Stare into the broken, insectoid eyes of rage. The musical equivalent of William Burroughs’ yage nightmares, Californian noise-merchants The Locust release cacophonic mathcore landmarks on (singer) Justin Pearson’s Three One G label. Exceptionally loud and eccentric, The Locust’s “New Erections” is a Wilhelm Scream from the ostensibly tranquil world.
With lyrics seemingly free-written in a nightmare trance and instrumentation as frenetic as bowl movements after eating McDonalds, it’s not an accessible sound The Locust cultivate. It has the pulverizing trappings of mathcore giants like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Carbomb, but with a frenzied idiosyncrasy that’s hard to pigeonhole. It’s not just the singular image that defines them, but a peculiarly sincere and horrific sense of injustice.
Listening to the Locust is like debating with a foreign sex worker- always dismaying yet erotic in its deviancy. It’s not only nightmarish in the rejection of wholesome, regular song structure. There’s some deeper uneasiness that may just have been forced on The Locust from the outside, rather than vice versa- the petulant scream of anarchist punk; monsters raised innocent in the suburbs. The sound of an errant bottle rocket scarring someone’s fortunes.
The rhythms and transitions between these are more important in the song structures than the melodies. The music is dissonant and pounding, but intentionally so. Angular riffs that eke every distorted pyrotechnic from an overdriven guitar and a polyrhythmic jigsaw of layered tones. “New Erections” opens with vitriol. Their repudiation of a fast-cash, greed society is buttressed with a genuine concern that, like punk and powerviolence forbears before, uses angst and noise as a weapon.
There’s something incredibly juvenile about their sound- whether it’s the jagged hyperactivity of the riffs that recall a child with undiagnosed ADHD, the penchant for insect themed theatrics, or a naive sense that protest can be in some way effective. True scorn is belied by quirky, irony-laden song titles like “God wants us all to work in factories” and “We have reached an official verdict: Nobody gives a shit”. Though the brattish aspect to the delivery in no way detracts, but gives The Locust the sheen of a fresh, Pro-active face, even 18 years from inception.