Female Demand: Outside the Universe is Really, REALLY Outside

Categories: Listen Up!

Being loud is an art. Strike that, being artfully loud is an art, being regular loud only requires some amperage. The key seems to be finding a way to harness the sound of collision, to ride on top of the train as it crashed. Few artists have really been able to do it. Iggy and the Stooges pulled it off with the in-the-red masterpiece Raw Power, and Butthole Surfers had more than their share of aggressive noise fests. Locally, Giant Princess churns out a good mob scene.

However, when it comes to sheer explosiveness done without chaos we're hard-pressed to think of a better act than Female Demand. Their latest release, Outside the Universe is a tight collection of experimental prog metal, if you can all anything done with just drums and a bass rig prog metal, that would be annoying if it didn't rock so damned much.

Bradley Muñoz and Jonathan Perez take a listener headfirst into songs that drown you like a psychotic customer drowns a snotty waiter in the lobster tank with their seemingly random noise and completely unintelligible vocals, but like a sudden act of remorse they'll pull you free into driving rhythms and melodic lines that release every inch of tension and demand that you move, move, MOVE!

"Eat Who I Eat" is as good an example as any of the what you can find on Outside the Universe, being also the song chosen for the band's first music video for the album. Somewhere under that high, affected wail of Muñoz must be a message. We can hear snatches of words, edges of phrases that weave in and out of his bass playing and over and under the frantic stick work of Perez, but exactly what the message is remains elusive. Not since Batman flipped the Joker's semi has something so violent been so expertly timed.

Not that the album spends every moment in fifth gear. Midway through you is "Military Industrial Complex in a Cup." On one hand no other song on the album is so metal in the original Black Sabbath meaning of the word. At any moment you expect Ozzy to bust in with some sobering thoughts on the devil. On the other hand, its precision movements are more ballet than thrash down. FrenetiCore has done interpretive dance to similar music, and here's to hoping that they discover Female Demand's potential as performance partners.

Though we haven't seen the band live, save through the window of the music video for "Eat," their music makes imagining the scene easy. Each song seems built for rage and rest, guiding a listener through adrenaline-powered spasms of pure mosh. We imagine that their sets end as Outside does, with the final cathartic darkness of "Vicious Cycle." The song is a slow number by Female Demand's standards, but full of a heaving, breathless hopelessness that transfers their physical energy into spiritual. All that's left when it's over is burnt fuses, both mechanical and biological.

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