With a name like that it’s easy to only give Admiral Angry a cursory glance, simply writing them off as a bit of a silly sounding band. But delve just a little bit deeper, to the tracklisting of their debut album Buster, and those initial conceptions will immediately crumble. ‘Sex With a Stranger’, ‘Kill Yourself’ and my personal favourite, ‘Bug Vomit’ are just some examples of the imaginative epithets on offer. Explicit and disarming, Admiral Angry’s subject material is shocking, and that’s before you’ve even listened to the tracks. Despite their rather comical name, do not expect a laugh a minute ride. When they say they’re angry, they really mean it.
I suppose listening to Buster, full volume and whatnot, could easily be compared to the sensation of being pummelled to death by an angry gorilla. The whole thing just sounds absolutely monumental, bludgeoning away at the listener relentlessly. The opening salvo of ‘Sex With a Stranger’, ‘Circling the Drain’ and ‘Kill Yourself’ lasts just fifteen minutes, but leaves you feeling crushed and deflated like a collapsed lung.
Sounds fucking terrible doesn’t it? Well, to be honest that’s exactly what the band want. Their mission statement, as it were, is just as unforgiving: “We’ve never stopped, and we never will. Sound lives forever. We hope our music is most unpleasant.” Perhaps some of their anger can be put down to the fairly tormented year the band have had so far, after guitarist Daniel Krauss passed away as a result of a hard fought battle against Cystic Fibrosis. That sense of futile resistance to something that will eventually kill you seems to have seeped into every pore of Buster, embracing the dark thoughts that accompany such a terrible set of life circumstances.
There are Meshuggah-esque guitar passages, but the overall sound is a lot less robotic than the Swedish metallers. It seems a lot more organic, so much so that you can feel the anger oozing out of the speakers like something out of a Japanese horror film. And despite the relentless consistency of stomach churning vocals atop lurching guitars, there are moments where the group experiment, such as the otherworldly intro to ‘Android’ and it’s intense drum solo of a conclusion that sounds like a herd of bison rumbling towards a lonely ant.
This is by no means a heartening listen. It leaves you feeling broken, torn apart and angry at everything. But Buster is a shining example of the cathartic power that this kind of music has, for both performer and listener. It’s deeply affecting, even without the knowledge of the band’s struggle, and leaves a powerful impression upon the listener. We’re all going to die, and if you’re the kind of person who contemplates this fact on a regular basis, then be very careful if you indulge yourself in Buster. It might leave you in a mire of gloom that little can salvage you from.