Noise-rock masters Uniform get even bigger, better, and darker on Shame | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Noise-rock masters Uniform get even bigger, better, and darker on Shame


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I’ve spent a lot of Reader ink gushing about Uniform and the previous projects of their members. With the release of their new fourth full-length, Shame, the band’s sonic assault continues—and so does my adoration. Formed in 2014 as a wildly abrasive industrial-noise-rock-drone duo of vocalist Michael Berdan (formerly of unreal noisecore trio Drunkdriver) and guitarist Ben Greenberg (who’s played in Zs and Pygmy Shrews and engineered records by every good band coming out of NYC), Uniform have continually streamlined their sound, toying with Wax Trax! industrial, straightforward punk, and electronic synth swaths—sometimes all at once. On 2018’s The Long Walk, they added live drums to their previously all-electronic rhythm section, recording with experimental drummer Greg Fox (Liturgy, Guardian Alien). The result was driving, aggressive, blown-out noisy punk and metal—no frills, no bullshit. It was a perfect album, as far as I was concerned, and captured everything I needed from a weird, heavy band: sticky riffs, deranged vocals, and a grimy, gloomy atmosphere. Turns out Uniform had the capacity to improve on perfection. Fox has left, and longtime touring drummer Mike Sharp (an Austin scene mainstay who’s played with the Impalers, Bad Faith, and Hatred Surge) has stepped in, and his heavy hand anchors Shame’s creeping, pounding tracks. The album walks the line between organic and synthetic, mean and sad, pretty and terrifying, familiar and foreign. The songs are layered and textured, and they’re all delivered with brilliant, confrontational fury. Uniform have always stirred up a lot of emotions, and Shame makes you feel everything at once with uneasy, eerie clarity. It’s the band’s best work yet, a massive statement in darkness and a well-timed soundtrack for our frustratingly twisted age.   v

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