There are some artists that make you understand music in a whole new way. Wreck and Reference is one of those artists. Their sophomore effort “No Youth” has changed the way I hear things. It was originally going to be a download only release, but I couldn’t have been more thankful when I heard not too long ago that it was going to receive its proper incarnate state. I was lucky enough to even score a copy of the coke bottle green vinyl mixed with a black vinyl glob in the middle. Classification for this record is absolutely vain. It bleeds many influences and manifests itself in many forms. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to find out about this record. It just might be my release of the year!
So, what makes this one such a breath of fresh air? Well, from track to track, and even within each track, there is such variation that you would never know it was the same artist. But, at the same time, they play together so homogeneously and everything is so cohesive that your guess would be that it was all the same artist. Kind of paradoxical. Imagine a combination—keep in mind, usually only raw, naked moments of each—of dirty atmospherics, industrial grit, emotive black metal guitar, pissed off black metal guitar, dirgy and edgy not-quite doom guitar, frantic drumming with plenty of clashes, moments of stillness, long passages of creepy introspection, and vocals that stylistically include monotone meditations, softly sung echoes, barks and grunts, anguished cries, and evil throaty screams. This thing has it all. “No Youth” is an artistic masterpiece in every sense. It’s creative. It’s beautifully executed. And it’s clearly from the heart.
I grew from this album and still continue to grow with each listen. I hear things differently in heavy guitar carnage. I hear noise and ambiance more perceptively. Overall, I am able to commit myself to music as an art all the more, empathetically finding my place in the autobiographies of the artists. My life will never be the same. And I’m glad for that. It’s richer now. I can’t thank Wreck and Reference enough for opening my ears the way that they have. For in doing so, they have opened up my soul.