Monday, January 19, 2015

Fun as Hell: The Surprising Depth of Vomit Fist

There's a bad habit among metal heads whereby describing a band as "fun" or "silly" ends up translating to "lacking in musical depth."  This is obviously a stupid sentiment. It's always the band that takes its Tolkien cosplay way too seriously that ends up being way funnier than the grind band with dongs, pizza, and weed all over their album cover (See: Immortal). But a lot of bands get dismissed outright just for trying to be a little funny (See: Cannabis Corpse, Cephalic Carnage) even though your willingness to skewer metal's aesthetics and generally just have a sense of humor should have no bearing on the depth or quality of your musical composition. After all, what's smarter than good satire?

That said. New York's blackened grind trio Vomit Fist are definitely "silly." They wear hilariously overdone corpsepaint and have songs with names like "Ass Hammer" and spout lyrics about the (allegedly) poor hygiene habits of the French. But beneath that lies impressive sonic ability.

Kicking out riffs for Vomit Fist is 57-year-old Nick Didkovsky, founder and leader of the (very) long-running experimental rock and jazz outfit Doctor Nerve and his willingness and experience with functional experimentation is on full display here. On their debut EP, Forgive But Avenge, Vomit Fist blast with the precision and aggression you would expect from any deft blackened grind outfit, but everything feels like it's filtered through some kind of glassy warp field, with crumbling harmonics, off-kilter time signatures, creepy samples, and some unsettling (in a good way) half-singing. Despite frequently veering into punk, thrash, and hardcore territory, their sound remains remarkably cohesive and listenable.

This is smart grind that's fun as hell and I'm pumped to hear what they do next.

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