White Ring, “Leprosy”

JP Basileo

Eight years may seem a remarkably long time to wait for the arrival of a debut LP, especially from the likes of White Ring. The genre-bending electronic duo-turned-trio previously released a small handful of singles and 7”s before their seminal EP, The Black Earth That Made Me, which disappeared (physically) almost as soon as it materialized. The long-awaited full-length, Gate Of Grief, out June 22 via Rocket Girl Records, acts as a weighty rejuvenation, a continuation of the momentum built in 2010, interrupted by a slew of life’s trials and tribulations. The first single, “Leprosy,” immediately displays not only a progression of sound honed by hardening experience, but also a newfound, and justified, rancor, as the band’s own Bryan Kurkimilis notes, “This song was the first time we really wanted to start exploring aggression in our music.” Bleak and brooding rhythms pulsate from the inside of a haze of static, like the throbbing of a swollen brain against the inside of a too-small skull. Scant electronics flutter over an industrial coldness that exposes the fragility of comfort, and then shatters it entirely. Vocalist Kendra Malia evokes terror and resolution with every utterance, the chorus startling like an inescapable shower of nervous breakdowns. And yet it’s danceable. You’re being tested, and whether you fail or endure, you appreciate the daunting road that got White Ring to this point of release.

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