We first crossed paths with Bardus last spring when they opened for noise punk juggernaut Mutoid Man and were immediately impressed by the lumbering ogre of a sound made these three skinny local dudes, an armada of doom/sludge dominance that shook the rafters of Underground Arts. The band’s 2013 LP “Solus” was a decent slice of heavy and catchy, but didn’t do justice to the band’s teeth rattling live low end. Enter their latest, “Stella Porta”, a deafening blow of noise candy that packs just as much of a punch as the punishing three piece does in person.
Album opener “Smoke Bath” roars to life with Kyle Pierce’s driving beat and the dissonant march of classic grunge brutality led on by Justin Tuck’s echoing rasp. Other standouts include “Sky King”, an earworm-y stomper anchored by a swirling guitar attack calling to mind Nirvana classic “Mr. Moustache”, before closing on a disjointed, wailing outro as captivating as any of Converge’s most gut wrenching passages. “Transcendence” starts with an almost serene instrumental section before the distortion creeps back in with a push, pull of tempo changes, a tug of war between Tuck’s pained howl and the crushing drone of bassist Ari Rosenberg. All leading up to the furious whirlwind of haunting grand finale “Clandestine”
“Stella Porta” is one hell of a statement, both as a calling card for the threesome’s impressive and oppressive live presence as well as a line in the sand asserting their place in the upper echelon of the increasingly crowded post-grunge/noise rock landscape. They’ll be back home in Philly at The Waiting Room on 4/6 and returning to Underground Arts with fellow locals Hound, once again supporting Mutoid Man on 4/27.