No one, not least the band members themselves, could've expected NYC noise-rock architects Unsane
to stick around for eighteen years: Drug overdoses (founding drummer Charlie Ondras), erratic label-hopping (including a short-lived stint on Atlantic Records) and the 1998 near-death of frontman Chris Spencer after a beating in Austria all presaged the band's 2000 hiatus. But unlike the blood-splattered human tragedies that have adorned all of its album covers, Unsane wouldn't stay left for dead, and in 2003, the band rebounded, its defining sound Spencer's scabrous blues licks and screaming grounded by pummeling, brilliantly economical drum work intact and meaner than ever. Now supporting their latest album, the excellent Visqueen
, for yet another label (Ipecac), Spencer, bassist Dave Curran and drummer Vinny Signorelli are still crushing skulls like it's 1989. And considering the recent resurgence among indie metalers of the sound the trio helped to create, this could be the most "now" Unsane has sounded since those salad days.