Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Curse Of A Shitty Drum Sound

THE ACCUSED – “The Curse Of Martha Splatterhead” CD ’09 (Southern Lord, US) – Funny about the Southern Lord label. I remember the days of seeing that name and thinking, damn what kind of kick-ass motherfucker are they going to lay on us this time?! Somehow, over time, that metamorphosed into my reaction being, damn, what kind of over-rated pseudo-intelligent drone-ass turd are they going to drop on our heads this time?! So, you can imagine my surprise when word came tumbling down the internet grapevine that Southern Lord had signed Seattle spatter-core merchants, THE ACCUSED. The truth is, it’s a bit of a stretch to call this album the work of THE ACCUSED anyway. While Tommy Niemeyer (guitar) still mans the 6-string, the rest of the band is now a different crew, particularly notable being Blaine Cook’s vocal slot now being filled by Brad Mowen. Anyone who has any familiarity with the band’s previous works knows that Cook’s throat was something of a modern medical marvel. The guy simply opened up his mouth and out came pouring bile, rusty razor blades, nail bomb fragments, and shrieks that could only be made by something a good bit less than human at midnight in a slaughterhouse. You’d hate to hang that kind of reputation on anybody, but Mowen does give it a good run and his work throughout this 14 track record is consistently good. Same can be said for the other 2 new guys, bassist Dorando Hodous and Mike Peterson on drums. The thing that makes the record work, at least musically, is the ever-familiar and yet volatile guitar work of Niemeyer. From pillar to post, Tommy delivers a non-stop riff barrage that sounds like a pissed-off cross between Bones and Gary Holt let loose at a Lady Gaga concert with a chainsaw. The reason I said “at least musically,” however, is the unfortunate drum sound. Actually, “unfortunate” is quite an understatement and it has precious little to do with the aforementioned Peterson’s chops. No, the guy can play. The problem is, his work is hampered by the most hideous, trash-can production this side of “St. Anger” and it also seriously mars not only the sound of the entire band but the listener’s enjoyment. It got to the point, about 2/3 of the way through the record that every time Niemeyer opened a song with a devastating riff, I was actually hoping the number would consist of just him playing and Mowen singing…just so I wouldn’t have to hear that fucking trash-can drum noise again! It’s a shame to say so, but after listening to this record enough to review it, I doubt I ever will again simply because of how God blessed annoying the drum production is, and you’re talking about a guy who used to listen to Natas rehearsals! Too bad, as while not THE ACCUSED of old, these guys can still tear it up. Damn Bam Bam


Mark said...

It seems no band is immune from the reunion cash-in. As soon as I saw no Blaine Cook, all my interest in hearing this just died. Over the years, my discussions with Blaine really convinced me that he was the pillar of this band, from the imagery to the concept to the metal/punk hybrid originality that made them so great. I hope the original band gets some $$ from the recent reissues of the early stuff.

raysrealm said...

Yeah, the vocals while not bad left me very non-plussed...ok, but surely not Blaine. If Tommy had called this something else and gotten the drum production (e gads!) in order, it could have been something to talk about in a more positive regard.