Oct 2017 07

Abrasions - LacerationsAbrasions
Category: Industrial / Noise / Post-Punk
Album: Lacerations
Blurb: Emotive post-punk songwriting amid rhythmic dirges and densely layered noise and industrial textures makes for a disturbing yet lush album that will test many a listener’s limits.


Oakland, California is regarded as the most ethnically diverse city in the U.S., and so it should come as no surprise that the music of Abrasions, the brainchild of Oakland’s Jay Ericson would prove to be as equally diverse. With Lacerations, his first full-length album since 2009, Ericson presents to us a harrowing and haunting journey through noisy landscapes of emotional abandon. This is not a comfortable album to endure as everything from the scathing production to Ericson’s unhinged vocals tests the listener’s ability to process and absorb the range of styles that clash and collide throughout Lacerations.

Virtually every song on the album erupts into a furious barrage of stark electronic pulses, shrill and metallic guitars, and drumbeats sparse, distant, and powerful. Songs like “Dead Decades,” “Silly Me,” and “The Cradle Must Fall” move with a deliberate menace and ferocity, balancing caustic organic and electronic sounds to establish an atmosphere that is instantly unsettling, Ericson’s voice often shifting, sometimes suddenly, between a desperate melodic tenor and a disparate maniacal scream. On the other hand, moments like “Stalemate” with its celestial ambience conveyed through cold pianos, crystalline guitar thrums, and resonant vocals, or the dreamy title track with its dense layers of electronics and sustained guitars allow Ericson space to sing in a more eloquent yet no less emotionally devastating manner that allows his songwriting strengths, which recall the drone and groan of post-punk goth/rock, to shimmer. Similarly, “O’ Love” takes the form of a noise ballad, Ericson’s pleading, yearning vocals contrasting with the stabs of overdriven electronics and bass to create an effect not unlike shoegaze filtered through a rusted steel mesh, while “Undone (Just Sleep Now)” is as its title suggests to conclude the album like a twinkling music box lullaby.

Aided by a complement of guest musicians and mixed by I, Parasite’s Christopher Jon, Lacerations is a collection of songs that slash right through the flesh of the listener’s mental defenses, leaving one scarred and battered for having borne such an ordeal. Not unlike the grimly apocalyptic and lush, nightmarish dirges of Dream into Dust crossed with Godflesh, Abrasions balances beauty and brutality to achieve a rather chilling and disturbing effect. Lacerations drenches what could easily have been mundane goth songs into a viscous mire of industrial noise; it’s not an accessible record, but it’s not without its rewards for those with the audient fortitude.
Track list:

  1. Verdict
  2. Dead Decades
  3. What If They Know?
  4. Silly Me
  5. Stalemate
  6. O’ Love
  7. The Cradle Must Fall
  8. Highway X
  9. Lacerations
  10. Undone (Just Sleep Now)

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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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