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ATP! Album Review: The Locust - Molecular Genetics From The Gold Standard Labs

For four of guys clad head-to-toe in skin tight insect uniforms, torturing their instruments to create the most unapologetically inaccessible cyber-death-grind-power-core possible punctuated by breakneck beats and walls of sic-fi synth noise, The Locust have transformed and transcended expectations by drilling close to their second decade together. Aside from "The Peel Sessions" released two years ago (almost ten after the original recording), The Locust have been criminally inactive since their last full-length "New Erections" in 2007, and with no strong hint of new material to come, a release revisiting their earlier days will have to suffice.

Comprised of 44 out-of-print hard-to-find tracks harvested from EP's, 7 inches, splits and LP's from their pre-Epitaph years, "Molecular Genetics From The Gold Standard Labs" is a reminder to those who may have let The Locust's reputation - which often precedes them like a lightning flash before a thunder roll - override the antagonistic sonic fusion they managed to cultivate by sucking the masculine bravado out of power-violence and coalescing it with tortuous time signatures and electronic surrealism, without which the emergence of many of the more experimental screamo bands from early 00's to now would have been severely hampered.

Grounded and fueled by socio-political frustration and garnished by a darkly comic artistic vision, each track on "Molecular Genetics" warps, boils and bubbles over into the next, feeling more like an active, ongoing experiment than a tried, tested and consequently refined result. With perpetual shifts in timing, tempo and mood causing you to wind up hearing through your eyes, seeing through your ears and bleeding from your mind, every beat has the momentum of an idea caught just at the point of discovery - existing only for a fraction of a second before degrading and resurrecting almost immediately as something else.

Despite the apparent disorganized nature of the individual tracks, the revisited material plays through with a strong fluidity, essentially working from "Plague Soundscapes" (2003) all the way back to their split with Man Is The Bastard (1995). Some tracks dive straight into furious drum beats, others open with high-pitched synth squeals or audibly ambiguous noises that sound like something you'd hear coming from Ed Gein's shed. The increasing cross-pollination between crusty grindcore and electronically experimentation is evident throughout, most notably on the exclusively instrumental 'Flight Of The Wounded Locust' where a Moog takes place of a Gibson, and shredded hard accordingly.

The Locust aren't a middle-of-the-road kind of band. You either don't get them, or you love them. If you find yourself in the former category, then you will probably have an easier time getting to grips with their later material, and those who comprise the latter will probably have (at least) heard the majority of the tracks on "Molecular Genetics" already. This makes the release somewhat superfluous on an idealistic level, however, it does provide a great insight into the origins and development of The Locust and gives the more hardened fans a chance to own a physical copy of material that can be either difficult or expensive to get hold of. There is also the added bonus of the tracks being treated to a slightly higher definition, providing a little more depth and clarity that wouldn't have been financially viable at the original time of production.

"Molecular Genetics" is an acute representation of The Locust as merciless musical maelstrom, and a vivifying addition to the catalog of a band who have unremittingly challenged the general perceptions and conventions of music by essentially trying to destroy it.


"Molecular Genetics From The Gold Standard Labs" is out now through Anti- Records.

Emma Garland

Alter The Press!