Welcome back to my humble abode, metal readers and gaze upon my new (old?) column; namely The Throwback. For those of you unfamiliar with my exploits over at The Number Of The Blog and my personal column Throwback Thursday, it was my mission to bring the best of old school to a new audience and I aim to do plenty more of this here at The Monolith.
The article for this particular album has me feeling like I am closing a chapter of my life, as I covered Acid Bath‘s When The Kite String Pops over a year ago and now it is time to enshrine their second and final album Paegan Terrorism Tactics in the same fashion. For those who are unfamiliar with the band they are a marriage of alternative rock, sludge, various other forms of metal, and with a flair for the macabre. Led by lead singer Dax Riggs and his visceral vocal assault, he both soothes and screams his way into your very core. He was joined by guitarist and current Goatwhore frontman Sammy Duet, drummer Jimmy Kyle, guitarist Mike Sanchez, and the late Audie Pitre; a team that can shift gears on a dime and make even the most hardcore of death metal fans blush at their vile lyrical content.
Enter Riggs’ opening screams on ‘Paegan Love Song‘, which become punctuated with sections actually sung by him as well. Listening to the beginning of this album is much like the song’s lyrics: “dying felt so god damned good today”! The guitar tone is one that is common for sludge metal, and the overall pace is much like something you’d hear from some of the better alternative metal bands of this era, such as Helmet. The production quality for this album helps to sell it to a much larger audience, but that is also balanced out by lyrics such as “I’m a Christian zombie by daylight, Satan, he come trippin’ ’round midnight, Circle jerkin’ redneck truckers’ dream”.
Following this up is the slowed down and eventually galloping of ‘Bleed Me An Ocean‘ which seems to take the mindset of a serial killer as it constantly revisits a want for bloodshed, even directly after a recent murder. “Let the blackness roll on, You bleed so easy, Let the blackness roll on, I was stoned to the drone of the blackness that hums”. The charge of the guitars and drums piece through the listener and make a lasting impact, as they buzz through your eardrums without warning. ‘Graveflower‘ deals with the specters of suicide as they reference many knives and razor blades and a girl who only can scream because “she has nothing left to say”. The band does a great job to display the bleakness of death and the best sections seem to occur when no vocals are heard, and after a very apt description has been laid out.
‘Diab Soule‘ is one of the most straightforward songs on the album; the pace flowing in and out of the painful gait of sludge metal and back into a rock beat throughout. Riggs’ screams really set the bar high for his clean vocals, yet he is one of the best I have ever heard at this technique as it seems like it is almost effortless for him.
The album also hits on some interesting points with a song like ‘New Death Sensation‘ as it comes off as a solemn and heartfelt piece, which as I have perceived it is a look at a death in the womb of a woman, and in typical fashion for the band, making a very morbid, grim, and all around vivid picture for your minds to picture.
With ‘Venus Blue‘ the band examines a multiple homicide and the remorse that follows. All during the first half of the song Riggs uses his cleans, but after the act is finally committed his throat-shredding screams take their place. Going from “How much more must we bleed her?, I cut their throats while they slept, I wept” to “Love is rotting on the vine, Crumbling in God’s sunshine, I am dying all the time”. The shift is quite sudden but effective; the mind is capable of doing just the same, so following the shift is no trouble. All the while the rhythm section keeps the band on the rails by pushing the emotional envelope, and touches of more somber feelings are added by the lead guitar.
‘New Corpse‘ is much more like the song ‘Toubabo Koomi’ from When the Kite String Pops, as the pace is blistering from start to finish, and seems to be from the perspective of an undertaker as he thinks about the level of decay that is taking place six feet beneath the ground.
There are not many more bands whose lyrics as quite as good as Acid Bath‘s, but another album chock full of amazing lyrics and vocal mastery would be Mr. Bungle‘s self-titled and Mike Patton doing just about everything to make that album work. It’s simply amazing each and every time I listen to either one of Acid Bath‘s albums because it always becomes an analytical, fruitful, and headbanging good time. I hope everybody is as excited about this column as I am because I have plenty of stories to tell but lacked the outlet to do so. Feel free to drop me a comment about a band you’d like to see covered, or just leave one as a sign of good faith. For what I’m currently listening to you can always check out my Last.fm page if you like. Now I leave you with a bit of alternative metal as well as a trip through the bizarre. Until next time!