The best way to listen to Peer Amid, the latest album from Swedish noise-makers the Skull Defekts, is to simultaneously stare at the album cover. The image is a road map for a record that begins with a sustained mystic Eastern chant, awakening a lumbering bass line that explodes into a chorus of Steve-Albini-esque guitar noise. The rest of Peer Amid follows a similar pattern, creating a dense song cycle of industrial destruction with former Lungfish singer Daniel Higgs at the center. Higgs’ presence on Peer Amid, his first collaboration with the Defekts, will likely draw many new listeners, but aside from a few shared sections of a Venn diagram, don’t expect many similarities between this album and anything produced by Higgs’ former band.
Each song is built around a propulsive and repeating rhythm that seamlessly morphs between songs for an effect that’s less punk and more hypnotically psychedelic. Jarring guitars and multi-layered tribal drumming are built on top of prominent bass-lines, with suites of distortion buttressing all the rhythmic chaos.