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Veteran New York noisers who went on indefinite hiatus just before their kind of smart, gnarly, inventive din became lucrative, they rose again in 2016, not with the intention of inaugurating a second act to their story but doing so anyway, and have since created some of the most exciting music of their career. Their new album Party Zero - their third since rising from the grave - is one of their finest, redefining what Live Skull means, after a couple of albums that saw them transitioning from being a group with a past to one with a future. Party Zero is, undeniably, big in sound, brash in dynamics. But the sophistication that was always the group's calling card remains an essential element, dealing in the kind of pulverising pell-mell that characterised the 80s New York sound, but also radiant with melody, the fusion of noise and unexpected tunefulness delivering a heady, psychedelic effect. The haunting, echo-laden slow-burn of Turn Up The Static acknowledges how wearying permanent resistance can be as a stance and an ethos, while the urgent Neutralize The Outliers is an addictive anthem of otherness. This remains protest music of uncanny subtlety and power, opener Magic Consciousness bidding us to "Disengage the false narrative" over chiaroscuro punk-rock, while Mad Kingship takes aim at "the vicious peddlers of lies and misinformation", over some of the most inventive squall in the Live Skull discography. But this is also music possessed of melody and melancholy - closer Hit So Hard offers a delirious trip into the darkness, one you'll find hard to resist. This is timely music, essential, impassioned, angry and beautiful. It's the sound of Live Skull in the 21st Century, a desperate time that needs heroes like these. "We've been pushed to the edge - how do we claw our way back?" asks Mark. "That's been a common theme in Live Skull since the beginning, and so it is now. We're trying to provoke thought." Genre: Alternative / Rock / Post-punk