Earlier this year, Sentient Ruin uncovered something harrowing coming from Chiba Prefecture of Japan: a hardcore band going by the absurd moniker of “Friendship” which indeed have absolutely nothing of friendly as they create music designed to dismantle the listener piece by piece and crush them by any means necessary. Friendship started sometime in 2015, playing locally in and around the Tokyo area, and around 2016 self-released two debut EPs on CD – the long sold out and unfindable I, and II CDs. Sentient Ruin found the band somehow and re-released the EPs as I&II – a cassette and vinyl comp (check out our feature HERE). This is when the world was first faced with the existence of this insane audial violence machine. The band soon followed up with a batch of brand new life-taking songs which have now been released by Southern lord (LP), Daymare Recordings (CD), and again by Sentient Ruin (tape) as their debut album – Hatred – another near-30-minute sonic assault of absolutely unfathomable sonic violence.
Always standing out as a total absurdity, Friendship have toured Japan with the likes of Endon, Boris, Primitive Man, The Body, Full of Hell etc, and are known for having printed more than one hundred bizarre shirt designs, and for using featureless artwork that somehow aims at giving no pleasure at all to anyone who encounters their craft. Just like the lifeless visual elements they present, their music is a stark and featureless hole of blinding terror that seems completely devoid of any human warmth or rationality. It is simply an ongoing assault, a constant stream of terror that mindlessly and senselessly pours out of the speakers trying to crumble anything that stands before it. Stylistically, Friendship stand somewhere between the most stark and brute forms of powerviolence, grindcore and hardcore punk. Hatred Surge, Dead in the Dirt, Column of Heaven, Cult Leader, Nails, Full of Hell all come to mind, but these are all mere pointers that just make attempting a description easier. Truth be told, there is nothing out there quite like this band. Their wall of sound is unmatched (taking more queues from the megaton sludge and doom of their co-nationals Corrupted than from the “punk” side of the spectrum they supposedly should be closer to), the hopelessness, vile and unsettling atmospheres they evoke are real as fuck, and the overall feel of their music is that of being abused, tortured and humiliated. The conceptual element of “abuse” in this band’s music is everywhere. The de-emotionalization of all is obvious. We’re facing a band which attempts to reproduce the state of being stripped of one’s humanity and turning into an animal driven merely by the most basic instincts of survival. One that will kill in order to not be killed in some type of senseless and merciless food chain.
All in all the utter miracle that is this band is just its mindless and completely feral approach to the rudiments of hardcore punk and grindcore, as if these sociopaths have somehow managed to set the bar at an impossible new standard, redefined the very intrinsic essential elements of powerviolence/grind, and just pushed the whole genre beyond, into complete liminality, in a remote and inaccessible place where its load of violence and destruction are even hard to comprehend. All you have to do is sit for a minute and analyze their breakdowns, or their savage blast beats laid over a wall of feedback and of Godflesh-like mid tempo guitar crush-depth. It is a way of approaching the craft which is a no prisoners one. It is envisioned and executed to bend the spine and then break it with sheer force, with just blunt arrogance. Just look around the internet and watch everyone call this thing the greatest hardcore album of the year. There are no doubts in anyone’s minds that is exactly what this thing is. Get vinyl from Southern Lord, CDs from Daymare, and tapes from Sentient Ruin.