Jan 2023 31

Album CoverHold Me Down
Album: Powerless
Category: Industrial / Metal / Noise
Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Release Date: 2022-05-06
Author: Colin Andrew MacDougall (VexationsandtheVile)


There’s always something deeply satisfying about discovering a band that blends just the right ratio of genres into its signature cocktail, and Hold Me Down has truly fashioned one of its own. A mix of noise, industrial, and good old-fashioned metal, Powerless resists both categorization and scrutiny, and although inhabiting the middle of the road often invites being struck from both sides, it can also result in the best genre-bending imaginable when done right.

It’s not just the compositional chops within each song that makes Powerless a pleasure to listen to. Numbers like “Faces” or “Forced into Life” demonstrate a Swans influence in the tangible tension between blaring noise and pregnant silence. But there’s also the pacing and variance of the compositional flow between tracks. For example, “Money & Bodies” and “Null & Void” share a melodic interrelation, the latter bleeding out of the former, yet the former emerges as its own entity in the wake of the throbbing guitar and sixteenth note hi-hat that builds and builds. It’s this sense of progression throughout the album that keeps Powerless stimulating, despite the unfortunate tendency for noisy, aggressive albums to grow stale.

Other industrial and metal influences emerge in songs like “Formation,” where the drum kit is smothered in squealing guitars and gritty synthesizers, evoking the likes of Converge or Godflesh, or “Untitled,” a slow and fulfilling freight train that builds a percussive wall saturated in harmonic feedback à la Dillinger Escape Plan’s “Crossburner.” Alternatively, motes of MINISTRY come through in numbers like “Cradled at Gunpoint,” the downplayed chug-heavy beats blended with more lush tremolo trills that nonetheless remain relentlessly punishing and give it an undeniable industrial flair.

Ultimately, Powerless is a provocative blend of many of the best bits of grindcore and industrial spun into a visceral metal medley that blisters the length of the album, and doesn’t relent until the terminal second of the eponymous track. It’s an album that will unapologetically speak to anyone who craves raw, unfiltered aggression in their music.
Track list:

  1. A Serpent
  2. Formation
  3. Cradled at Gunpoint
  4. STK
  5. Untitled
  6. Faces
  7. Money & Bodies
  8. Null & Void
  9. Forced into Life
  10. Powerless

Hold Me Down
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Sentient Ruin Laboratories
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