Where The Slime Lives Episode 1: From The Sublime To The Ridiculous
, June 2nd, 2010 11:53
Jenn Selby starts her new extreme metal column with Gigantic Brain, Coffinworm, Oranssi Pazuzu and Skat Injecktor - the only band Anal Cunt are afraid of. You have been warned.
Hello and welcome to the very first edition of Where The Slime Live: a monthly column exclusively dedicated to the very best new, underground, and largely uncovered extreme metal nasties, bought to you by your ever-disgusted servants of Satan, the House Of Blackfrost, and delivered through the medium of me, Jenn Selby, literary purveyor of all things deemed wrong and downright aurally offensive.
When we’re not sitting around dressed in morph suits, adopting the pose of Rodin’s The Thinker and listening to Whitehouse’s Why You Never Became A Dancer on repeat, you can find us scouring the bargain bins in a dimly lit corner of a Camden record store, dexterously flicking through pile after pile of Rage Against The Machine cast-offs and bad mid-90s thrash rejects in a bid to find that horrific EP or those razor-raw demos, wrongly cast aside by an all-too-quick-to-dismiss hack who – through his thick-rimmed spectacles – failed to see the shiny side of these polished-until-gleaming musical turds.
Or, if that proves fruitless, we’ll stop dressing as Immortal, screaming at chickens and crab-walking through our local Morrison’s branch to turn our attentions towards the internet, using virtual tools such as Lastfm.com, Myspace.com, and a myriad of blogs to insure that no stone is left unturned, no necro-sadistic-frog-core left unlistened to, no faeces left unsmeared as we attempt to address the philosophical question: Where exactly do the slime live?
This month, we delve into the realms of molecular metal, fusion music and unpalatable aural slop, using as many Master Chef quotes and food references as possible to tell you what manner of primordial soup has taken up swampy residence in our ever-infamous House Of Blackfrost record player, and – rather narcissistically – why we think you should be cooking it too.
Sometimes, shit just lands on our doorstep (we’re lucky like that...), and new record When All Became None by Indianapolis filth-merchants Coffinworm was one such steaming pile of freshly baked booty-cakes we didn’t want to go cold. So we took it in, fed it some milk, stuck in on, and, to our delight, watched the whole place deteriorate into a sess-casserole of sludge-infused doom nastiness.
Born out of the incestuous folds of the Indianapolis DIY scene, the nihilistic quintet – named rather satanically after Choronzon, a sinister character in Aleister Crowley’s Book Of Lies – garnered their first sprinklings of approval after the release of their gut-wrenchingly raw demo, Great Bringer Of Night late 2009. Shortly after, they were snapped up by mega-indie Profound Lore, and earlier this month released their first full length. How did it go down? Like a whore at a bar mitzvah, that’s how:
"We're pleasantly surprised with the reception of the album," drummer Carl, otherwise known as C., muses eloquently, no doubt taking a break from rearranging inappropriate sentences from a plateful of half-eaten alphabet spaghetti to chat to yours truly. "Everyone in the band came out of the recording sessions extremely happy with how the record turned out and seeing the final result with the artwork was a great feeling. The fact that people have spoken of the album favourably is flattering and it's cool that people dig it."
And what an album it is too. Drawn-out, foul, and grudging to the extreme, six tracks of sludge-encased death doom suck you into a filth-drenched whirl pool of loathing and despair, flinging you from the crust-laced repulsion of 'Start Saving For Your Funeral' to the ever-looping pits of sadistic torment in 'Strip Nude For Your Killer' without a second thought for your sanity, or your worthless, pulsating flesh-mass of an existence. But it’s not just the riffs that speak such hellish volumes. The thematic content at work more than adequately reflects this cathartic display of dread-swishing pissed-off-at-the-world-ness:
"The concept is essentially the reset button being pushed on humanity... The bottom line is that we're all fucked and Mother Nature's retribution is coming sooner than you think."
Are you suggesting a bit of an environmental theme here? It comes across as quite a nihilistic statement - but why? What is it about humanity and the way it has behaved that has angered, disgusted, or inspired you so negatively?
"The band doesn't have a political agenda in regards to environmental issues, although it's something I myself feel strongly about. Wolves In The Throne Room, we are not. However, I think anyone who denies the inevitable reality that on a large scale humans are filthy pieces of shit who care only for themselves and destroy, not only themselves and each other, but all living things in this world is completely delusional. No one is interested in real life anymore, just what they see on television and the internet. Accountability doesn't seem to exist, nor does responsibility for ones actions. Things are fucked and getting worse. "Rain down plague to wash down famine/ Bathe us in the waters of death/ Shower us with fire eternal/The cleansing... when all became none."
So yeah. Told, assholes. Think about that the next time you wipe your ass with last weeks’ Primark purchase while reading a copy of Heat and cry-wanking over the latest movements in the Cheryl and Ashley saga.
The putrid gooch of human existence aside, what stands out most about the release is its sheer – but subtle – disregard for boundaries and genre barriers, at each moment taking tiny steps outside the realms of doom to combine molecules of other influences, be they the intensity of those death metal flirtations, those darker tinges of blackened metal, that grainy blues of southern sludge riffing, or those sand-paper-rough edges of crust-infused distortion – it’s all there, perfectly balanced, and seamlessly blended into something that is unmistakably their own sound:
"I think the main reason for that is that we've never set out to write music that stays within a particular framework or subgenre, and simply written music that we all agree upon. Further, I'm not sure there's any particular bands that I can pinpoint as having a main influence or any direct influence on our music, but Darkthrone, HHIG, Deathspell Omega, EHG, Neurosis, and Craft are held in high regard."
With such impeccable taste in music, it would be a crime to let these guys go without strapping them down and beating out their own personal underground favourites for us to check out ourselves. Between the squeals, grunts and occasional blood-letting, Carl notched up one hell of a list of ingredients in the process:
"We're always happy to push our friends here in Indianapolis, so check out The Gates of Slumber [Rise Above’s Pentagram-ish doomy offspring – if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard them already: The Gates Of Slumber], Demiricous, Apostle of Solitude, Worldeater, Red Shadows, Kata Sarka, The Dockers, Ice Nine, Christ Beheaded, Tunguska, Summon The Destroyer, Black Arrows of Filth & Impurity, The Cocaine Wolves, King Deuce, Deadmen, Slam Dunk, Racebannon, The Dream Is Dead, and Medusa.”
There you are kids, crack one off over that little lot.
Next up is a little something general Blackfrost pulled out of his infinite bag of black metal tricks that, quite cunningly, fuses two unlikely genres into a mind-blowing megatron of a debut that really delivers both on texture and intensity of flavour.
So, here it comes: 1960s space-travelling psychedelia and... erm... Finnish Black Metal. No really, they have a black dub track and everything (think Easy Star All Stars’ Dub Side of the Moon lovingly spooned over a background fuzz of blackened ambience with the odd bit of Attila-style solo waffle spaffed over the top).
Yes, Oranssi Pazuzu have generated quite a sizeable underground following since the release of their debut album Moukalainen Puhou on Finnish label Violent Journey Records late 2009 (and also partly for vocalist Jun-His’s participation in the now-defunct psych-rock act Kuolleet Intiannit). It’s not new, we know, BUT it is something that has been largely overlooked and isn’t spoken of nearly enough (in our infinitely better-than-yours opinion – so do one, you in the Wotan shirt with an Ayat demo stapled to your nutsack. We don’t care how kvlt you are). Plus, if all you Vice-readers who suddenly developed a taste for Wolves In The Throne Room a few years back haven’t swopped blackened subsistence metal for brogues and a monocle already, you might just find this slice of ravishing grimness a rather appealing Charleston sedge way back onto the black metal dance floor.
Merging thought-out and progressive elements with black metal is also not new, but what makes Oranssi Pazuzu so different is just how brazenly they clash their influences. Whereas bands like Agalloch or Drudkh, for example, reject all notions of flutes and late-night LARPing exercises in favour of employing light finger-rolls of folk as subtle BM accompaniments, these guys don’t bother trying to be discrete. They don their space helmets and jam right out into the nebulas, at each moment transcending from mid-tempo gurgled darkness to drawn out dream scapes, aural mind maps and spiralling psychedelia. It is Darkthrone, and it is Can, and Tangerine Dream and Mayhem, with Robert Fripp nipping in occasionally to wank over a couple of jazz sections. It’s odd, but it works, and it’s brilliant. Buy the album, and hear for yourselves.
So far this column has been about tiny combinations and two-part genre fusions. The next record throws a spanner in those works completely: it has its cake and eats it - but with spaghetti. And lamb terrine. And lobster parfait. And beetroot ice cream. All together. On one plate. Spews it up. And eats it all over again.
It’s hard to pinpoint just exactly what manner of institute this Virginian one-manned Death, electro-grind, ambient sci-fi metal project Gigantic Brain crawled out of – or indeed who the genius and his drum machine behind it actually is - but by Lucifer, we’re glad it did. The sizeable cerebellum has been knocking about since the early 2000s, notching up a respectable discography in the process (including some great split releases), much of which can be downloaded FOR FREE here.
But the record we want to draw particular attention to is Gigantic Brain’s outstanding 2009 release World. This 18-track cut-and-shunt lulls you into a false sense of palatable post-metal security from the outset with the stunning 'We’ve Reached The Stars' and 'He Became The Machine', enveloping you further in a blanket of ambience during 'Debris' before you’re thrown ˗ completely unawares ˗ into an intense cranial battery of electro-grind. And so it carries on, much the same, one psychotic episode after the other, track after track.
This is the kind of record that, on paper, looks utterly preposterous. Disastrous, even. Flawed from the start. But it isn’t. It’s like listening to the rock opera interpretation of Aldous Huxley’s Doors Of Perception: it's madness made music in the most startlingly beautiful way. All this of course invented by a faceless, nameless guy, pissing about at home on his computer. Insane.
From the sublime, to the ridiculous, and the somewhat unlikely rise of Skat Injector: the anally-obsessed digital grindcore band from London that are so bad, they’ve become a modern-day Dadaist accessory. What does it sound like? Fucking horrible. What is their mission statement? "Anal Cunt are afraid of us." Who are they led by? A man who calls himself Zara Skumshot. What do the press say? "They’re the future of grindcore." Pardon me? "Yeah, you know, sort of like if Richard D James sawed his nuts off and recorded it – still wouldn’t be this fascinating." What? "It’s where grindcore is heading, you know? Getting even more intense and extreme and electronic..." Right then.
Skat Injector have been a staple part of the House Of Blackfrost diet for quite some time (check out new record Lilm if you really must) but for all the wrong reasons. We’ve turned up to watch them at shows only to learn that they’ve taken the money and fucked off without performing, blown out the speakers so there’s nothing to play on, or just plugged in, got on stage, got their dicks out for a live rendition of 'Meatspin' (you’d be wise not to look that up on google if you want to hold your dinner down).
Skat Injector are anything but disappointing when it comes to grindcore, and yes, they are so awful, they’ve developed a legendary status – albeit an ironic one – in the eyes of a few who are sick enough to care. Us included. But why does it have to be about art? Why does it have to make a statement? Why do we have to over-egg the pudding and turn something that is, in all respect, a really funny joke into the future of something, or a boundary-obliterating revelation? Why can’t a bunch of guys take some drugs, pick up a guitar, and make the worst music they can think of without it being spun into Duchamp’s Fountain? And, more to the point, why must we put something vaguely electronic anywhere near Aphex Twin?
Grindcore has, since its mid-1980s inception, embraced those key elements of humour, shock-tactics, and complete disregard for social norms and values, so how are Skat Injector any different? And anyway, does grindcore really have a progressive, forward-thinking future? More intense, and you become noise. More computer-based, hello power electronics and speedcore. More progressive, jazzy, whatever, it’s been done, it’s an off-shoot, another sub-genre, a toxic cocktail of extremity – but no huge, Armstrong-esque leap forward. All things considered, what are you all actually talking about?
If anyone’s going to have a future around here, our money’s on Sperm Swamp. You know, sort of like if Venetian Snares force-fed their bell-ends to gremlins. sighs
Y’see? It’s the way forward.
Until next time.