Chuggaboom is one of those bands which will always divide opinion; its attention grabbing creativity and bullying body breeding a minefield of irreverent assaults sure to blow up in the faces of the band for some and hit the sweet spot for just as many. Behind the character of the band and sound though is a craft and imagination which ensures however the lyrical prowess and content may work for you, musically the band is seriously formidable and to be taken only seriously; after all they in their own words are the “greatest metalcore band in the world”.
That statement of course is the first hue in the band’s satiric intent to spotlight the nonsense which colours, often fuels their chosen genre, the music scene generally, and indeed life. Music is a game which all involved have to play to some degree at some time, ChuggaBoom no exception, but as their debut album Zodiac Arrest shows, there is nothing stopping anyone taking pot shots, hefty swipes, and having merciless fun within that landscape. It is a devilment which drives the band’s sound and the collection of ravenous and inventive tracks within the album raising broad smiles in thoughts and imagination whilst exhausting the body with prime chunks of thickly satisfying metal.
The anonymous British five-piece uncage their new release through opener Raise the Roofie, the track immediately a bedlamic torrent of voices and sound which gets bolder and more ravenous as it intensifies, until eventually becoming a raging fury around a jagged riff and a violent rhythmic spine. Almost as quickly an impressive array of vocal styles and their delivery grabs ears, most expelled by the fine throat of Levi Taurus whilst guitarists John Virgo and Leo Carter sculpt a steely snarl and toxic grooving within their rousing and malevolent metalcore designs. Within its raucous belly though, the song has a perpetual line of inventive twists and spicy additives which ensures every minute is a fresh adventure within the core tempest, and a gripping persuasion which continues through the savage techno hued Unfriendly Operations Up On The Roof. The Browning comes to mind as the track courts ears and spills its animus; driving grooves leading thoughts and an ever increasing enjoyment further astray into a fluid and psychotic tapestry of sound and flavour.
Mad Skills Brah! is next, wrapping sinister cinematic keys around a rabid storm of riffs and predatory rhythms brewed by bassist Avira Caprica and drummer xKRIOSx from the off. The vocals show similar unhinged intent and imagination throughout whilst the deceptive calm hanging around with the clean tones of Taurus and ambience spilling keys reinforces the always available unpredictability which veins every song within Zodiac Arrest, as testified by 14 Year Olds Have Sex More Than Me straight after. Arguably, a more merciful proposal with angst lined vocals an early tempting, it too flings hostile hues and erosive textures at the senses. It does not quite live up to the thrills and spills of its predecessors yet continues to linger and entice after departure even as A BBQ In Antarctica spreads its own toxic beauty and atmospheric spite amidst a sonic devouring complete with melodic tempting. Again as much as you can call ChuggaBoom metalcore, there is plenty more to their expansive sound which reaps slithers of anything from post-hardcore to alternative metal, punk to straight edge heavy metal.
Another brutal pinnacle arrives with the insidious maelstrom of Smoke Rings of Saturn, vocals a broad range of demonic potency as the guitars chew and seduce the battered senses in equal mouth-watering measure. It is stirring stuff, another inescapable anthem which will surely tap into the instincts of fans and doubters alike, just as its successor Fat Guy In A Little Coat. The next track is deceptively accessible, at times creating a form of metal pop which between the catchiest of warm choruses paces and crawls over the senses to rip the heart out of the psyche and ear drums. The song did take longer to fully convince but eventually and continually since, has revealed the thickest temptation, though it is always eclipsed by the outstanding #TBT That Time I Made Out With Your Sister and its carnivorous intent and bewitching creative venom. At times it plays like Fall Out Boy does metalcore and in other moments creates a sonic psychosis which is Hollywood Undead meets Hell Puppets like with a delicious dose of The Locust included.
Humorously Elongating The Title Of This Song grinds and growls in ears next, its vicious funk as rapacious as the carnal textures spun by guitars and bass whilst the brilliant Ohana Means Family (You Bastard) opens the curtains on a dark vaudeville entrance which sweeps over and swoops upon the imagination with My Chemical Romance drama, subsequently releasing the jaws of creative hell for another greedy hunger in the appetite sent the way of the album.
The songs majestic theatre and rancor makes the perfect end to the album but no ChuggaBoom have one more treat in store, unleashing a bonus and fun cover of The Lonely Island track I Just Had Sex which is not a patch on their own irreverence but fits perfectly and enjoyably into the texture of the album thanks to the distinctive ChuggaBoom violation given to it.
You may get the joke or not, but for thumping uncompromising metal to get seriously infected by, Zodiac Arrest is the dog’s doodahs; hairs, smells, and all.
The self-released Zodiac Arrest is out now via all online stores and @ http://chuggaboom.bigcartel.com/
Pete Ringmaster 29/09/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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