(We’re pleased to welcome guest columnist JJ “Shiv” Polachek, the vocalist for both 7 Horns 7 Eyes, whose debut full-length Throes of Absolution will be released on April 24 by Century Media, and Ovid’s Withering, whose debut EP we recently reviewed here. In this first of what we hope will be many posts, Shiv gives us some slamz.)
So I’ve been given an opportunity to stand on a soapbox and deliver a brain dump to you faithful readers of NCS, and I’m gonna utilize it to aware you all of something that the major metal news and media sites always seem to overlook: SICKASS NEW SLAMZ.
I’m not talking about artsy-fartsy stuff like Deeds of Flesh, Disgorge, Blasphemer, or the new Condemned (even though I love all those bands). I’m talking about good old-fashioned, blue-collar, working-class SLAM. Bands that make a conscious decision to not get too out-of-the-box because that would take away from the crushing sickness throughout, and they don’t have time to worry about luxuries and privileges like “counterpoint” and “polyrhythms”. As a direct result of this, they always kick infinite ass 100% of the time. I could wax pretentious like any typical Internet Metal Nerd, but these jams speak for themselves. I’ll still write about them though, I guess, whatever:
PIGHEAD is one of my absolute favorite new slam bands. They have absolute riff POWER. This slams even when it isn’t slamming, just because of the maxed-out adrenaline levels. There’s so much ENERGY in it that so many other bands don’t have. It doesn’t simply crush you, it crushes you with FURY and URGENCY. It’s so inherently intense and brutal that I don’t even mind the more generic typical death metal vocals (a general rule for me is that if it doesn’t sound like they’re gargling on bile, I don’t like it).
This band actually used to have two vocalists, and the other guy did inhale pig squeals and more screamy stuff, but honestly I’m glad they ditched him. This has balls and then some.
ABOMINABLE PUTRIDITY is a band who have really come into their own with this new album, and they bring all the best guests with them. This track has the legendary Angel Ochoa of Cephalotripsy and Condemned laying down some guest gurgles, and it makes it into a perfect duet with the almighty Matti Way.
I really appreciate this because it’s a perfect mesh of straightforward guttural slamming sickness and modern death metal. It has tastes of technicality, but it’s just for fun, and there’s no “we’re really progressive!” bullshit. Just listen to that slam at the end. That is the definition of brutality in 2012, and it comes right after THE most generic arpeggio sweep ever. You cannot hate this, it is TOO MUCH FUN. Listen to this while playing Quake 4. Just do it.
VOMITOUS is a band I am VERY EXCITED ABOUT. They’ve actually been around for a while, but it seems like they really got their ducks in a row in 2011 and released this monster of an EP. It’s loud, absolutely headbangable/moshable, and they have two vocalists! What more do you want???
There’s something very promising about a band who stick to conventions but still manage to stick out. There’s just a lot of genuine inspiration in these songs, and you can tell these dudes love making this music. These riffs are huge and much more threatening than any wannabe-Unearth breakdown these recent deathcore bands have pumped out (and I love a lot of those bands). There’s just a sincere element of badassery here that shines through and is actually empowering to listen to. This is THE band to watch in 2012, they are gonna drop some quality bombs.
Even after all this, I’m sure many people will listen and just say it’s Hatebreed with fart vocals, or whatever the elitists like to say about music that’s actually fun to listen to. The point is, there are still bands who are writing 10/10 jams with no intention of being special snowflakes, and no pretentious adherence to anything “old school”. It’s encouraging because it proves you can still make a masterpiece with the same old tools (via chromatic palm-muted riffs and vomit-vocals).
So what do you think? Am I enjoying music the wrong way? Is slam the last true form of artistic expression out there that hasn’t been bastardized by its creators being convinced people give a damn about their emotional motivation when they made it? Can you think of bands that slam even harder? Discuss!