Pristina aren’t a band to mince words; instead they cut to the chase, with their scalding combination of hardcore, metal, and noise rock. They make defiantly ugly music meant to convey some of the rawest emotions possible. Whatever happened to bassist/vocalist Brendan K. Duff in the time between their last album The Drought (ov Salt and Sorrow) and this new one must have been horrible, because Hopeless.Godless plunges the listener straight into one man’s journey into his own personal hell.
Not only are the emotions raw, but so is the production, which was handled in-house this time, making for a more in-your-face experience than the last time around. This is not to say that the last one was a cakewalk, but the songs are more straightforward and benefit from the more “personal” production style.
It opens with the skin-flaying, mid-paced chug of “The Motherfucker,” where Duff once again establishes that he has one of the most blood-curdling screams in extreme metal, while guitarist Mike Rabtoy adds discordant noisy accents to the song, like an atonal mini-solo at the end, to punish the listener even more. “The Black Syph” is more overtly metal and even throws a little hard rock into the mix, while “The Immoralist” switches gears between grinding noise, doom-y passages, and some ultra-creepy sampled dialogue. At one point, they interweave the samples with Duff’s screams for a disorientating effect. “Darker (Omega)” offers a little respite, with some quieter moments, before giving way to more noise and an angry spoken word passage, where the word “suicide” is discernible several times. Closer “Malarial” is an eight-plus-minute beast that interweaves all the bands influences into one monstrous final expression of pain, surprising the listener with an epic coda, before crashing back down to Earth in a wash of feedback.
Hopeless•Godless is by no means an easy listen, but it is exciting and terrifying in equal measures. If you want an album that dives head long into the abyss, then this will definitely be your cup of poison.
(The Path Less Traveled Records, PO Box 273, Normal, IL 61761)