When your music editor knows you so well… “this has your name written all over it”, he was damn right! With Metz, The Jesus Lizard, Melvins and Girl Band cited as just a few of their influences, I’m already twitching over the play button. This quickly rising noise rock quartet from Portland, Oregon have released their self titled debut via Self Sabotage Records and it’s a blinder!
Chaos and noise rampage through my speakers making my toes curl and heart race in equal measures, pupils fully dilated, adrenaline surging through my veins, I’m aroused and suitably disturbed by this barrage of sound. Guitars are brash and squealing (Jay Mechling, Robert Comitz), the bass harsh (Christian Carmine), drums relentless and pounding (Chase Hall), all swathed by Robert’s desperate screams and raspy howls. But the album is so much more than just noise.
The doomy bass line in opener “Command + Comply” drills into your brain, attaches an invisible thread and yanks your head back and forth repeatedly whether you want to or not. Frantic and gnarly, this track draws you in as it builds layer upon layer of angsty vocals and distorted sound scapes, command and comply? No fuckin’ choice.
“God is Tan” (video below) is grunge drenched, in fact, shut your eyes and Kurt Cobain is on vocals. Densely captivating this track sees Chase pound his kit, you can almost visualise the blood splattered skins, brutal! Frantic guitars kick up the distortion level a notch, dissonant yet alluring which I just love.
The barbaric “Honour On Our Knees” is faster, harsher and just brilliant! Nirvana instantly spring to mind again, tortured, angry squalls lead this frantic track that’s as raw as they come. Again superb, catchy bass lines offering enough rhythm to reach the wider market of hard rock fans, this track is a pit opener for sure.
The rhythm section in “Headache” is monstrous, relentless battering and thrashing of instruments give an almighty depth that’s kudos to the production throughout this album. Robert’s pained cries punch through your soul and you barely take breath as the track crashes into an ebullient crescendo.
“Six Feet + A Box” has a slightly darker edge. A trippy, eerie intro ignites a more garage/lo fi sounding track, I love this change in pace and feel to the record. I can but envisage this live. This feel deliquesces into next track “Flora and Forna” with gobs of punk, here the Metz influence is apparent throughout, hamming up the vocals and mutilation of guitars gives it a coarse post punk vibe.
No let-up as “Gound” (sic) is thrust atop, boundless in energy and furor. Grating, harrowing vocals and agitated guitars leave an anxious taste in your mouth and a twist in your gut, yet leaves you lusting for more. Heaviest track “Thirteen Stairs” fulfils this lust in abundance. As does album closer “View From A Cross”. Hard hitting grunge rock consummated with thunderous drumming, spewed punk vocals and a clashing of instruments, it’s a colossal number!
Marriage + Cancer have produced a stunning debut, lashings of grunge and edgy post punk vibes throughout, this is already set to be my album of the year!
Header Image by Matt Koroulis
Marriage + Cancer is out now