Gushing noise and bleeding melodic discord in “Delete Yourself” or bludgeoning us in a frenzied, junkie-style groove in “Meth of the Masses,” Cinemartyr isn’t letting energy go unutilized in their new record Opt Out; if anything, this might be their most kinetic effort yet. Nothing is freewheeling about “Terms and Conditions” or “No Legacy,” and yet they sport such rebellious stomping beats that it’s hard to resist the urge to mosh with the might of the band behind you.
Whether Opt Out is thrusting forth with postmodern psychedelia like “Water Graphics,” cutting into heavy metal concepts with a cerebral conceptualism in “Dead Influencer,” or blasting us with retro punk rock tenacity ala “Art Forum,” this band sounds completely cohesive in everything they’re presenting, which is quite the statement to make when taking into account just how ambitious and full-bodied an experimental record this is. Equal parts Naked City and Death From Above, the definitive soul of this album is made up not of ideas but players simply doing – and literally doing whatever makes sense in the moment, which gives every song in the tracklist an undue elegance I wouldn’t normally expect out of any rock release.
There aren’t as many direct noise rock influences to behold in Opt Out as there have been in past LPs from this group, but this doesn’t prevent the static edge of “I Want a Gun,” “Everything Dysmorphia,” or “Meth of the Masses” from infecting us with a burning attitude you can’t find in the more mainstream-friendly punk content in the world today. Structure is still something of importance to Cinemartyr, but it’s very obvious that they’re more in love with the inspiration of a jam session than they are with the carefully composed sophistication of something that one of their peers would herald as a statement song.
I don’t think having a bend towards perfectionism is what gets you to the climax of “Terms and Conditions” or “Art Forum,” mostly because of the animalistic intensity that helps to breed the fodder for these exact performances. Don’t get me wrong; there’s plenty of technique that deserves our respect in Opt Out, but it’s not so overstated in the grander scheme of things as to take away from the abrasiveness of every track here, regardless of the melodicism framing the narrative.
As far as the production quality is concerned, I don’t know that there’s a single minute of this record that doesn’t feel supported by the DIY aesthetic, and not on the surface level alone. This is, to me, what blue-collar punk rock ought to sound like in 2022, if for no other reason than to preserve the exposed stylization that made this genre such a fetchingly obvious choice for those of us who rejected contemporary pop-rock at one time or another in our lives. This is a band deftly aware of their place in the history of punk music and its legacy for an incoming generation, and I think they speak to us from a position of great stewardship in Opt Out.
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