I first stumbled across the Swiss band Matterhorn in the spring of last year when they had two songs up for streaming in advance of Iron Bonehead‘s CD release of their debut album, Crass Cleansing, and came away very impressed. I had a tough time categorizing the music, describing it then as a stew of extremity that included elements of thrash, speed metal, punk, black metal, and death metal. I further wrote:
“The overall impact is electrifying, not merely because of the speed and explosive energy of the tracks, but also because of the band’s skill in shifting gears on a dime, which they do frequently. The intricacy of their movements and the songwriting skill on display here, coupled with their palpably feral ferocity, set this apart from the vast majority of debuts.”
Now, Crass Cleansing will be reissued on November 22nd by Redefining Darkness Records (U.S.) and Dying Victim Productions (Europe) on CD, and in a new vinyl edition that has been remixed and remastered. The new edition also includes two new bonus tracks (recorded live), as a sign of what the band have been working on for the second album. One of those bonus tracks (“Bydying”) surfaced in August, and today we’re premiering the other one.
This new bonus track, “Clarity“, is massively head-moving, with big ringing and blaring riffs over a heavyweight rhythmic drive that will double you over at the waist. The distinctive vocals are raw, feral, and fiendish — as are the freakish arpeggios and the unexpected changes in rhythm, which include bursts of battering mayhem. The melodies shift from almost ecstatically fiery to frantic and deranged, and bruising and bleak, but the band repeatedly return to that mammoth opening riff, which is enormously charismatic, and grows increasingly so with each reappearance.
The adrenaline-fueled energy of the song does fall off a cliff about two-thirds of the way through the song, and the music drags, moans, and yowls like the final labored breaths of a massive dying beast. It’s an oppressive interlude, but have no fear — Matterhorn kick the music into driving gear again, with another display of raucous, rollicking, and mesmerizing extravagance.
In a nutshell, “Clarity” is fucking genius — but so is that other bonus track, “Bydying”. Like “Clarity” (and everything else on the album), it’s tough to pin down stylistically, but man is it a powerful kick to the nerve endings! The riffing is often faster than bats out of hell, and just as unpredictable in their rapidly veering course. The thunderous rhythm section provides the foundation for the guitar to fly through more permutations, both angular and deliriously fluid, than it’s possible to keep track of, as well as warped, reptilian displays that are easier to stay with, but thoroughly venomous. When the pacing of everything slows even more, a big growling bass pairs with the mercurial squall of the guitar in a way that becomes sinister and sorcerous.
And in case you missed that song, we’re including it below, along with today’s premiere of “Clarity“.