PUS, PUS (Self-Released, 2020)

I’d love to tell you who exactly PUS is but, alas, to celebrate the DNA of the feral Peruvian punks would be in violation of the code.

Without tipping my hand, all I’ll say is that the impossibly busy bash brother at the helm of Lima’s most ferocious new proposition is responsible for some of my favorite hardcore and post-punk of recent memory.

That Midas touch is real and the latest is a sonic exploration of unmitigated yet golden fury.

Again, I’ve been sworn to secrecy as to the murky mystery surrounding the band members’ identities. Eschewing their given names in lieu of more intimidating monikers, allows me to introduce you to PARASITO, AYACUCHO, NAUSEA, FXNTXZMX, and PORFI4DO.

Should you fancy yourself a gumshoe, the annals of No Echo should provide clues. As the “merciful” King himself said, “Don’t break the oath.”

Though released just a couple short weeks ago, a veritable lifetime of upheaval and tragedy has befallen Peru in the interim. Between Merino’s resignation and a sizable economic COVID-19 downturn, this eponymous EP is as necessary and cathartic as music can hope to be.

Regarding the death of two heroic young protesters amid ongoing unrest on the streets of Lima, the response from the PUS camp was direct and forceful “only thing I have to say man is fuck police brutality and oppression… it’s the same here, there, everywhere.”

There’s a litany of resources out there if you’d like to help the families of Jack Brian Pintado Sanchez and Jordan Inti Sotelo Camargo. 

True to its word, opening track “Aniquila” annihilates from the first moments, churning out impossibly busy blasts of snare-driven distortion. As subtle as a battering ram, it’s a frenzied 90 seconds of righteous indignation.

Far more uproarious than the cold remove of their singer’s post-punk leanings, the guitars still manage an echoey distance from the mix, lending the pulverizing D-beat an unexpected layer of nuance and melodicism. 

“Obscuras Intenciones” doesn’t hide its intentions, either. Employing a scuzzy and distortion soaked bass riff that weaves expertly throughout the song, the serpentine vibes are venomous. Tacking on clean but desperate shouts as backing vocals proves to be the perfect accoutrement, as the lead screams are as fetid as first wave black metal’s finest cryptkeepers.

Elsewhere, “Internet” follows suit rhythmically, playing hyperactive bass runs against a wall of blown out and grinding crust. 

The call and response template is at its best on the fourth track, a loving cover of hardcore punk legends Guerrilla Urbana’s “Eres Una Pose.” Maintaining all the grit and rudimentary fire of the original, it’s granted a vicious and blackened update via the singular sound of Will Killingsworth of Dead Air Studios. 

The last punch is delivered via “La Pus.” At just north of three minutes, it’s a veritable epic by the band’s standard brevity. Built around a primitive bass/drum punk stomp, it’s a rush of violent and chaotic hardcore until at last a harsh wall of noise is ushered in to choke us out. 

PUS is force. PUS is freedom. Get on it. 

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