Melbourne’s Jack The Stripper are back with this, ‘Raw Nerve’, their long anticipated follow up to 2009’s ‘Black Annis’ which cemented their reputation as leaders in the Australian heavy music scene, even at such a young age. Combining elements of metal, grind, electronica, ambience and jazz infused off- kilter time signatures, it was something for the Dillinger Escape Plan/ Daughters/ Pig Destroyer leaning crowd to sink their teeth into. With that, the progression after years of experience (and perhaps reflection) is mind boggling- Raw Nerve is one of the most savage albums to come out of this country in many, many years.

Though always possessing a mixture of creative experimentation with inspired nods to their contemporaries, Jack The Stripper have upped the ante on this album whilst letting supreme production and thought illustrate the quality on offer. While the heavy is crushingly HEAVY, it’s the elements of doom and sludge that lend this album a weight of desperation and gloom. And not many other bands do gloom quite as well as this. Plenty of imitators, not quite so many innovators.

Touching on the point of production, this is a meticulously crafted album with many, many elements and layers contributing to the sum of its parts. It’s complex, uninviting in parts and completely unnerving as an initial experience, though, like many of the best albums are, the repeat listen shows of the subtle, almost subliminal elements that many bands who rush out album year on year just can’t formulate.

‘Nibiru’ swirls and spins in different directions with intent, and aptly introduces a sign of Julian Renzo’s complex guitar parts to come, highlighting a deft perception of time and application. Further on, ‘Track Marks’ brings this complexity to the forefront even more so. There are so many ideas going on here that it is a wonder that it’s even possible there is any structure at all, but what eventuates is a brilliant tune that demands your attention. If anything, just treat the track as an exercise in drumming precision from the indefatigable Shane O’Brien (I Killed The Prom Queen, ex-Buried In Verona). The places he takes the drums in this track, and the album as a whole, is just awe-inspiring.

‘Torrance’ and ‘Long Night In Hades’ push the uncompromising approach right up in your face, and it is with the exceptional ‘Out Of Your Reach’ that they truly excel. Though with a slightly more conventional metal structure than the other tracks on show, it’s the rolling rhythm and tight musicianship on display that illustrates its seminal place on this release. Luke Frizon’s vocals are as tortured as ever as he works through what could be best described as tumbling breakdowns and a wholly unsettling audio backdrop.

‘Raw Nerve’ is a savage, snarling, epilepsy inducing beast of an album that sees Jack The Stripper not only succeed musically, but excel where contemporaries may attempt to, mediocrely. Leaving the best til last, ‘Grinning Death’ is one hell of a footnote to the album, a true exercise in terrifying brutality. Bleak prospects to any who see themselves as attempting to produce anything as heavy or unnerving this year, or next year, or the one after that etc. etc.

Check them out this Friday 27th September at the Reverence Hotel Footscray with Rolo Tomassi (UK), Palm (Jap), A Secret Death, Totally Unicorn and many more. Details HERE


‘Raw Nerve’ is available for purchase HERE

Find Jack The Stripper on Facebook HERE

Rating: 27/28 Days




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