Were Obliterations born too late? The Southern California quartet have made an explosive hardcore-meets-’70s-swagger joint with Poison Everything, their debut full-length for Southern Lord, but the album comes at a time when rock music—guitar music, even—is losing its cultural capital. Even if it inspires a few cheap “rock is dead” articles, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as rock and metal’s conservative wing has grown tiresome and irrelevant—see former W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes’ interview at this year’s Hellfest, where he displays his bitterness about hip-hop replacing metal as the rebellious music of choice, thus, reducing his chances to “make it” in the States. Obliterations charge on anyway, and Poison‘s energy makes it a vital record, even if it’s somewhat out of step.
Most of Poison is rock’n’roll as it should be—fuckin’ fast, fuckin’ loud, and ready with a joint and a case of whatever economy lager most litters your local punk house or DIY space (bringing Sierra Nevada to a house show? Get the fuck outta here!). Most songs are 2 minutes or shorter, and they barely stop to mull over the damage they’ve inflicted. This isn’t pure nihilism, however, as there’s also an influence from political punk and grindcore bands like Discharge and Napalm Death at hand here. The cover art, with its not-so-subtle references to Apple and Chase in Xerox black and white, is the Scum of 2014. (That eye on the top right corner bears quite a similarity to the eye on Discharge’s Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, too.) The lyrics deal with frustration from complacency, depression, and our decline into the apocalypse, all of which could have appeared on a crust album from the ’80s.
When Obliterations set aside the blinding frenzy Poison blossoms like a carrion flower. “Shame” is the album’s slowest song, but also one of the album’s best, a Motor City banger in the tradition of Rob Asheton and Fred Smith. Opening with a brief wave of feedback before going into a groovy riff that carries a tough haziness, “Shame” best combines the group’s voracious punkiness and feel for hooks. “Open Casket” also takes on a doomier approach, though it’s closer to the Melvins than Sabbath. “The Middle of the End” shows a slightly different side of Obliterations’ Detroit obsession, moving like Motown on nasty speed. Poison will not, no matter what teary-eyed rock Jimmy Swaggerts would hope, convince kids to burn their MacBooks and pick up Gibsons. It does, however, put forth scorched-earth attitude that is a common thread amongst the anger of youth, disaffected or privileged or otherwise. That attitude should never diminish, even if the its voice changes.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1tCdKRD