Austerity Program

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Black Madonna (Hydra Head, 2007), 6.5/10
Beyond Calculation (2014), 6/10

Black Madonna (Hydra Head, 2007) by New York's duo Austerity Program (Thad Calabrese on bass and Justin Foley on vocals and guitar) offered one of the best imitations of the visceral and jagged sound of Steve Albini's Big Black propelled by a seismic drum-machine. The instrumental Song 19 is the creative and rhythmic peak of the album, and Song 17B is their attempt at drowning the song format in a hostile atmosphere.

They had debuted with the EP Terra Nova (Hydrahead, 2003) and followed up the album with the four-song EP Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn (2010), containing songs 25-29.

After another long hiatus, they released Beyond Calculation (2014), stuck in the same sonic timewarp. Song 30 is typical of how they can straddle the border between emphatic stoner-rock and brainy post-rock, like a marriage of Kyuss and Slint. Song 32 is thundering metal-esque but weakened by a powerful sound effect after one minute and then boasts shouting vocals in the vein of classic soul-rock singers. Song 33 is psychedelically lethargic whereas Song 39 is visceral and aggressive, frenetic and screamed like punk-rock. Song 35 Song 36 Song 37

The EP Bible Songs 1 (2019) contains six songs dedicated to six passages of the Bible.

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