Retox – Ugly Animals

Categories: Reviews
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Published on: August 19, 2011

Southern California-based hardcore band Retox have released their debut full-length, Ugly Animals, as a joint venture between Ipecac Recordings and Three One G. The group share members Justin Person and Gabe Serbian with the Locust, and Person is also the founder of Three One G.

Ugly Animals is painted with broad strokes, thick charcoal lines and coarse-grind sandpaper. That isn’t to say that the album is clumsy, but there’s no subtlety. Ugly Animals is composed of 11 songs, but is barely 13 minutes long. The numbers are short and blistering — only a single track, closer “Piss Elegant,” is over two minutes, and just barely. Most clock in at a minute and change, short blasts of white-hot energy not unlike quickly running the blue flame of a blowtorch across vulnerable skin — no less destructive for the brevity of its passing.

All fat — anything considered excess — has been mercilessly cut away, leaving only raw gashes of intensity, the gestures of anger and violence with no cushion, padding or respite. Retox have created a work that’s akin to a beating, leaving the listener no space to think, just the option to fight, flee or endure. Trying to figure out what happened, sore and stunned, comes later.

What is here is concentrated. Ugly Animals is abrasive and razor-sharp, yes, but also distilled, reduced to its most intense form. The riffs are also good, ear catching and satisfying, giving you something to hold while the song structures toss you around and assault you.

If you’re most content walking around with a fat lip or black eye, this album is for you.

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