CAR BOMB’S w^w^^w^w IS THEIR BEST YET
A few months ago, at Axl’s suggestion, I checked out an “oh-so-touching-movie” by the name of Why You Do This. Naturally, I already knew of Gojira, Lamb of God, Goatwhore, and heck, I had even heard of Bella Morte. But the Long Island noise polluters whose misadventures the bulk of the movie chronicled were a bit of a mystery to me. I probably wouldn’t have heard of them or had any interest in their music had this film not been plopped on my lap (and I probably wouldn’t have known they had a new album out if Axl hadn’t posted a link to their Bandcamp the other day).
The film’s topic in itself was worthwhile, but there was something else endearing about Car Bomb; the guys had a certain grim, comical acceptance of their circumstances, and vocalist Michael Dafferner — a true “mild mannered reporter” — put a person behind the shrieks, a vulnerable, insecure, and thoroughly self-deprecating one. It was hard to get a feel for their music just based on the clips in the work, but the people at play were intriguing enough to push me to impulse-buy their 2007 debut, Centralia.
Movie or not, Centralia was pretty cool, a tight mix of early Dillinger, Ion Dissonance and Candiria with just the slightest hint of melodic whim. That melodic whim, in particular, was what piqued my interest most. Whether it was Greg Kubacki’s inexplicably tuneful, yet still very noisy leads (see “Pieces of You”) or Dafferner’s creepy murmurs (“Hypnotic Worm”) that took up about 3 seconds of each song, it was clear that Car Bomb was only scratching the surface of what they could do. On their new album w^w^^w^w, consider that surface smashed.
It’s become an almost humorous album-hyping cliché for bands to say “the heavier parts are heavier and the melodic parts are more melodic.” This translates roughly to: “we overproduced the shit out of this thing and made our sing-songy choruses sound even more forced.” But the former phrase, in its originally intended use, for once applies here. ‹›Î6&^ﬂ‰ is the noisiest, most brutal, melodic, chaotic, atmospheriest, adventure-seeking shitstorm I’ve heard so far in 2012.
The thing that makes melody work for a band like Car Bomb is the same thing that made “singing” effective on Cattle Decapitation’s Monolith of Inhumanity; things can get as melodic as Howard Jones on a sunny day, but unlike Killswitch and the like, there is no relief, no reprieve from the chaos. The band doesn’t drop everything they’re doing and play hopscotch because clean vocals enter the equation. The furious outro of “Garrucha” makes that much clear. Dafferner’s whispy falsetto dances above an angular Botchuggah breakdown while a very irate lead vocal track roars on repeat, “PSYCHOPATHIC SLUT!”
While we’re on the topic of clean vox, Car Bomb just might have the closest thing they’ve ever penned to “single” in “Lower the Blade.” I have no doubts that this will be a polarizing track, but what is most astonishing about this piece is how inconceivably well they pulled it off. Dafferner unapologetically croons the chorus in a Moreno-esque warble, but the band, again, refuses to yield to his lead (at least for the most part). The three-piece fights him through it, with gnarly chord choices and an untamable rhythmic bulldoze, before finally giving way to a gorgeous post-chorus that recalls Textures at their dreamy best. Closing track “The Seconds” sees the band carrying on a similar balancing act. When Dafferner screams bloody murder over the wash of acoustic guitars midway through, it’s clear that something special (and deeply disturbing) has just happened.
All of this talk of melody is certainly not to give the impression that Car Bomb have gotten all mushy on us. Let it be known, *%*&^BG°Y will, without fail, rip your arse a new one. “The Sentinel,” “Finish It,” and “Third Revelation,” are some of the heaviest, most bat-shit-crazy displays of musicianship you will likely hear this year. The latter track is especially worthy of note. Hearing Gojira’s Joe Duplantier and Dafferner roar “I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE—I DRINK IT UP” is not the kind of thing you want to miss out on.
I can see some people finding ¥ƒ®˚¨∫∫˜µ unwieldy (pussies) or too out there (idiots) and those are certainly both respectable concerns. But with the spell of generic complacency that has seemingly invaded even the most adventurous heavy music genres as of late, I find it difficult not to gaze fondly upon it. In the end, I come back to the very question that Why You Do This posed: Why do they do it? ‘Cause they’re bosses at it.
(four and a half outta five horns)
Stream the entire album below, and purchase it via Bandcamp.