Band: Non Serviam
Title: We Are Nothing But Your Krill
Label: Trepanation Recordings
Release Date: 5 August 2022
Format Reviewed: Digital Download
Anonymous, Parisian, genre-splicing anarchists Non Serviam bring to mind the old adage: “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best”. For the duo of Void & Moon that sentiment fits after a modification: “if you don’t like us at our noisiest and most abrasive, you have no business enjoying us at our most beguiling”.
As is shown in the group’s latest release We Are Nothing But Your Krill, Non Serviam can just as adeptly soothe as fry your brain. For sure, they will do both repeatedly on this release, so strap in for the ride and like a good boy scout: be prepared.
The album — they call it mini-album, but the runtime is 45min — opens with the title track, a fairly low-key two minute intro with electronic textures. There’s a kind of “Come As You Are” guitar tone that the duo have shown to favour — particularly on their recent mini-album Il Pleut Partout Derrière — that is a near-constant through this release.
Another comparison that comes to mind, in terms of the atmosphere and sonics of this release is a kind of goth rock/ new wave style that brings to mind bands like (early) The Cure, New Order and Bauhaus. The tracks “Vengeance Sauvage” and especially “Ne Me Quitte Pas” have a persistent dirge-like dreariness to them — in a good way — but while the foundation of the tracks tends to keep this consistent tone, the duo are skilled at layering all kinds of abrasive chaos on top in gradual stages.
Elsewhere, the track “O My Whale” wastes no time in kicking in hard with distorted screaming, overdriven black metal guitars, a kind of industrial techno rhythmic charge and off we go into glitchy madness, with all of this at only 01:30 in. The noisy nastiness morphs through some kind of cool Ninja Tunes-esq passage, before diving back into more carnage.
There are highlights throughout this release and plenty of variety, which keeps things flowing in a very enjoyable way. The previously mentioned “Ne Me Quitte Pas” includes a building maelstrom that at its peak seems to allude to the aggressive, techno/industrial assault of Atari Teenage Riot, while the overall sadness and grimness of the track is emotive, human and relatable.
“La Lune Dont Mon Âme Est Pleine (Part I)” is built around a chugging guitar that gives the track a more metal aesthetic than anything else here, though the dirgy vibe and tempo are still present. It’s well positioned in the record and an interesting showcase of the group’s versatility.
Part of what makes Non-Serviam compelling is the varied but recognizable style they’ve constructed. They blend a cacophony of elements but it’s singularly them and no one else. Often the vocals are mournfully crooned, but you can be sure that the duo will scream in your face as soon as you get too comfortable.
“Soleil Dans Trou Blanc” starts out surprisingly with acoustic guitars, before evolving into something you might hear from Greg Dulli with an almost latin feel and then finally ends up in a more kind of DJ Shadow/ Ninja Tunes feel. Cinematic while still dark and dreary. Again, despite the shifts of pace and aesthetic, it could only be Non Serviam.
花火 (Hana-Bi) is another of the groups more restful numbers, which comes as a soothing mind cleanser before the unsurprisingly abrasive “Kick Them to the Guitar (feat. R.J & J.R of Agoraphobic Nosebleed)” that delivers a wry little punch on the nose at the end.
Non Serviam are proving to be not only one of the most interesting and creative musical projects operating out on the fringes of extreme music making, they’re also impressively consistent with the quality of their output. If you like to be musically wined and dined, but also waterboarded, these are your perfect hosts. 8.5/10 Tom Osman
8.5/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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