Withstand: “. . . and anger was a warm place to hide.”

This is a scary record.

Its cover bears a disturbing work of art that looks like a stylistic cross between the nightmares of H.R. Giger and Pushead. It has a disconcerting title that’s somehow surreal, violent and despairing, all at once. Its song titles paint a thematic picture oscillating between the apocalyptic and the fatalistic, ranging from “Last Judgement” and “All Souls” over to “Falling on Deaf Ears” and “Maybe Tomorrow”. The band’s very name implies teeth-grinding conflict.

And all that surface scariness pales in comparison to what resides inside: “. . . and anger was a warm place to hide” is filled with the kinds of songs that not only knock you to the floor on first contact, but then proceed to stand on your throat, laughing at your misfortune as you twitch and gasp for breath. And the scariest part is that you know you’re not going to be able to lift this musical jackboot off of your wind-pipe — because deep down inside you, your inner masochist will be squealing with delight at the delicious unpleasantness of the foul turn of events that has befallen you.

Guitarist Kevin Maloney, bassist Justin Markou and drummer Matt Fallon have created an incredibly dense strain of instrumental metal-core that simply throbs with undertones of mayhem; Roger Zalucky’s throaty exhortations only add to the air of powerful menace that permeates this disk like the smell of formaldehyde in a morgue.

Dark stuff? You bet. Strong stuff? Hell yeah. Good stuff? The best. Now will you please let go of my neck?

6 thoughts on “Withstand: “. . . and anger was a warm place to hide.”

  1. Always one of my favorites among your album reviews. The line “…delight at the delicious unpleasantness of the foul turn of events that has befallen you” is as apt an explanation of the appeal of extreme music as any other I’ve encountered.

    Be sure to post up some of those classic Clutch reviews as you find them. And your interview with Kim Deal is always a great read, as well.

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