Intimidatingly slothful in “Run From Terror to Bring It Closer,” oddly seductive and ascending in “Keeps Getting Up,” the grooves that we hear in the new album Death of the First Person by Cinemartyr are never conventional, but they define the very backbone of this record and its most cathartic moments without question. Employed as a channel through which Cinemartyr will convey emotionality, much as the typical band would a set of lyrics or harmony-laden hooks, the beats here are destructive and frequently lend a hand in bringing all of the intensity in the music to a head. Death of the First Person is as physically engaging as it is aurally stimulating, and though it’s the most aggressive album I’ve heard all year, that might be what makes it so memorable in this age of halfhearted riff-rock.


On the flipside of the structured releases we find in the aforementioned tracks, plus “CGI,” “Stab City” and “In Filth It Shall Be Found,” there’s a tension that runs wild within “Tunnel at the End of the Tunnel,” “Sleep is God” and “On Earth as It Is” that is indescribably affective. As we move from one song to the next in Death of the First Person, it frequently feels as though we’re looking at the same patterned framework in various stages of unravel. From the moment we press play to the very second in which all of the abrasive white noise-turned into melodic ribbonry disappears from the air around us, there’s scarcely an instance where Cinemartyr aren’t captivating on some surreal level.

There are some very mathy arrangements to behold in this LP, starting with those in “CGI,” the complex “The Brain of Hideo Kojimaa” and industrialized “AR-15.” The depth of songcraft in Death of the First Person alone makes it something that I’m confident other music enthusiasts are going to rave over, but what’s even more interesting than the scope of this group’s capabilities is perhaps the way in which they go about using them – especially in absurdly vicious moments like those found in “CGI.” It’s easy to make It Just Gets Worse, but making something that fuses components of Naked City and stereophonic existentialism takes a little more effort – and dedication – to the medium itself. Cinemartyr have my respect, and my gut tells me I won’t be the only critic saying as much after this record hits record store shelves this month.


Surprisingly engaging and consistently more complex and involved than anything else I’ve heard under the ever-expanding umbrella of indie rock this summer, Cinemartyr’s Death of the First Person is a masterpiece in macabre noise melodicism. There aren’t a lot of bands willing to put as much of themselves on the line in a release of this strain of grandiosity, but while there’s an argument to be made that Cinemartyr are – and always will be – in a class of their own, they’re still managing to make a lot of the mainstream artists out there look and sound pretty inept here.

Sebastian Cole