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Be Silent No More Attrition's 17th studio album may have taken almost a decade to arrive, but it was well worth the wait

Be Silent No More

Attrition's 17th studio album may have taken almost a decade to arrive, but it was well worth the wait

by Alan Rider, Contributing Editor
first published: March, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

Attrition have never aimed their sights at the mainstream, but operate in the underworld that exists in the shadows and parallels everyday life

Attrition Week LogoAttrition have been around since 1980, played five continents and released 40 albums, including live albums. Their 17th full studio album is coming out now and shows are planned across the globe. We're celebrating with Attrition Week in Outsideleft. Today, Alan Rider on the new LP, The Black Maria.

Black Maria Cover ArtATTRITION
The Black Maria
(Two Gods)
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‘Long awaited’ is a much over used phrase in the PR world, but in the case of Attrition’s latest, The Black Maria’ it is justified.  It’s been 9 years since their last full studio album.  Although a plethora of live recordings, compilations, collaborations, remixes and re-workings have boosted the total discography to 40, this is their 17th album proper.  A lot of factors have contributed to the wait (all of which you can read about in our two-part interview) and the fact that this has been so long in the making has given it both a reflective and also timeless quality.  You can tell that Attrition mainstay Martin Bowes has had a lot of time to think this through.  Not for him the bombastic opening track to slam you between the eyes.  He’d rather draw you in like a spider spinning its web, with the briefly spacious, yet eerie intro track ‘The Promise’ with its whispered instruction to “be silent” intoned over a thudding heartbeat rhythm, and languid filter sweeps, before the ever-so-slightly funky ‘The Great Derailer’ lurches into view, all operatic wails, sawing violins, cut ups (“I felt like God”), and a pulsating synth bass driving it along.

You won’t find any hit pop singles or verse/chorus singalongs on here. Attrition have never aimed their sights at the mainstream, but operate in the underworld that exists in the shadows and parallels everyday life without imitating it. So you could dance to a track like ‘The Switch’ which has a pulsating electro beat at its heart, or just sit back and listen for the small details, those off centre touches that separate out Attrition from the mundane. ‘The Pillar II’ is a dark industrial master class, starting with the sound of a freight train pulling into a station before violins and plaintive harmonies underpinned by subliminal synth and distant crashes take over. A music box bridal march and radio static introduce standout track ‘The Alibi’.  Martin’s baritone is so deep it merges with the backing in sharp contrast to the falsetto female vocals and swathes of space filled with subtle details.  ‘The Reprisal’ reprises (ahem) the “be silent” refrain from ‘The Promise’, before jitter synth tones spin from left to right against a creaking distorted cacophony.  Commercial it ‘aint!  That trend continues with ‘The Zero Hour’ which has old school Industrial written all over it and harks back to Attritions beginnings on the fledging UK industrial scene. By the time we get to the mutating two-part title track the transformation is complete.  The Black Maria is not your regular album, despite it being the length of a traditional vinyl album.  It’s not instant, but worms its way under your skin, working its way to your head and heart.  Attrition set out to perplex as much as please.  There are no easy rides here, yet this is a strangely catchy album, especially ‘The Great Derailer’.

It may have taken nine years to emerge from its chrysalis, but as The Black Maria unfurls its wings you can see why it needed that time to pupate.

Order ‘The Black Maria’ in all formats from Bandcamp here→


Essentials
1. Attrition Week is Coming to Outsideleft→
2. It's Attrition Week in Outsideleft: Riding the Black Maria→
3. Attrition Week: Alan Rider reviews The Black Maria LP→
4. Attrition Week: Part 1 of Martin Bowes conversation with Alan Rider→
5. Attrition Week: Part 2 of Martin Bowes conversation with Alan Rider→
6. Attrition Week: Martin Bowes provides The Black Maria Track by Track→

Order ‘The Black Maria’ in all formats from Bandcamp 
here→ 

Alan Rider
Contributing Editor

Alan Rider is a Norfolk based writer and electronic musician from Coventry, who splits his time between excavating his own musical past and feeding his growing band of hedgehogs, usually ending up combining the two. Alan also performs in Dark Electronic act Senestra and manages the indie label Adventures in Reality.


about Alan Rider »»

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