doesn’t exactly pave the way for a diverse record. A lot of bands seem to get away with sounding the same in all of their songs though, and Bardus may just be able to make it work.
Ironically, the track ‘Transcendence’ follows, and shuffles the deck by opening up with a two minute build up of heavy instrumental work, rather than the band just jumping straight into the track’s core. Vocalist Justin Tuck‘s guitar work is noticeably breaking through with each passing song, but particularly catches the ear on this track. There are riffs for days on ‘Haze’, and even more twinkling guitar work from Tuck, who it has to be said, has been backed consistently well by bassist Ari Rosenberg and drummer Kyle Pierce throughout ‘Stella Porta’.
Penultimate track ‘Oracle’ is five minutes of power; you can feed off of the anger that fuels Justin Tuck‘s screams. If this album were to have an “epic”, then ‘Oracle’ would be Bardus‘ best bet. The final curtain arrives with ‘Clandestine’, ending in typical Bardus fashion: it’s heavy, it’s abrasive, and it’s not at all pretty… but you didn’t come here for pretty, did you?
For all the power and anger that Bardus project from their instruments, there are maybe two tracks on ‘Stella Porta’ that really set themselves apart from the others with their own memorable features. Otherwise, you could be forgiven for mixing up all of the other tracks. This isn’t exactly Radiohead jumping from track to track and trying different things; this is straight to the point rock n’roll, and it works for the most part. The term “power-trio” couldn’t be more appropriate in this case, but there is only so far the sound of Bardus can take you before it becomes a bit familiar and unexciting for some people.
‘Stella Porta’ is out now via Solar Flare Records.
This Bardus article is by Sam Pickering, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard.