Cabal (7"+FLEXI)

Phobia Records - 8 €

International project with this awesome line-up Kaos (Chaos U.K.), Steve Allen (Disorder), Andy Lefton (War//plague), Tom Radio (Frustration), Yuji Kawaguchi (ROSE ROSE, #STDrums.).

A long-distance recording project featuring members of Disorder, Chaos UK and Rose Rose among others is a powerful beast, says Nathan Brown.

The background of the members of Fear Of The Known aka F.O.T.K. (including 1980s hardcore punk favourites Disorder, Chaos UK and Rose Rose)

F.O.T.K. have a bludgeoning sound driven largely by the relentless drums of Yuji Kawaguchi (Rose Rose) and a twin guitar attack from Steve Allen (Disorder) and Andy Lefton (War//Plague). It’s worthwhile pointing out that this is not the overly distorted high-pitched buzz sound that Steve used to propel Disorder in the 1980s but a heavier sound. Between them they capture the big sound you’d expect from latter-era Motorhead. A distorted bass by Tom Radio (Frustration) fights its way through when the guitars drop away. Lurking among this wall of sound are the gravelly vocals of Kaos (Chaos UK) delivered at full pelt. On Flotsam and Jetsam he bubbles like a dalek or the aquaphibians in Stingray.

With members distributed across continents while a global pandemic meant you couldn’t even visit a neighbouring town, F.O.T.K have produced their output in an online environment, each person’s part recorded and sent in to be mixed by Steve Allen. As the band themselves state proudly “F.O.T.K was designed to be as DIY as possible. The music and mixing is done separately. None of the band have come together to rehearse, produce or engineer. The project, has cost less than a few hundred dollars and is raw-sounding and dangerous.”

The front cover of this EP takes the “Eye of Providence” all-seeing eye motif from a one dollar bill (and the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States). This, and the title Cabal, is a good choice in these paranoid times given how conspiracy theorists can find “hidden meanings” in a discarded piece of chewing gum let alone this famous image. However, what I really warmed to was the back cover, based on an early 1970s German “Wanted” poster for the Red Army Faction (AKA the Baader-Meinhof gang).

Alongside five F.O.T.K. songs, it’s interesting to hear the two covers. For some people, that might be the “hook.” Life, one of my favourite Disorder songs, is given a new lease of… erm, life. It’s strange hearing it with a “big” guitar sound rather then the wall of distortion I’m used to. The version of Chaos UK’s The End Is Nigh is more of a reimagining with an apocalyptic feel and gothic cum industrial undertones, in keeping with the song’s subject matter.