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Monday, July 20, 2015

Album Review: The Whorehouse Massacre – Altar Of The Goat Skull

Self-releasing all but one of their first five releases, these fly-by-wire monsters from Ohio are a bit of a rare find. With few having heard their suffocating wall-of-death sound before, it’s a delight to finally wrap ears around it. Well, a delight compared to being poked in the eye with a burnt stick; a delight compared to being put in the stocks and having bricks thrown at you; a delight compared to having your ears syringed with hydrochloric acid. You get the idea.

One suspects their live show must be a bit hairy seeing as the three members all play bass. Luckily, Kyle M. is also adept at playing lead guitar and their vocalist, Willy P., also has a knack for bashing ten bells out of a drumkit. They’ve been hoiking out demos and EPs since 2005, and this latest release marks a compilation of some of their later material. Shot through with distortion and overdrive, the music within is undeniably aggressive, oppressively doomy, dense to the point of crushing and yet curiously hypnotic.

“Indignation” is the equivalent of aural mincemeat. Teeth-rattling bottom-end, sludge-hurling chugs and Neanderthal guttural sounds and animal grunts that form themselves into such eloquent wordplay as “Steel toe mother fucking your head into the curb” and “Choke on your last fucking screams”. No surprise then when it all slowly begins to disintegrate into a torrent of feedback. “Buried In The Darkness” digs out a soft and sweet longwave riff, whilst the scrambling “Bowels Of Hell” goes for something with a similarly bludgeoning sound and equally sympathetic lyrics – “Just another example of living human waste”. Oh hell, what a bundle of joy, this is.

There are no pauses between tracks but you’ll catch when they switch as the thing is like a patchwork quilt of jumps, skips and oblique key changes. There is very little variation in tone or deviation from style. “Sewer Dreams” makes a stab at it, with some flitting, tuneless, ethnic instrument buzzing like a rampant fly stuck in your right ear, but even here they refuse to let you out of the gutter. The grooviest thing is the Sloth cover, “Sassy Pants”, which pitches back and forth with a lively drum section and a quick switch-up in chord structures. It’s quickly down into their usual fare of heads-down, dark droning though. If you can make it as far as the fearsome “Temples Of Perdition” you’re doing well, but I swear if you do the band will have broken you. They broke me there – hell, I even cracked an exhausted smile. Something I last did at an Annotations Of An Autopsy show back in late 2008.

Essentially this is 45 minutes of careless, low-fi slops and barrel-scraping, death-obsessed, elephantine doom-mongering watered-down to the simple joys of constructing a song round a riff, spewing hate and ejecting face-melting levels of distortion. Basic, honest music with zero frills. And therein lays the true pleasure of The Whorehouse Massacre. With so many bands these days welding multiple genres together and throwing everything but the kitchen sink at their music, TWM stick a defiant middle finger up and say “suck on this, you fuck”.

Also online @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2015/06/the-whorehouse-massacre-altar-of-the-goat-skull-transcending-obscurity/
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