Uniform announce their new album The Long Walk

Uniform hit us with their most powerful, most emotional and bleakest endeavour yet. Vocalist Michael Berdan and instrumentalist Ben Greenberg have joined forces with drummer Greg Fox (Liturgy, Zs) to perfect their vicious post-industrial dystopian cyber-punk and are ready to announce their new studio album The Long Walk incoming via Sacred Bones on 17th August. Today they’ve also revealed a video for the album’s lead single “The Walk”. Created by Danny Perez, the video highlights the cynicism, absurdities and downright bloodlust of our current news cycle.

Berdan explains, “In Stephen King’s book, ‘The Walk’ is a shorthand colloquialism for an annual race ordered by a totalitarian American government called ‘The Long Walk’. In this contest, 100 boys are made to walk south from the Maine/Canada border at a constant rate of 4mph until only one is left standing. The winner is granted anything he wants for the rest of his life, while a far more nefarious fate awaits the 99 behind him. It is one of the most cynical stories I’ve ever read and speaks volumes to many of the ugliest parts of the human condition.
Over time I’ve come to view aspects of the book as loosely parallel to feelings I’ve had towards organized religion and capitalism, where for some people an unattainable ideal is set as an absolute.  We allow ourselves to be broken under rigidly defined norms regarding traditional strata, where lack of compliance leads to ostracisation and success as dictated by religious and economic rule often leads to the disintegration of one’s own hopes and dreams. As someone existing in late capitalism who sees beauty and personal empowerment in many of the basic tenants of all world religions, these are subjects that I wrestle with constantly.
Following the release of critically acclaimed Wake in Fright, which had two songs featured in the new season of David Lynch‘s Twin Peaks, it was time for Uniform to return to the studio. The duo upped the ante and added a third member to round out their noise, pushing them into an entirely new dimension of their signature sound. Using a mix of triggered samples and real drums along with layered synths and good old electric guitar, the trio arrived at what would become The Long Walk after only a few short days in the studio.
From the opening whirr of the title track, it’s clear that the band is onto something special. Recorded in Strange Weather studios in the first part of 2018, The Long Walk is eight new tracks by the duo of Greenberg and Berdan, incorporating Fox’s skills behind the drum kit. Ditching sequenced tracks, Greenberg opted for single takes to highlight the Frankenstein-like guitar-bass-synth hybrid that oozes throughout the recording. Meanwhile, crushing guitar thunder is punched up by Fox’s masterful drumming while Berdan’s cries from the nether feel more desperate and morose than ever.

Lyrically, The Long Walk deals with paradoxes in spirituality and organised religion. Growing up in a devout Irish Catholic household in an Irish Catholic neighborhood, Berdan went to Catholic school for most of his primary education, and even was an altar boy. Fear of Biblical hell and damnation felt tangible. As Berdan grew and matured emotionally, he began to reject Catholicism bit by bit, viewing the church as a judgmental, repressive people who choose to live their lives dictated by hateful, fear-mongering dogma.

In the recent past, Berdan found himself slowly reconnecting with his Catholic background, observing how the faith that he found so repressive served as a great source of comfort and strength for so many. Eventually, Berdan began to view at the root of Catholicism and all major world religions a practice of love, tolerance, peace, and altruism. He began identifying as Catholic again, finding that basic tenets to be good guiding principles for daily life. Yet therein lay the contradiction that drove him from religion in the first place — many of the human traditions of the church also dealt in repression, intolerance, and bigotry, and some of mankind’s most hateful acts have been carried out in the name of God. Could one observe the rituals and practice of a faith while acknowledging and rejecting its ugliest elements?

The title The Long Walk comes from a Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) dystopian novel about an oppressive government that forces some of its children to endure a gruelling game where there is only one survivor. In this case, it’s an allegory for an extended march away from comfort, family, and faith, and eventually into an amorphous sense of spirituality that can be understood on a personal level.