Arms – BLACKOUT
What happens when every mathcore band of the last 10 years or so gets thrown in a blender with a heavy dose of methamphetamine? Arms is what happens. This Orlando quartet purveys a style of mathcore that is visceral, ugly and just plain chaotic. In fact, calling their sound “chaotic” doesn’t do it justice. Their newest full-length release, BLACKOUT, comes four years after their debut LP, Bunk Alchemy. BLACKOUT takes the aural psychosis of its predecessor and does the impossible and makes it even more insane. The album unleashes 30 minutes of off-kilter rhythms, angular riffs, dissonant attacks and general unhinged instrumentation that refuses to let up. Those with heart conditions may want to stay away from this record. “Wolfspit” starts off the album with a short section of intertwining, serpentine melodies that bleed into a gruesome display of malformed, Converge-esque guitar riffs. Burly, down-tuned, metallic hardcore chords morph into hideous dissonance throughout, while complex drumming and gritty bass lines make up an equally unstable rhythm section. “Ceremonial Monster” sees angular, dagger-like leads being intertwined with rambunctious grooves, which are propelled by venomous, anguished vocals. The track also utilizes disjunctive rhythmic bursts à la Dillinger Escape Plan, and nauseating, writhing and sliding eccentricity à la Daughters. While most of the album is a like a whirlwind of disgusting riffs, some tracks on the record opt for different approaches. The title track relies on a high octane, barreling grooves to get its point across, and “Covert Messiah” churns out a series of muscular, metallic chugging riffs throughout its two-minute time-frame. In general, Arms provide an infinite number of twists and turns throughout BLACKOUT. Rhythms and tempos change on the drop of the dime and listeners are barraged with an arsenal of shape-shifting instrumentation. All of this may sound like a chaotic mess but everything here is well-structured and calculated. It is chaotic but it is controlled. BLACKOUT is, arguably, one of the better mathcore records to come out in recent years.
Release Date: January 30, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Wolfspit”, “Ceremonial Monster”, “Deer Slayer” and “Mountebank”
For Fans Of: See You Next Tuesday, Converge, Seizures and The Dillinger Escape Plan
Wet Teeth – Wet Teeth
New York multi-instrumentalist Dan Wilburn (ex-Mouth of the Architect) combines post-metal/sludge heaviness with hard rock swagger and post-hardcore anguish on his debut recording for his project, Wet Teeth. Sounding like the bastard child of The Ocean and Glassjaw, Wet Teeth simultaneously delivers thick, heavy instrumentation and memorability. The nine-track offering starts off strong with galloping, Mastodonian sludge on “Walk Through the Fire”. The song’s combination of down-tuned punishment and emotive, rough clean vocals is impeccably catchy. The majority of the album plays upon the dynamics between these bludgeoning sludge stylings and post-hardcore heart and attitude, but it does break the mold ever so often as well. Tracks like “Dead Weight” and “Rattle” unleash mammoth-sized grooves in abundance, but also toy with angular riff structures and sections of atmospheric post-rock. These elements of icy post-rock are further explored in the penultimate tune “A Night in the Heart of the Sun”; a somber instrumental tune that lulls the listener into a false sense of security before the final track, “The Illusionist”, begins its rambunctious, spiraling assault. Other tunes like the storming “Hello, Machines” infuses Wet Teeth‘s penchant for brooding post-metal with a dash of stoner metal strut. These previously mentioned tracks are probably the most enthralling of the pieces on the album. The first three tracks on Wet Teeth, while good, are very similar to each other in mood and structure. But from track four onward, as Wilburn starts to play around a bit more, the album begins to gain more of a personality and churns out some really memorable songs. It’s not perfect, but it is a solid step in the right direction for this project.
Release Date: February 29, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Low Heights”, “Dead Weight”, “Rattle” and “The Illusionist”
For Fans Of: The Ocean, Mouth of the Architect, The Mire and Driftoff