In an ever expanding sea of uninspiring, generic and derivative music it's always a pleasure to find someone that's genuinely trying to make something new, something unique, something inventive. Such is the case with this Maine based collective. They fuse Hip Hop/Rap with slow, heavy guitars. so far so Rap Metal. Lyrically they write dark, Gothic lyrics, often based on grim folklore or the Chthulu Mythos which sort of make them Horrorcore or even Nerdcore too There is much more to them than that however. They weave all of their various influences into one cohesive sound that isn't any one thing and is much more than is base components
There are three core members who go by the probably-not-their-birth names: Brzowski, C Money Burns and Mo Niklz, apparently all solo performers in their own right. They're bolstered by guest performers, singers and musicians who crop up with varying degrees of regularity.
The opening track is Death By Numbers; a sample-laden, articulate diatribe that rails against the state of music in modern times. Musically it has an air of grandness and import. It's more of a Hip Hop song than a Metal one, the guitars are quite lightweight but suit the song well, Brzowski raps the verses but sings the understated chorus. It's a good introduction to both the band and the album.
Following that is Barren Orchard which documents the fate of the Tillinghast family of Rhode Island, It's said that Stukely Tillinghast, a successful apple farmer, had a vivid dream that half of his Orchard withered and died. Soon after one of his children, Sarah Tillinghast became seriously ill with Tuberculosis and passed away. Not long after one of his sons developed the same symptoms but said that Sarah came to visit him at night, sitting on his chest and hindering his breathing. He died too. So it went with another four of his children, all of them saying they saw Sarah before they died. Eventually his wife, Honor, contracted the disease. Fearing Vampirism, Stukely and some other townsfolk, dug up all of his deceased children. All were decaying as you would imagine. All that is, except Sarah who looked as alive as she had in life. Horrified they cut out her heart which burst out a gushing of fresh blood. They burnt her heart and his wife gradually became well. Half of Stukely and Honor's children had withered and died, just like the orchard in his dream.
So yeah, that's fairly awful. The song itself is excellent. It has a disturbing sense of wrongness and creeepiness to it. The rapped verses have a sense of urgency and the chorus is again sung and is catchy and atmospheric. There's a bridge that's one line repeated "The barren orchard decides which fruit will die in the vine" that's sung in an almost Black Metal raspy vocal and is really effective
|(L-R) - Renee Coolbrith, C Money Burns, Brzowski, Mo Niklz, Jane Boxall|
- Photo by Melissa Duron
The next track is Sphere Of Trash and the most Metal thing on The Glitter Of Putrescence. It's a slow, pounding dirge that's devoid of any rapping, the vocals alternate between Death Metal grunts and a Doomy drawl. Lyrically it's about pollution and the way humanity has ruined the world. The punningly titled Chthonic Youth that isn't anything to do with HP Lovecraft as I first though but rather the original Greek meaning of the word which is 'beneath the earth' or 'underground'. Brzowski spits out a rant that's themed somewhere between the state of the world in Sphere Of Trash and the state of music in Death by Numbers. It's driven along by a repetitive clanking riff and is ushered out by a guest solo performed by a chap called Angus McFarland from the Trad. Metal band Hessian
Small Hours is a slower, atmospheric song. Again, no rapping, it's more straight forward Goth Rock with air of melancholy. There's a subtle, chugging riff that runs through it that's nice. This is one of two songs that feature drums by Jane Boxall who seems to be a more permanent fixture when they play live. She's known to this blog as the drummer for Ladyshark (You can read Eddie's review of Monsters HERE) but, in a "Eeee, it's a small world in't it?" quirk of fate, I'm more familiar with her from a much older band she was in; a Grungy/Indie Rock band called Heroic Trio. I saw them at a couple of Uni gigs, here in the UK probably around the turn of the Millennium. I still have an EP somewhere in the mysterious depths of my attic. Do attics have depths? Anyway, they were pretty good.
Roll Over Cerberus is a stomping Stoner Rock Song and Brzowski sounds a little like Henry Rollins on the verses to me. The addition of Renee Coolbrith's backing vocals adds a welcome dimension that you didn't realise was missing until it wasn't.
The title track is probably the truest representation of the band, Brzowski both sings and raps, C money Burns' guitar crunch pleasingly and both Jane Boxall and Renee Coolbrith contribute and round out the sound well. The chorus of "We ride in style" is great!
The final track, The Severed Head Of John The Baptist is a dark, twisted Swamp Blues track that has elements of Clutch's bluesier side to it. It's semi acoustic though it's also crushingly heavy in places. it brings The Glitter Of Putrescence to a disturbing and creepy end,
|C Money Burns, Jane Boxall, Brzowski and Mo Niklz|
- Photo by Bill Bogusky
The Glitter Of Putrescence can, at times, be a disturbing and unsettling listen but it's also a varied, interesting and unique album. My only real issue with it is that 8 tracks is too few for a full album unless they're of abnormal length. Which none of the songs on offer here are. For that reason I'm knocking a point off my final score but otherwise I really enjoyed this album and I'll be keeping an eye out for further releases.
7 out of 10 - This is good and well worth a check
Best track: Barren Orchard
The Glitter Of Putrescence is released on 23rd September
You can purchase and stream it and Vinyl Cape's BandCamp HERE