Thursday 30 January 2020

Robinson - The Great City (Repress - Wax Vessel)

Labels: Wax Vessel (Distribution by Zegema Beach Records)
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 20 Oct 2019


1. The Great City Of Salvation Part I
2. The Great City Of Salvation Part II
3. The Great City Of Salvation Part III
4. The Great City Of Salvation Part IV
5. The Great City In Peril Part I
6. The Great City In Peril Part II
7. The Great City Of Desolation
8. The Great City Of Ruin Part I
9. The Great City Of Ruin Part II
10. The Great City Of Ruin Part III

I'm doing things a little bit out of order here, as Wax Vessel's repress of Robinson's only album The Great City was actually the labels fourth release; however, it's the third release from them that I've picked up. The album was originally released via Debello Recordings in 2006, but was repressed on vinyl for the first time last year and was limited to a run of 200 copies. Wax Vessel have been killing it with their represses and they've brought stellar mathcore back into the minds of many, while their releases are highly sought after (even if that does mean higher re-sale prices online). For anybody who's interested, my copy is on opaque yellow centerburst swirl in natural PVC with red "rise and grind" splatter. All copies were distributed with the help of Zegema Beach Records.

On the back cover of the LP sleeve, the ‘Salvation’, ‘Peri’, ‘Desolation’ and ‘Ruin’ parts count for four tracks, though it does consist of ten songs in total. I understand why they did that because the first six songs alone don’t individually breach the sixty-second mark. I also have to add that the artwork (by Ben Hoagland) and the general aesthetic of the album sleeve is perfect.

Diving into the album opener ‘The Great City Of Salvation Part I’, you’re greeted with thirty-seconds of grinding drumming and guitar. No vocals yet, but things are just warming up and already the heat is intense. ‘The Great City Of Salvation Part II’ is no safe place either as Robinson’s full-on approach takes hold with the addition of those shrieked vocals. ‘Part III’ is an immediate continuation that really accentuates their mathcore. The riffs and time-signatures are head-spinning. ‘Part IV’ tops off this first assault with aplomb, giving absolutely no cause for rest. Brutal isn’t the word.

By the time you reach ‘The Great City In Peril Part I’ you’re already nearing the mid-point of the record. The songs are getting ever so slightly longer here but still just as ridiculous. The perfect mix of old-school grind meets modernity. ‘Part II’ is a cacophony of tech riffs and metallic tones, that rest underneath the crazy drumming and vox. It’s amazing how engaging these short bursts are.

‘The Great City Of Desolation’ is the solitary movement of the record and it’s mix of mathcore, sludge and black metal works so well. Don’t let the sludge and black metal descriptors throw you off though, as this is still fast when it needs to be, but the relaxing of tempos do make it a more varied listen. Following that with ‘The Great City Of Ruin Part I’ and ‘Part II’, Robinson once again moves in pacier strides. Their blasting and off-kilter mayhem taking pride of place at the forefront of the recording alongside the white noise-like screams. I say that because of the rasping nature of them at times. 

Album closer “The Great City Of Ruin Part III’ is where Robinson really lets fly (creatively speaking). It makes up over half of the record’s playing time on it’s own and once again it’s served by big sludge riffs and angular phrasing. Musically, out of the three Wax Vessel releases I’ve reviewed so far, this one if my favourite and the reason why is summed up in this song. It’s haunting with a slight Deftones vibe going on. Add to that some raw black metal-like screams and music that’s more stripped down .and you’ve got yourself what could be a completely different band altogether. With ringing feedback leading you into the song’s final couple of minutes, you’re left with one last glimpse of the madness that was Robinson, distilled through a Crowbar mash. 

My weekend starts tonight and oh my god what a start! I can’t think of a better release that’s received the posthumous vinyl treatment than this one. Hats off to all involved with this. Fantastic!

You can stream and download "The Great City" as part of ZBR's special discography package below:-

Ridiculously, there are still copies of the LP available via Wax Vessel's store here: - 

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