If a band chooses to name themselves after a moribund beautiful creature, their music had better be just vicious enough to bring about said near-death state or worse. Luckily for Georgia’s Dying Whale, this so happens to be the case with their frantic, gutter-spawned tunes.
Dying Whale‘s sound is a frenetic amalgam of post-hardcore, mathcore, sludge and others, effortlessly blending the styles into artistically flawed, dirty and vile blend. On their 2013 LP, Disorder, the band were much more playful with their sound – almost harking back to the early 2000s when post-hardcore flirted with angularity and more chaotic structures. On Last Moments of Misery, however, the band aren’t playing around anymore.
Following lineup shifts that have left them a trio, the band have reassembling and refurbished their sound into something grittier than their previous efforts. While the musical chaos still remains vital to their sound, it’s not quite as exuberant this time around. The songs are more visceral and violent, aiming at trapping the listener in maelstroms of sludgy grit and knife-like riffs. If the album’s title didn’t give it away, Last Moments of Misery is a hellacious listen.
The guitars churn out angular riff salads, the bass grumbles like a rabid animal, and the percussion delivers an abundance of off-kilter rhythms across 35 intense minutes complete with a raw production style. Tracks like “Black Sky Absorbs You In” and “Average Over Awful” show the band really indulging in the hardcore aspect of their sound with their steady bombardments of mosh-inducing chord progressions, coupled with their penchant for rhythmic derailment. Bassist and vocalist Matt Zagorki helps to maintain this aural mayhem with his collection of acidic rasps, screams and barks.
Then there are more dizzying cuts like “The Cloud I Hold”, “The Tear Between Life and Love” and “The Reaper”, each of which deliver flurries of angular, skin-tearing riffs. These tracks immediately plunge the listener into a world of hurt, ripping them into bloody ribbons with their assaults of disfigured rampage and chugging devastation. But these tracks aren’t just a blur of guitar acrobatics as there are certain aspects of each track that give them their own character, such as “The Tear Between Life and Love”‘s Fear Before-esque jagged beatdowns or “The Reaper”‘s apocalyptic sludge tendencies.
But out of everything Last Moments of Misery has to offer, tracks like “One Final First Kiss” really steal the show. Tunes of this ilk combine all of the band’s strengths into a wondrous display of auditory carnage with a bit of eccentricity for good measure. This tune in particular storms out of the gate with shape-shifting hardcore stampedes that morph into more dissonant, elaborate shapes as the song progresses. Soon the whirlwinds of riffs give way to a dismal piano dirge that crawls menacingly before bleeding into a climax of some of the more soul-wrenching, abysmal sludge riffs on the record.
Last Moments of Misery is a rambunctious, unpredictable record that will batter and bruise, but will leave fans of volatile hardcore with stupid grins on their faces. This record is turbulent, savage, complex, and is a massive leap forward for this Georgia band.
Release Date: February 3, 2017
Label: Nefarious Industries
Favorite Tracks: “Thorn Sized Wounds”, “One Final First Kiss”, “Denial”, “The Line Between Life and Love” and “The Reaper”
For Fans Of: Fear Before the March of Flames, Every Time I Die and Coalesce