(Allen Griffin reviews the new album by Detroit’s Child Bite.)
While the infamous D-Beat has become nearly ubiquitous in some corners of the Extreme Metal world, Punk’s influence doesn’t seem to extend much beyond that these days. Rarely does a Punk band emerge now who harkens back to the genre’s early pioneers and the sense of sonic experimentalism that drove them to create such fascinating music. Detroit’s Child Bite are doing their best to fix that with their new album Negative Noise, due out on Housecore Records on April 1st.
The most immediate comparison one might pick up on as Child Bite does their thing is Dead Kennedys, albeit with the kind of sonic abrasiveness suitable for modern times.
Vocalist Shawn Knight certainly possesses a deranged, melodic quality in his harsh declarations and is at least somewhat reminiscent of Jello Biafra. And the guitar work seems to be a bastard blend of DK’s East Bay Ray and Black Flag’s Greg Ginn.
The guitar at times displays an almost surf-like influence, reminiscent of not only the Dead Kennedys but also Dead and Gone, who utilize the effect to create a more haunting atmosphere. Yet Child Bite continuously filters all their Hardcore fury through a dizzying number of rhythmic left-turns, and at times the rhythm section seems to be the true glue that holds the group together.
But Child Bite are not merely a tribute to Punk’s early days. Their music is continuously surprising, full of unexpected moments of sonic pleasure. The group often take advantage of dynamics, allowing such songs as “Video Blood” and “Hectic Generation” moments to breathe between the bursts of chaos, even if the effect is achieved just through a well-placed guitar arpeggio. At other times, they sucker-punch the listener with random moments of skronk and skree, the rhythm section always laying down a solid bedrock that allows the guitar the ability to go off-script.
Probably the most striking feature about Negative Noise, though, is the unpretentious yet top-notch musicianship. Every instrument functions independently, but the group is certainly a sum greater than its parts. The barrage of the music may lead the listener to overlook all the impressive guitar and bass runs peppered throughout each and every song. The drums hammer out the most hairpin turns with utmost precision, and the vocals never seem to lose their way during the assaults.
Child Bite are a veteran band, having been around since 2005, performing live and recording quite prolifically throughout their history. The experience shows. They are masters of their own sound and all the elements that go into it. Negative Noise possesses a brilliance and individuality all its own and is a refreshing breath of fetid air in an era saturated with a D-Beat-only approach to Punk and Hardcore.
Negative Noise was produced by Phil Anselmo and will be released on April 1 by Housecore Records.