THE PRESS RELEASE: There isn’t one that I can find. Unless you count their one-line Bandcamp bio: “I’M NOT HAVING FUN ANYMORE.” And even though that might be a fine summation of the New Jersey punk outfit’s artistic credo, their latest Facebook post is just as telling, while perhaps slightly more optimistic: “It’s easy to look at humankind as the disease right now, but just remember: people are not the problem, capitalism is. We will be the ones joining hands when we can finally touch again, and picking each other back up. Not politicians with their fingers on the pulse of the stock market. Not billionaires silently holed up in their bunkers right now. Us.”
MY TWO CENTS: You gotta give Ides full points for timing: They released this sophomore album on March 15. Get it? The Ides of March? Don’t worry; it took me a second, too. And while you’re at it, give them full points for timeliness: The Japanese title Hikikomori refers to reclusive adolescents or hermetic adults who withdraw from society and seek extreme degrees of isolation and confinement. Remind you of anyone? (And is it just me, or does every damn album these days feel like it’s making some sort of weirdly precise prescient statement about our current predicament?) Finally, be sure to give them full marks for execution: These 13 surgically short, razor-wire sharp salvos of self-proclaimed “weirdo mosh” forcefully and dynamically hit the sweet spot between substance, style and sheer sonic devastation. The guitars grind and gnash and sear and burn with feverish white-hot intensity. The rhythm section rampages and lurches and twists and turns with a combination of take-no-prisoners savagery and impressively choreographed intricacy. And vocalist Jillian Keats roars and rails and rants and rides over top of it all with her corroded pipes, viscerally venting at the top of her lungs about the endless horror of our modern existence while urging us to rip it all down, stomp it out of existence and start again before it’s too late. I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty hard to argue with that sentiment right about now. Bottom line: If you’re looking for an album that unflinchingly, uncompromisingly expresses your righteous anger, frustration and desire for wholesale societal change, look no further. Just crank this up and scream along until your throat burns and your blood pressure returns to normal. And then, more importantly, start thinking about where the hell we go from here. Not the politicians with their fingers on the pulse of the stock market. Not the billionaires silently holed up in their bunkers. Us.