Switzerland’s R-13 Perform A Gripping Avant-Garde Metal Cacophony On New Record

On their new record A.N.S.I.A., the Swiss avant-garde metal group R-13 have crafted a caustic, sonically expressed chemical burn that features the jarring sounds of falling down a black hole of mental instability, to build off the ominous black hole-esque cover art. The music remarkably expresses the spirit of that imagery, which the group has developed by explaining that their songs on this latest release relate a tale of panic attacks after an alien invasion. There’s no shortage of diverse sonic elements, and even when the most traditional instrumentation emerges — like towards the end of the lengthy opening track — the patterns are erratic, quite in line with the dizzying swirl of outré tones that open the album and run through most of its runtime.

The group feels like they have crafted metal that expertly portrays a sense of teeming, raw anxiety that’s developed in the face of a looming expanse, which here gets expressed via the always reverberating electronica tones. In the sonic world of A.N.S.I.A., nothing feels certain — it’s all up in the air as the group progress through their sonic maelstroms.

Track two — identified simply as “N” — opens with particularly heavy, surging blasts of percussion, but the rhythms quickly devolve into a lurching journey through some kind of sonically expressed hellscape. It’s like a twisted rollercoaster that abruptly stops and starts as it goes along, which develops the band’s music into just about the rawest psychological tension possible. There’s some catchy riffing that emerges amidst the haze sometimes, but those senses of surging familiarity quickly devolve into more unease as the melodies erratically slow down as if the music’s freight train has barreled into a wall.

The band appear to have drawn their name from the Revelation 13 portion of the Bible, which chronicles the rise of apocalyptic “beasts.” R-13’s music captures the spirit of that inspiration quite poignantly, in a very real, palpable sense. There’s not really a way to get away from the demented lurches of the music’s immersive patterns, which almost feel alive in the way that they mesh into and out of each other. Track three, called “S,” packs some super heavy, feedback-laden, sludgy guitar riffing, but like the other “familiar” components, the band bury that portion in screeching, clashing hazes of detached rhythms, colliding walls of agonizingly grating harsh noise, and more.

5/5 Stars

Check out the music below! A.N.S.I.A. is available via Trepanation Recordings.