Album Review

Ashnikko - WEEDKILLER

A triumphant debut.

Ashnikko - WEEDKILLER

Following 2021 mixtape ‘DEMIDEVIL’, described as a “colourfully chaotic cannonball” on these pages, ‘WEEDKILLER’ pushes Ashnikko beyond expectations. It’s as if medieval armour-clad fairy cheerleaders are sword fighting with robots as the final notes of ‘Cheerleader’ hit’, and throughout this faultless debut full-length - which welds trap, nu-metal and industrial pop to engage in metaphorical battle - Ashnikko sinks their teeth further into seething experimentation and colourful storytelling, empowered by long-time collaborator Slinger and pop vanguard Oscar Scheller. Their bars remain as vivid and hallucinogenic as ever: Ashnikko pens “a colony of ants underneath [their] skin” (‘Worms’), “rats in the sewers, death on the mind” (‘Chokehold Cherry Python’) and a “post-metallic rebellion” (‘World Eater’) to conjure cracked earth and chrome chainmail amid a violent, arid, apocalyptic landscape.

Ashnikko’s fiction crawls with fairies, robots and insects, while a fae protagonist seeks revenge against AI enemies by becoming part machine - reclaiming their body following sexual assault. There’s relief in malice on ‘You Make Me Sick!’, a diss track about an ex; warning sirens against ogling their body on ‘Don’t Look At It’; and explosive riot grrrl attitude throughout the electroclash-inspired, punky ’Chokehold Cherry Python’. And the ghoulish quality of guest appearances from fellow left-of-field newcomers Daniela Lalita and Ethel Cain only enhance Ashnikko’s supernatural narrative to showcase a whole sphere of pop artists moving against the grain. The fossilised bones of her brazen trap and punk party predecessors are not lost either, with echoes of forebears Kelis, Avril Lavigne and Brooke Candy jutting out from the soil, ever-present and immortalised. Undeniably ‘WEEDKILLER’ is a funneling of rage - a quest to rediscover autonomy and cement identity - but despite the darkness is ridiculously fun, too. It’s a triumphant debut - one that changes the game like a live wire in water.

Tags: Ashnikko, Reviews, Album Reviews

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