Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sick/Tired - King of Dirt (Hugh Deasy)

I can think of no better way to start this review than by saying I have no idea what this album is... powerviolence, grindcore, sludge? All of the above? Does it matter? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. First off, I'm not a powerviolence-expert, but more of an enthusiastic amateur, but what I'm hearing here is very much in the newer vein, think Cloud Rat, Water Torture, False Light, the “Class of 2012” as I don't like to call them. Sick/Tired are viscous, vicious, angry, sludgy ugliness.

King Of Dirt

As with most newer powerviolence bands I've heard (at least amongst those who don't have “pizza” or “bong” in their name and an encyclopaedic knowledge of trashy '80s straight to VHS flicks) there's a definite purpose to this music. In spite of everything, this is not chaotic music, each member knows exactly what they're doing, the rhythm section is tight as a bastard (I must mention the drummer who has the most amazingly aggressive but metronomic blastbeats I've ever heard, it even makes me think of Pete “the feet” Sandoval at times!) while the guitars careen through the songs.

Here, I have to return to my earlier confusion about what the hell this actually is, because it's not the faster-than-fastcore of Capitalist Casualties or Charles Bronson, this is sludge at a million miles an hour. Sometimes Sick/Tired seem content to shred on discordant-drone bleats, while the drummer goes hog-wild, while elsewhere they jam on those strange kind of squiggly tremolo-picked half-riffs that seem to collapse in on themselves that Discordance Axis mastered back in the day. Perhaps I'm exaggerating this, but the album is just really hard to pin down, and all the better for it.

Starting with the aforementioned drone-bleats, the first half of this album really sprints past you, as, if my maths is correct, 7 songs in about 6 minutes tends to do. However, once it starts to sink in, the sheer ability these guys have to pack so much into 20 seconds of music is phenomenal, take “From Parts Uknown” for example, at 00:37 seconds long, they manage to traverse straight edge hardcore, old timey grind and some weird grinding riff that I wouldn't be surprised to find in a Gridlink song.

It is interesting to see the halfway point being marked by a cover of Corrosion of Conformity's “Rabid Dogs” on here, no less because it's also introduced with a sample from Weird Science (which I must say gave me a good laugh). It does seem to stick out though, amidst the dankness, when you come across a song that's more... partyviolence, nonetheless it's a rip-roaring cover, where they pretty much make it their own.

It'd also be pretty dumb-bum ignorant not to talk about the artwork on this critter; Dan Rossiter it appears has done the most part of Sick/Tired's artwork, and for this album there's a really nice Harry Clarke feel to it, crossed with M.C. Escher. I find it interesting to counterpoint it with the art of Nick Blinko for example, specifically for the Iron Lung “Sexless//No Sex” album, where the constantly shifting, madcap geometry leads you to a sort of suffocated desolation. I can't but notice the sense of space in Rossiter's work here, with its flat colours and bogus perspective, kinda like a Japanese woodblock. This “space” mightn't be immediately apparent in the music, but certainly from “Failed Delusions”onward, there's a noticeable loosening in the songs, which really allows for the album to get into your ear, with perhaps the most memorable track “Cracked Dome” boasting a fucked up zig-zagging beezer (that word doesn't exist) of a riff. All that opens the album up for its absolutely killer finisher, the self-titled track that, even while blasting, trudges along like a giant on expired heart medicine.

This is a darned tasty album, and if you find it in a shop (unlikely) or if they play a rock show near you (less unlikely) buy the shit out of it (and a shirt, and get me some patches while you're at it), and skank around your TV room in front of your extended family this “Christmas festive period” to it. Sick/Tired are a slimy grimy bunch of goons who know that humans are garbage and make your favourite hits, so the kinda guys you'd want to play a round or two of basketball with. Get dis album.

If anything I've said above is just plain wrong, feel free to correct it in the comments, as I said, I ain't no expert, and I tried to do as little background research as possible just to stay as objectively subjective as possible. I also haven't been speaking much English in the past while, so if my writing's gone to shit, I blame you.

.:Bandcamp – free download:.

.:Artist Dan Rossiter's site:.


Guest writer, Hugh Deasy and president of the Maynooth Metal Fuckhead Patrol.

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