New York's duo Uniform, formed by producer and guitarist Ben Greenberg and vocalist and keyboardist Michael Berdan, debuted with the single Our Blood/ Of Sound Mind And Body (Beggars Tomb, 2014) and the three-song EP Ghosthouse (Sacred Bones, 2016).
Their dark, sinister, ominous mood scupted the elegies of
Perfect World (Alter, 2015).
Perfect World blends industrial techno beat a` la
Ministry, magniloquent doom-rock riff
a` la King Crimson,
and sneering vocals a` la Black Sabbath.
More complex rhythms accompany the hyper-psychedelic guitar distortion of
Footnote unleashes a voodoobilly that turns into a frenzied power-drill boogie.
The guitar riff is more mobile in Buyers Remorse, another
voodoobilly a` la Cramps but shouted
from hellish depths (with a three-minute coda of vomiting spoken-word and
The eight-minute Lost Causes slowed down to an almost sleepy pace
for a subtler (and psychelic) form of psychodrama.
Wake in Fright (Sacred Bones, 2017)
is wrapped into more intense noise, if a bit less dark.
Having largely disposed of the fast techno/rockabilly beats, now Tabloid
sounds like a pale imitation of the brutal and visceral noise-rock of the Swans and Unsane.
The slow psychological approach of
Night Of Fear and
Habit, despite a Led Zeppelin-ian guitar riff (How Many More Times), cannot compete with the demonic locomotives
of the previous album.
The more electronic and danceable The Lost harks back to the
British dance-punk hybrid of the 1980s.
The hardcore punk-rock momentum of The Light At The End (Cause) dissipates quickly, leaving behind only a wasteland of electronic noise.
The relentless thrash-metal attack of The Killing Of America
and Bootlicker (that for all practical purposes are one ten-minute song)
is the closest thing to Perfect World, but this time the childish
repetition sounds... repetitive and childish.
Nonetheless, Tabloid and Habit ended up in the soundtrack of David Lynch's Twin Peaks - the Return.
The Long Walk (Sacred Bones, 2018), featuring a third member,
drummer Greg Fox, was mixed bag. On one hand, it includes
The Walk, which returns to the industrial voodoobilly of
Perfect World with vocals that now evoke
Pere Ubu's David Thomas,
and Found, whose superhuman fervor makes it sound like a defective disc, with the monster guitar summarily mauled over manic beats.
On the other hand, it contains too much
filler, and the
indiscriminate banging of Alone In The Dark and Headless Eyes
is pure self-indulgence.
A shroud of guitar distortion buries the slower panzer-doom rhythm of
Anointing Of The Sick, possibly the most sinister effect on the
album, but it's way too little too late.
Mental Wounds Not Healing (2018) was a mediocre collaboration
between Uniform and another avant-metal band, the Body.