[16th July 2013]
[Forge Again Records]
01. Slaughtered Vomit Doll
02. From Beyond
03. Lament Configuration
04. Cult of Thorn
05. Dirty Power
06. Portrait of the Artist
07. Gravity’s Rainbow
08. Rumble Fish
09. Stylized Violence
10. Grand Guignol
11. Burlesque Suicide
12. Altered States
Jeff Tuttle‘s name may well have a familiar ring to it. For those struggling to place exactly where they’ve heard it before, Jeff was Dillinger Escape Plan‘s second guitarist from 2007 to 2012 , joining the band shortly after the recording of Ire Works and leaving at the end of the Option Paralysis touring cycle.
The split appeared to be entirely amicable, and we didn’t have to wait long for Jeff’s creative juices to start flowing again. Having released Old Gods‘ self-titled debut EP in 2011, the band have wasted no time in moving on to their first full album, Stylized Violence.
Comparisons between Old Gods and Dillinger are natural and inevitable, so let’s get them out of the way. The most pointed difference is that Jeff has put down his guitar and picked up the microphone instead. There are no Weinmann-esque fretboard histrionics, but the band do exhibit the same levels of splenetic energy and cocksure swagger as Jeff’s former bandmates.
Firmly hardcore as opposed to mathcore, Old Gods have more in common with the furious assaults of Coilguns, Retox, KEN mode and, to a certain extent, Vision of Disorder. Piling through twelve high-octane tracks in twenty five minutes, Old Gods aren’t hanging about or taking any prisoners.
As well as looking to spread his creative wings upon leaving Dillinger, Jeff also enrolled in a Film Studies course, and his passion for movies – and horror and rebellion in particular – spills out into his lyrics.
A cursory investigation of the track listing leaves interested parties with a host of breadcrumbs to follow up. Opening track “Slaughtered Vomit Dolls” takes its name from one of the most bizarre and uncomfortable films I’ve ever seen. The Hellraiser and Halloween series are both obliquely referenced, as well as stories by HP Lovecraft, Thomas Pynchon and James Joyce, with more besides.
A spot of Googling on the name of the title track even leads to a particularly engaging essay on the use of stylized violence in movies by Margaret Bruder, which is well worth a read in its own right.
All of this underscores the fact that Old Gods are somewhat more than just a common-or-garden hardcore band. Their fury feels more focused and purposeful than the omnidirectional malaise spouted by many of their peers, making Stylized Violence and exhilarating and cathartic listen.
The white-knuckle rides of lead single “From Beyond” and “Dirty Power” are counterbalanced by mid-paced tracks like “Portrait of an Artist” and the excellent “Gravity’s Rainbow“, helping to maintain the listeners interest throughout its all-too-brief run time.
The bottom line is that Stylized Violence is a tightly written, intelligent and passionate record that will not only appeal to fans of Dillinger and more generalised metallic hardcore alike, but leave them hungry for more.