NEW YORK, NY—Coming up from Down Under for a few New York City shows (preceded by a jaw-dropping South By Southwest showcase), surging New Zealand band Kerretta continued to build their underground international fan base at Ludlow Street’s dankly chic basement club, Cake Shop. Delivering deliriously intricate epics boasting spontaneous aerial assaults and sharp feedback shards, these searing Auckland-based lads rise above less involving hardcore brethren.
Content to stand in the sloped cement-floored area beyond the stage-front fans and across the well-stocked cellar bar this April Fools’ evening, it was astounding to witness how proficient the Kiwi troupe actually were at interpreting the ambitious instrumental mantras adorning their molten full-length debut, Vilayer. For 45 minutes, Kerretta’s ear-splitting prog-metal skronk electrified the diminutively narrow space.
Somewhat murkier and manic in the live setting, this untamed trio’s visceral pile-driving attack encrusted Cake Shop’s dark chasm with unendingly reverberated intensity. Not far removed from Midwest metallurgists, Pelican, or sagacious stoners, Sleep, their relentless rampage created a frenetic frenzy that captivated the audience.
Cramped into a tiny makeshift stage, dexterous guitarist, Dave Holmes, rumbling bassist, Will Walters, and cymbal-slashing timekeeper, Hamish Walker, pushed each plasmatic free form arrangement through interestingly eerie labyrinths. Holme’s frothy 6-string prowess brought assertively discordant reverb-drenched licks to Walter’s chewy low-end bluster and Walker’s train-coming-round-the-tracks drum scrum.
Keeping it extremely raw, Kerretta, at times, reminded listeners of Sonic Youth with their furious brain-damaging expulsions and chaotic amp-burning grunge-cringed sludge. Each grinding number relied on heavy treble, frayed-edged rhythms, and gruff axe shredding. They are certainly one of the finest purveyors of angular hard rock around today. And this moderately packed small venue will not contain them next time they hit the States.