Review: Wallowing/Vixen Maw/Slabdragger/Thin – 4 Way Split
I can’t focus. And I don’t think I want to either. Everything is a let-down. Everything is canceled. So let’s embrace screaming chaos. Together or apart. It doesn’t matter. Anxiety and confusion is absolutely everywhere. Tastes and art reflect the still shattering planet we all currently inhabit.
This here 4 Way Split between Wallowing, Vixen Maw, Slabdragger and Thin is the sound I feel when I can’t focus. When the sheer idea of grabbing and clinging to anything for too long seems too comical to actually humor I feel like this music. It bounces. It kicks. It frustrates. And it gives your brain something to chew on. So let’s split it up and put it back together with grindcore slathered with doom and sludge.
This is the most manic thing you’re likely to hear this year. Frankly the musicians probably couldn’t care less if you see it as a whole project, or four mini projects. But you’re likely to get more out of the chaos than you initially thought. I know I certainly did.
This is the band I’m most familiar with. They had these toys available for a short time I was honestly considering getting. But with how obsessive I get with my hobbies I’d have gotten way too invested and followed their live show experience by dressing up like a beekeeper and making a real-life laser gun. They’re a blackened, noise, doom, grindcore, sci-fi obsessed band from Brighton, United Kingdom. Beekeepers Zak Duffield on vocals, Mark Roberts on vocals and soundscapes, Tom Harrison on guitar, Rauiri Boyden on bass, and Jon Wingrove on drums want to drag you to the outer limits of space sonically.
Devoid of a calm build-up Orbital Detitris plunges us into a raw auditory territory. Every note is played with fury without any sense of regard for anything but audio destruction. Forbidden Alien Tech is more panicked and menacing. Odd radio transmitter vocals give the song a Cold War feel. Zak and Mark shriek back and forth. And. We’re done already with the first band’s material.
Catch your breath. We’ve only just begun.
They’re a hard band to research. I couldn’t find a Facebook for band names and I’m assuming they do their recordings near a chainsaw wielding murderer they aren’t even afraid of anymore. I do know they reside in New York City. So if you live there, go find them as I have questions. Questions about their only proper album Hallelujah, Anxiety! and how they managed to pump so much into an eleven-minute album.
These mad lads tug hard and fast. Their portion starts with a creeping intro with Matilda before Cur overloads your brain. Septic Bloom feels like you woke up in a B horror movie designed by an acid head that really went above and beyond to recreate a scary environment. Bizarre samples and a flow into the waking nightmare that is Run.
Musically they’ve a lot going on. Obvious comparisons would be Machine Girl’s Wlfgrl album, but I think a better comparison would be like trying to score Tetsuo The Bullet Man in under five minutes.
Are you covered in sticky sweat? I know I am.
This is a fun London based band comprised of Jack Newnham on drums and vocals, Sam Thredder on guitar, and Yusuf Tary bass and vocals.
Starting like a remix of The Desert World from Super Mario 3 and exploding into what sounds like Cattle Decapitation breakdancing for street drugs while getting electric shock therapy, begins their portion Shrapnel City. Jennifer teeters on comprehensive lyrics but somehow I don’t see many singing along. Dual vocals that are so manipulated I have to assume the vocoder they used has a warranty that’s beyond void. A guitar groove flows through the whole track and drums that make me want to put my head through a fucking wall. Ending the Slabdragger portion is the more fun than it has any right to be with Phobos. It’s a horror punk style where they crank all of their best attributes into 110 seconds of brutality.
You know Brooklyn New York grindcore heartthrobs? You know the type. Kill as much as possible with the vocals and screwdriver of a guitar by Ashley Levine, Andrew Cortez on bass, and Fernando Morales on drums.
Deep Rest is less than a minute long. It’s a winding filthy track that make you feel emotionally bound up and not know if you’ll ever be let go. Crying out from pain Hypnopompia feels like a whip it high that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Hard to Look At is so short and so fast like an injury after falling off a bicycle into a rosebush, that’s on fire, but you were running late when you fell so, you’ve gotta move along and into I Don’t Know Where I Am. I Don’t Know Where I Am Going. A much lower and strangled affair like the fury and anxiety you’re experiencing completely removes any pain at all.
Clocking in at over a minute Never Wake is like doom on speed. Sludgy affects drench everything. Grunted Not Quite Right sounds like a bar fight between two Vikings in the middle of a peanut butter eating contest that turned bloody because the rules weren’t explained very well. Paradox is the screaming session we all do after a particularly bad day before you realize people can see you in your car. Ending everything Brutalist begins with a sample and has the more ferocious seconds in the entire listen, until a brief moment of quiet and then… what sounds like a campfire guitar brings everything to halt. That. Is. Hilarious.
My earbuds are caked with earwax. Does anyone have a safety pin?
This was a fun release for four bands similar enough to collaborate but different enough to distinguish between artists. It’s gotten me salivating for a mosh pit though. This is like transcendental moshing and that’s the best I can hope for at the moment.
Label: Sludgelord Records | Black Voodoo Records
Wallowing: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram
Vixen Maw: Bandcamp | Instagram
Slabdragger: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Thin: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Scribed by: Richard Murray