Wreck & Reference – “Abhorrence” (Stereogum Premiere)

San Francisco-based label the Flenser is one of the best sources today for excellent/experimental underground metal, and it’s especially notable for discovering and releasing music by artists who also reside in the City By The Bay, including Botanist, Necrite, and Obolus. Last year, the label released a split 7-inch featuring two of the city’s most prominent metal acts, Deafheaven and Flenser alums Bosse-De-Nage (we streamed the BDN side here). SF’s Wreck & Reference got picked up by the Flenser on the strength of that band’s 2011 Black Cassette demo, which the label released on vinyl later that year. They followed that up with a proper LP in 2012, Youth (pronounced “No Youth”), and now, a new 7-inch, Content (“No Content”), which expands the group’s bleak sonic palate. Working without any stringed instruments, Wreck & Reference (drummer Ignat Frege and multi-instrumentalist Felix Skinner) create music using only vocals, drums, and a Korg sampler, and produce with that combination of ingredients a sound that is spare, haunted, and riveting. The best comp here is probably Big Black, who also worked with limited elements in pursuit of a similarly tweaked sound. Content’s A-side, “Absurdities And Echos” (the video for which NPR premiered a few weeks ago), has an eerie, mournful quality, but the flip, “Abhorrence,” which we’ve got for you today, is pure stripped-down, methed-up, blowtorch-wielding, abandoned-factory industrial noise. Give it a spin.

Content is out in limited quantities 5/21 via the Flenser. Pre-sale here.