Golden Oldies: Acid Bath – When the Kite Strings Pop

Now, I bet you were not expecting this from me, were you? What with me being all things death metal and all. Well as I am now writing my 200th article for Moshville Times and the fact that When the Kite Strings Pop is approaching its 25th anniversary next month, it felt a perfect time to make this an album that I urge you all to check out.

Acid Bath are one of those bands that the vast majority of metal folk have missed yet the few people that have heard them, worship them, and I worship Acid Bath. Formed in 1991 and only surviving six years before they disbanded after the untimely death of Audie Pitre due to some drunken arsehole driver, amongst other reasons. Musical differences played their part, too, with Sammy Duet forming Goatwhore and letting free his black and death metal leanings. Acid Bath were part of the NOLA scene back in the day and were based among the swamps of Houma, Louisiana, and with nothing better to do than getting together, getting high and jamming some songs, Acid Bath were formed.

One look at the front cover should give you an idea of some of the lyrical content within. Designed and painted by serial killer John Wayne Gacy before his execution, Pogo the Clown can be seen menacingly smiling with a bunch of coloured balloons.  Acid Bath’s admiration for serial killers, blood, sex and blasphemy on this debut album was rife and mixed with the Earth shuddering riffs of sludge metal. An album of this quality should be given multiple listens by any extreme metal fan. The only issue with getting new fans to hear the band is an ever going dispute with the record label that forbids social media sites like YouTube from ever playing any song from the album and is immediately taken down. But this post is more for the music and the band Acid Bath, for an album that I know word for word and will always be heralded in the metal underground.

Remember the UK heavy metal show that was put on late at night at some ungodly hour called Noisy Mothers? It was back in 1995 I think when I heard the song “Toubabo Koomi” with its mixture of groove, clean and rough vocals, and overall sound of the band where every instrument can be heard. It just captivated me. I simply had to buy this record but controversially, I can forego the first three tracks on the album and listen to “Finger Paintings of the Insane” with its beautifully sounding opening bass lines from Audie before the stunning vocals from the hugely underrated Dax Riggs. Dax has masterful clean vocals and I have since followed him and his adventures after Acid Bath as much as I have Sammy and Goatwhore. Sammy also contributes more shouting and screaming vocals to the track and throughout the record in his own style, for which he is renowned for today. There are elements of EyeHateGod and Crowbar in there, but the vocal styles set it apart.

Acid Bath did like to mix the pace up with their tunes with Sammy wanting to do the more extreme elements and Dax wanting to do ballads which is where most of his music nowadays resides. Being a death metal fan, a ballad like “Scream of the Butterfly” is not something that is normally on my radar but when you hear the beauty and magic within and lyrics such as “With sunlight in her hair she smiles like she don’t care / Her dreams of liquid blue, I cut my self again and again to remind myself of you”, you get immersed into the twisted minds of these freaks.

I could go on about every track on the remainder of this album, with the hardcore and black metal vocals in “Dr Seuss is Dead”, or “What Color is Death” which is better than anything Pantera put out at the time. Again though, you cannot compete with the masterful lyrics from Dax on this tune, which Phil Anselmo would never dream of – “What colour is death? The shade of an ice pick sinking into flesh, Sex-n-sex-n-sex-n-death, I don’t want you, I want your flesh”.

Acid Bath play sludge, doom, black and death metal with a touch of blues, goth and grunge if that helps you to decipher how they sound. Whatever genre of music that you listen to, you have to experience this album with its take on as many controversial subjects as you can expect on over an hour-long album. Their strength is to mix the tempo of songs so much yet still make it connect and powerful. A sterling job production-wise was done by Spike Cassidy of D.R.I., and they went on to record Paegan Terrorism Tactics before disbanding in 1997. Acid Bath have left a true hardcore underground following and if ever a band deserved to make the big time, Acid Bath were it. Listen to “Toubabo Koomi” below and understand why. Find the record and simply buy it. You will not be disappointed that you did.

Acid Bath: facebook

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June 20, 2020 4:25 PM

Good news friend & to anyone interested; although I’m a firm believer in buying physical albums & band merchandise, if yer really hurting, Rotten has allowed Spotify to stream every Acid Bath release, including the demos.

Don’t thank me, I’m a doctor.

Reply to  Ulf
June 23, 2020 12:02 PM

Good to know!