Title: The Hunger Artist Show
Label: Kontingent Records
Hailing from Thessaloniki, Greece, and cutting their teeth on their local squat and DIY circuit, three-piece Gynoid—a name chosen as a comment on societal gender roles—serve up superb slabs of riff heavy noise rock on their debut album The Hunger Artist Show, seeing a tape release via Kontingent Records in April 2021.
The title and accompanying artwork are references to Franz Kafka’s short story “A Hunger Artist”, a work that deals with dehumanization and marginalization, which the band use as a backdrop on this record to explore and comment on various issues within society that they “vehemently despise”—such as misogyny, racism and fear of the mentally ill.
This can be felt throughout the run-time with swirling guitar riffs accompanying lost-in-the-void vocals and lyrics, somewhat reminiscent of latter day Swans or Daughters, creating an air of disorientation to the listener. That’s not to say it’s an ethereal record, these passages are often brought back to earth with big heavy sludge riffs that may satisfy fans of Eyehategod or Melvins.
Huge euphoric crescendos give way to subtle seasick, angular passages, only to build back up into the shoegazey walls of noise once again. Guitarist & vocalist Spyros Tsalouchidis uses his voice to create tone perfectly suited to each musical moment, with snarling monologues building into violent screaming and even some high pitched wailing when required, all while allowing the lyrics to shine through and help the listener see the claustrophobic and bleak vision this album intends to portray.
This record covers a lot of ground, musically, while maintaining a strong sense of identity all throughout. To call it noise rock, sludge or post-punk would be doing it a huge disservice as the band meld all these elements and more to create a cohesive sound that both hypnotizes and head-bangs throughout its ebb and flow. Its rich production, expert use of dynamics and excellent songwriting really allow you to inhabit their world, even if only for half an hour.
This is an astonishing and very enjoyable debut record and I sincerely hope that Gynoid get the recognition they deserve with this release.