OW! My goddamn head! Jesus, Retox make one hell of an intense racket. Four dudes with a wealth of experience in the San Diego hardcore scene between ’em, you could almost label Retox a supergroup. I suspect, though, if you did they’d kick your head in, or at least give you a nasty scowling at.
Centring around Justin Pearson – of Swing Kids, The Locust and a bajillion other bands infamy – and featuring long-time crony Gabe Serbian along with Michael Crain and Thor Dickey, Retox play what can be best described as an ugly, devolved version of The Locust’s artful, spastic take on grindcore. Stripping out the sci-fi keyboards and the jerky arrangements, Retox are left as a snotty-sounding, ball of hyperkinetic flailing punk/grind fury.
The opening pile-up of ‘The World is Ending And It’s About Time’ serves as a statement of intent and a blueprint for what is to follow – bratty, furious vocals, rough-edged guitar smashing out dirty punk chording and chugging, grindcore blurs, artsy discordant scree and scads of feedback, frantically rolling drums and splashing cymbals blasting away, punctuating the stop on a dime tendencies, and punchy rolling bass anchoring the whole shebang. The sound as a unified whole is thick, powerful, rough and ready and unrelenting.
Pearson has also brought his tart, twisted and macabre sense of humour over from The Locust, resulting in some surrealistically embittered lyrics and winning songtitles such as ‘Ten Pounds Of Shit In A Five Pound Bag’, ‘A Bastard On Father’s Day’ and ‘Sorry We Are Just Not Compatible’. As with The Locust, such wordplay is totally in fitting with the volcanic rage and warped guitar mangling that erupts from the speakers during ‘Ugly Animals’.
Weirdly more immediately accessible than the icy blasting angular oddness of The Locust, Retox will make the veins in the side of your head throb, give you a banging headache and make you want to smash the bejesus out of stuff. Who the hell could want more from an album?
Scribed by: Paul Roberston