Personnel: Chris Spencer (vocals, guitar); Dave Curran (vocals); Vincent Signorelli (drums).
Audio Mixer: Andrew Schneider.
Recording information: Gatos Trail Studios, Yucca Valley, CA (01/2017).
Photographer: Chris Spencer.
Twenty-six years on from their debut album, you might imagine that Unsane have calmed down a bit, that as more mature artists their approach would become less violent and more nuanced. You would be very, very wrong. In the 21st century, Unsane have been producing music that lives up to the high standards of feral aggression they displayed in the early '90s, and like 2007's Visqueen and 2012's Wreck, 2017's Sterilize is raw, unrelenting rock music that unapologetically draws blood. From the very first moments of "Factory," Sterilize sounds like the noise inside a serial killer's head that's been keeping him from sleeping for the past three months. Chris Spencer's mammoth slabs of guitar noise and unholy peals are precision-crafted chaos itself, and Dave Curran's bass and vocals and Vincent Signorelli's drumming keep this moving unrelentingly forward, like a runaway train about to plow into a bus. If the final track, "Avail," finds the band downshifting from fifth gear to third, it doesn't change the amount of torque they generate, and at any speed Unsane turn everything in their path into slurry. Granted, that's not everyone's idea of great entertainment, but much like the film Taxi Driver, Unsane have created a very real sort of art from staring deep into the maw of humanity's worst and ugliest impulses, and the results are as powerful as when these men were hip deep in the morass of the pre-gentrification Bowery. If this sounds like something you don't want to hear, you're almost certainly right, and should avoid Sterilize at all costs. However, if you've ever had a taste for Unsane's sonic tour of the abyss, know that they are still ready and willing to drag you to the place where nothing living goes, and Sterilize is a stellar example of pure malevolent madness run through a stack of Marshall amps. ~ Mark Deming
Magnet - "[I]t's still all about lurching guitars, distorted bass, metronomic ball-peen drumming and the belief that pleasure exists in pain."