Ox Hunger’s debut EP, “Gloss on the Blood,” can be classified as industrial with heavy influence from noise. Despite these genre labels, this record can not simply be placed in them smoothly. Artists like Ox Hunger usually dismiss genre and look for what music they want to make. Whatever that is. I for one think Ox Hunger’s approach is clear in its specific horror. I interpret it as being in a single room apartment in a complex where the neighbors fight so loud you wonder if this will be the day one of them snaps and kills the other. This is a fearful record for sure, but it is a fear that cannot ebb away simply because you are not in control of it. In other words, paranoia. This is hard to listen to, luckily it is short and easier to digest in full.
The instrumentals consist of similar-sounding synths and drums throughout the record. In an age where most electronic musicians use as many synths as they own, it is awfully refreshing. I enjoy this because it makes the EP have a conceptual aspect. Ox Hunger seems to have made a concept record deliberately based on what they say on their Bandcamp bio: “An experiment in post-industrial doom charting the dynamic between raw horror and breathless desperation at the site of the body, reeling through dirge to brutalist dance music, pulling structure out of noise.”
Vocals go back and forth with screaming, singing, and talking. This creates a broad approach to conveying emotion. Combining vocal techniques is still considered taboo by many in the experimental community. The reason for that being this is a relatively contemporary approach and it immediately draws me in with the opening track. It is horrific to listen to, much like the rest of this EP. This leaves me wanting more to listen to from this artist, and I look forward to it. While sonically I cannot compare Ox Hunger to many, the concepts spoken about seem to be reminiscent of The Caretaker.
The production on this, mixed by Ox Hunger and mastered by Will Killingsworth of Orchid, is also fantastic. Every note comes in clear despite the barrage of distortion, reverb, and other effects. Everything is put together nearly equally, and it creates an illusion that this record is “pleasant.” Contrast is something I look for in music very often and am usually left without it. Ox Hunger contrasts on all fronts impressively.
Fantastic EP, can not wait to hear more.
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You can acquire a digital or physical copy (Cassette, Zine) of Gloss on the Blood via Ox Hunger’s Bandcamp page.