Recently I’ve had the luxury of attending Ozzfest. As is typical of Ozzfest, there were two stages: the primary stage set up to accommodate the headlining bands, while the second, smaller stage set up for all the other, normally lesser, bands to play a short set. Also, as is the case for most Ozzfests, the second stage is musically very narrowly varied. This year, opting not to be the exception, was host to a plethora of metalcore bands, most of which mediocre at best. After being bombarded by metalcore for an entire morning, it was quite a refreshment for something different – anything different. Lo and behold, at about eleven o’ clock, a new band walked on to the stage, and a banner reading “Bad Acid Trip” and depicting their debut album’s cover art was haphazardly hung overheard.
I’ve had prior knowledge of Bad Acid trip prior to this event: first reading about them in an old issue of Guitar World about their connection with System of a Down through being produced by Daron Malakian and being hosted on Serj’s record label, Serjical Strike, and later by downloading a couple of their tracks from the internet. So, I must admit, when they came on to the stage, I was a bit biased to give them more of my attention than the rest of the other bands that played, but, from what I actually did pay attention to, Bad Acid Trip was by far one of the most unique and original sounding bands playing on the second stage that day. Humor seemed to be the driving force of the band, with the singer occasionally addressing the crowd (“Don’t just do something, stand there!
Make a square
pit!). Moderately impressed and further intrigued about the band, I set out to the local Best Buy to pick up a copy of their debut album, Lynch the Weirdo, and after giving them an honest listen several times, my opinion of them remains nearly the same.
Lynch the Weirdo wastes absolutely no time in getting to the humorous and dark groove of the album. “Cigarette Pack” starts up with a woman moaning over a simple guitar line. The music gradually becomes more eccentric as the song progresses, yet it manages to maintain its relative simplicity. Dirk Rogers comes into to song, and the tone is further set. His lyrics, halfway sung, halfway talked, are the driving force in the Lynch the Weirdo’s humor. The first few lines, We are your sex toys/plastic cunts and rubber dongs/helping your imagination to/grow nice and strong
, are a colorful variety, whose humorous tone is utilized throughout the album. “Cigarette Pack” works its way up to some decent guitar work in the middle section of the song, though rarely does the guitar much more than a vehicle to get Dirk’s message across.
The basic elements used in “Cigarette Pack” are reused continuously throughout the album. While “Cigarette Pack” is a fairly enjoyable song to listen to, much of the rest of the album starts to become very repetitive and tedious. Dirk’s psychotic shrieks are used in excess, and too often he reserves his half singing, half talking voice, the tone of which is what helps add to the humor of the album. Further more, the music often times becomes a blurry mess of sound and drum beats, making any distinction of rhythm impossible.
Despite the repetitiveness and lack of distinction amongst songs, there are still, ironically, several standout tracks. Occurring mostly towards the polar ends of the album, songs like “Cigarette Pack”, “Jump Rope, Spray Water”, “Beef Moo”, “Join the Circus”, and “Zombie Nation” are the most creative songs on the album. As with most of the songs on Lynch the Weirdo, each one of the aforementioned songs contains some commentary on some aspect of life, politics, or money. Though the topics mentioned are overly clichéd and have been used in excess by countless others, Bad Acid Trip still manages to express their message in a creative fashion, relying on Dirk’s colorfully offbeat humor in their lyrics. The musicianship is also more refined on these tracks, with the introduction to “Zombie Nation” being one of the most complex compositions Lynch the Weirdo has to offer.
Although Lynch the Weirdo manages to keep any hint of guitar virtuosity at bay, it does give hints at some very crafty playing. Amidst all the simple riffs and palm muted chugging, there’s an occasional brief note of greater skill. The first inclination is in “Cigarette Pack” with its Middle Eastern sounding guitar, very reminiscent of System of a Down. Another example lies in the hideously short track, “P.C.”, during the midsection. A drastic change of pace, even if it is only for a few seconds, the distorted guitars are done away with, and the bass and guitar take the lead with an easy, jazzy piece.
However, even as Lynch the Weirdo is anything but a complete revival of the progressive genre, the simplicity of it is by far enough to get the job done. There are numerous riffs which, while not very technical in the least bit, fit their respective songs perfectly. Such as in the case for tracks like “Cigarette Pack”, “Jump Rope, Spray Water”, “Plate of Shrimp”, “Habits of Clay”, and “Bad Acid Trip”, the guitar is basic, though meanwhile, the rest of the song is complemented.
Aside from these, however, many may find Lynch the Weirdo to be a nearly vaguely decent album at the very most. With the amount of repetitiveness it exhibits, a casual listener will most likely become bored of it after a few songs. Though, as it must be noted, the album plays itself very quickly. Even with seventeen songs, the album only clocks in at just under thirty-two minutes. The longest song on the album, “Join the Circus”, clocks in at just over three minutes in length, and there are several tracks that are in and out in less than one minute, with the shortest track on the album being fourteen seconds. While the album surely does not need any more tracks added to it, it would be vastly improved with longer songs, allowing for more development of songs. While the band strives to fit in with the grindcore genre, a little variation has never been a bad thing.
In conclusion, Lynch the Weirdo can be a hard album to swallow for some listeners. In its bare essentials, Bad Acid Trip’s debut is a high paced commentary on life and politics. Humor is the driving force in both the lyrics and the music. Highlights of this album definitely include the lyrics and the occasional mark of impressive musicianship, though they’re picked at and hampered by the negatives, which include extreme repetitiveness and the occasional over cheesiness of the lyrics. If you’re into trying something unique, this is something you may want to consider, though it’d probably be best to have a bit of a taste of the album before you eat the whole thing.
I rate this album a 3/5. It’s not very bad by any means, but it sure could have been a lot better.