If Andy Warhol’s prediction that in the future, everyone would have fifteen minutes of fame has become a trite, oft-abused truism, then fear not. Belgian noise rockers Kabul Golf Club don’t even need that long to make their mark. Clocking in at just under fourteen and a half minutes, the band’s debut EP “Le Bal Du Rat Mort” assaults the ears with more jagged noise then many of their contemporaries manage in their full releases.
Kabul Golf Club’s name has been purloined from the infamous golf course of the same name in the capital of war-torn Afghanistan. Having served as everything from a rocket launching site to a training ground for the removal of landmines, the moniker seems an appropriate one given the band’s sonic output. Opener ‘Bits of Freedom’ is short, sharp and shocking, prone to abrupt changes of pace and above all, utterly frantic. There’s much more to all of this than mindless cacophony though and it’s readily apparent that there’s skilful musicianship and songwriting lying underneath all the layers of abstraction.
The presence of more traditional song structures is more evident on tracks like the scintillating ‘Minus 45’, where shouted vocals and the expertly syncopated rhythm section, playing hardcore-influenced beats, fight for breathing room alongside clashing, atonal guitar dissonance and even a spot of vocoder work. ‘Fast Moving Consumer Goods’ introduces, if only briefly, clean vocals and enormous bass riffs, exposing Kabul Golf Club’s punky underbelly. For all their seemingly chaotic nature, it’s entirely evident that this is a very tight, extremely well drilled group of musicians; transitions from one abrasive riff to another often feel jarring, but never disjointed.
‘5 Minutes 2 Midnight’ initially comes across as an exercise in trying to extract the most ear-piercing squeals possible from the humble electric guitar but the track positively undulates with visceral energy and its jaggedness only complements the underlying fury. Closer ‘Demon Days’ actually steps off the gas ever so slightly for most of its running time, both in speed and intensity, only for the band to come crashing back in for one of the most relentless forty second sections of the entire EP.
‘Le Bal Du Rat Mort’ is an absurdly violent tour de force and one of those rare records that reminds the listener just what type of experimental sonic chaos a couple of guitars and an awful lot of aggression are capable of delivering. Anger is only one piece of the puzzle though; this record much more clever than it initially appears and there’s a surprising amount of depth to sink your teeth into. Fans of Lightning Bolt, Arab on Radar and Six Finger Satellite will feel a natural affinity for Kabul Golf Club while aficionados of the hardcore and math rock scenes – everything from Fugazi to Dillinger Escape Plan – will also find much to enjoy.