Review Summary: It's not ear rape if you liked it..
There are many avenues of playing and presenting one’s music in order to keep the listener engaged and well, listening. Bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Swans accomplish this passively by creating a dense atmosphere through their music that one can either choose to explore or not. This leaves room for interpretation and vastly different levels of understanding and appreciation based on what you think the artist was trying to do. On the opposite end of that spectrum bands like Car Bomb take their music and beat you with it until you’re in the fetal position softly weeping in the corner, but then you realize, this is pretty good. This much more direct approach to presentation leaves little room for interpretation or speculation on what you think the artist is trying to do. With this convoluted barrage of low-toned guitars, heavy-hitting drums and constantly shifting time signatures, it’s pretty obvious what Car Bomb want to do, brutally attack and confuse your ears.
For something with such malicious intent, it’s hard not to grow to enjoy the sonic onslaught. Evident to musicians but maybe not so much to non musicians is these guys not only know what they’re doing with their instruments, they’re damn good. The level of concentration it must take to change gears back and forth on a dime makes mathcore intrinsically a more difficult genre to play then many others and Car Bomb’s sludge-tinged take on it works very well. The already off-kilter time signatures morph and change constantly throughout many of these songs which adds a degree of uncertainty to already a pretty darkly toned album. Another addition to this theme is the nearly complete omission of any wankery. No sweeps, scales, or arpeggios are utilized in this record, with only a small tapping bit at the end of “This Will Do The Job”. This may turn some people off but actually this decision fits the music perfectly. Dirty, chunky riffs are how Car Bomb gets their point across and combining that with the hard hitting drums makes for a truly brutal concoction.
Sprinkled throughout this release are flashes of the strange considering the tone of the album as a whole. At exactly two points Car Bomb actually goes soft on us. This may seem counter-intuitive but as a testament to their song writing prowess, these moments do not detract from neither the pacing nor the mood of the album. A Gnaw Your Tongues- like outro at the end of “Recursive Patterns” does nothing if not provide the listener a dark lull until you get snapped back awake by its abrupt ending and beginning of “Spirit of Poison” where we are treated to some strange Marilyn Manson sounding vocals (which honestly if you think about it is an upgrade from what we normally hear). “Soft” spot number two comes in the form of a short acoustic interlude in “Magic Bullet”. While its short length is both a good and bad thing, nothing is lost by its inclusion into the song. These moments are few and far between as the album as a whole is too focused on attacking you to worry about creating atmospheres.
This album is supposed to confuse and irritate your senses, be both brutal and yet coherent enough to call it mathcore, all for you to listen to it. Naming this album “ w^w^^w^w “ is proof enough of the sensibilities of Car Bomb and the type or record you’ll be getting yourself into. The experience however, is an immensely enjoyable one. Mathcore soaked in sludge is a potent combination that may not be groundbreaking but when done right the way like Car Bomb has here, is highly addictive.