BUÑUEL “Killers Like Us”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Luis Buňuel was a film-maker who liked to shock and surprise. This is the guy we have to thank for images of eyeballs being slashed by razor blades and dead donkeys lying on top of pianos. It seems fitting that he lend his name to this noise rock project full of uneasy screams, mutters and groans, both human and instrumental.

Noise rock is something I’ve found myself gradually getting into in recent years, but boy, BUÑUEL push things to limits even I find hard to take. It’s an international combo featuring Eugene Robinson of OXBOW fame on lead vocals. Never actually heard OXBOW, but sure read a lot about it. The reports of this guy’s strangeness have not been exaggerated. At times, Robinson sounds like he just came from an electroshock therapy session. He doesn’t sing so much as pour forth agonized squeals, ominous mutterings, and blank verse poetry of the “Howl” variety. It tests limits and by the last few tracks like “Prisoners of Measured Time” and “Even The Jungle”, it exceeds mine. This is pretty much noise made up on the spot and what he is babbling about, I could not tell you.

The remaining members of the band are very active in the Italian avant-garde music scene. Much of BUÑUEL’s music is built on thick, rubbery bass riffs that come across very heavy, mixed with a more jazz-based drumming approach and simple, noisy, almost mathematical guitar attacks. “Hornets” is slow and grinding, “Crack Shot” jumps and throbs, “Stocklock” squalls and squeals in true noise fashion...and then things start to get really weird. With “When We Talk”, the album starts to deconstruct itself, gradually dissolving into excruciating strangeness with vocals to match from Robinson. It becomes a bit much to take. Likely by design.

Some sort of exorcism or cathartic cleansing is going on here. If you can last through it all, you might feel relieved. Or maybe like taking the gun on the cover and doing something terrible with it…