Reviews

The Ex Tumult LP reissue

The latest in Superior Viaduct’s continuing reissue crusade of the legendary Dutch band the EX. Tumult is their third LP, and on it, the band furthered the sonic experimentation they began on their previous release, Dignity of Labour. This era of the EX is the band expanding as musicians and artists, moving quickly away from the confines of punk rock and into the improvisational, genre-smearing world they’ve continued to express themselves in, implementing more noise as a song element and showing the influence of early industrial music like Z’EV or EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN in the thunderous and primal rhythms. Throughout the album, the drums are a highlight, with nary a 4/4 straight rock beat in sight. The bass grinds along percussively, focused on the repetitive march enforced by the drums. “Happy Thoughts” is an extraordinary track in this respect, like something out of an Adrian Sherwood/On-U production, the drums cut up and distorted to the point of sounding like a drum machine, building the syncopation to something militantly danceable. “Red Muzak” is a tidal wave of metallic sounds, rolling snares, and a crash cymbal like an exclamation point in the mix. Aside from the drumming across the album, you also hear Terrie Ex expanding his guitar palette away from traditional barre chords and single note riffs, using every part of the guitar to discover new ways of forcibly extracting sound, while also knowing when to bow out and let silence take over.