Gleefully I prised the CD from it's gory, frantic case. As the folded lyric sheet, with a big edition of the cover art fell into my lap, I must admit I got  a little exited. I put the CD in my player and sat back to let the furious rant wash over me.

Opening with a slow rich bass-line, the album then proceeds to explode outwards. The furious drumming of Sam Marsh like a caveman on speed, tearing down the walls of protection around your ears, the guitars adding a thrashing, sensual hint of madness and hate. But all of this creating a loving cradle for Jay Mills' eloquent, quiet, but not too quiet, shouting, and screaming.

The opening track starts with a punch, that continues to punch through the remainder of the album. The next track starts more subtly, but then descends into the fore-mentioned madness. The third track, Running In Fucking Terror, is the fastest track, and perfectly holds the madness that the name suggests, everything seems to pump furiously in an attempt to get away from some hidden demons (or something like that). Hahahahaha strikes me as an odd name for a song, but it becomes clear when the tortured half cackled, half screamed hahahahaha wails at you part way through. This album does not stop, but relentlessly ploughs along, and you are taken with it on a mystical trip through the creators tortured mind, and conscience.

Whether you like it or not, it is rather moving.

Lyrically my favourite song is Ode To Jay, as it holds brilliant lyrical gems (of hopeful irony), e.g. Meat is good for the environment, and, The chemicals in meat are good for you.

The production of this album seems to have been cared about (sadly, a rare thing for many hardcore bands), and it really makes a difference. Even though occasionally I think I would have done something different on the production end, careful mixing and engineering makes the record more than just your average recording, and instead the fighting, biting explosion that The Volunteers obviously wanted to create, and have done so to the best of their ability, and to a gloriously high standard.

Edd Pipe

Listen to and buy Ringing Ears here