July 2000 – EP reviews – The Judas Factor’s ‘Kiss Suicide’ (“a cracked bleed of compassion”)

14 Jul

The Judas Factor: 'Kiss Suicide'

The Judas Factor: ‘Kiss Suicide’

This sticks with me. Unusual. Hardcore punk’s generally a thing of the moment; bringing you alive in the feverish moshpit (or while you’re skulking at the back, trying to listen through to whatever the core of the ‘core is). All that power, that typhoon of ire, just goes through you in a one-dimensional spasm. But under the volume, The Judas Factor (various refugees from Resurrection, Floorpunch, and Indecision) write about souls tender as eyeballs, bared hearts turned to stricken leather, and the struggle for emotional truth within a world drugging and veiling itself into brutal indifference.

When Robert Fish – the remarkable split-hearted voice of the band – isn’t roaring his lyrics flat against the ceiling, he murmurs in a cracked bleed of compassion, full of winded pain and the anger that wings across despair. Or he’ll burn up in a cathartic gesture, the distress flare bringing the message home. “Tongue-tied purist, rich in regret, sometimes it’s all I have… / kiss suicide, that look has found life in my eyes… / sad songs never felt so real / tears never felt so good” – although the descending metal storm of Kiss Suicide itself roots Robert’s identity in pure pain, he’s streets ahead of most punk noise-sulkers.

He could’ve chosen to stew in self-obsessed frustration. Instead, he’ll take things further, picking over the hope that sets us up (“we all want to be victims of happiness”). Or throwing himself unflinchingly into the loser’s diary of One Fine Day, where the job’s finally done by the bluntest possible tool. “Gun in hand, purpose, clear intentions… / All I ever wanted was control… / Now it’s in my hand… / Never should be, but for one sad second I felt control.” In Safety Net he’s sign-painting, putting up warnings for Bukowski’s camp-followers with the ruefulness of someone who’s been there already. “Human wrecks seem so romantic. / Play out that fall from grace one more time… / all we wanted was to find comfort with each other… / comfort for ourselves.”

The rest of The Judas Factor respond with music that fills rooms with rage and loss, led by a thrumming, thunderous bass hanging like a helicopter gunship while guitars paint alarms around it in every shade. And though they can do utterly bone-crushing, heart-wringing power – from the weird grandeur of the mourning thrash that clusters Music Without Person, from foreboding whisper right through to all-too-late nuclear alert – they can still play quiet like a child’s breath. And blend in little glowing samples; little graces of trumpet and heavenly pings swimming up out of nowhere, tiny opalescent Bark Psychosis moments before the mood breaks and jackhammers the heart open again. Even though Robert’s words are torn up in the screaming, clamouring emo-core peaks of anguish, it’s spellbinding.

What genuinely makes ‘Kiss Suicide’ a thing of wonder, though, is November 20, 1999, where everything about The Judas Factor falls into perfect place; from the frantic, muted, blizzarding rub of the instruments to Robert’s trembling delivery. A spoken story of lesbian awakening, aching with empathy and foreboding, it takes you (word by passionate word) to the delicious shock at the centre of that long-awaited first love. The one that draws you out of loneliness. And then, standing horrified, we see it forbidden: shattered in a sudden rush of violent bigotry. “You heard their footsteps and you told her to run. You turned around for the fight of your life. You never stood a chance in the world… In our names another life is taken. All because she loved another woman.” Up until then Robert’s kept his compassionate, anguished fury leashed, but finally it lashes out in a woodsplitting scream – “It’s not just words when we speak the same language / It’s not just words when some live life in fear” – as the band roar down like God’s gavel. Indelible force of heart.

The Judas Factor: ‘Kiss Suicide’
Revelation Records , REVELATION 92 (098796009222)
CD/vinyl EP
13th July 2000
Get it from: buy from Revelation Records store or Amazon; download from Google Play; stream via Deezer, Apple Music or Spotify
The Judas Factor online:
Facebook MySpace Last FM Apple Music YouTube Deezer Google Play Spotify Amazon Music

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