Review Summary: Excellent final album from one of the 90s most underappreciated bands.
Max Cavalera is a name that will be familiar to practically all fans of metal, being the founder of two of the biggest acts in the genre from the past twenty five years in Sepultura and Soulfly and all. Hopefully, a decent proportion of his fans will be aware of his 1994 creation, Nailbomb. The short-lived project showed great promise, despite only one record and two live performances in the Netherlands resulting from it. But in amongst the crash and thunder of every Cavalera album, a lone British accent could be heard alongside the legendary grunt of the Brazilian. This was the voice of Alex Newport, who, like Max, was fronting his own band at the time of Nailbomb, called Fudge Tunnel.
After the completion of Point Blank
, Nailbomb’s sole release in March 1994, Newport returned to Fudge Tunnel to make what would be, as they had promised, the band’s third and therefore final studio album later that year - The Complicated Futility Of Ignorance
This last album was a small but noticeable change in direction once again for the British trio, completed by David Ryley on bass and Adrian Parkin on drums. Newport’s time with Nailbomb seems to have led to an increased metal sound, this being a slight departure from 1993’s Creep Diets
which was more grunge orientated than the well known debut Hate Songs In E Minor
, but claims that they gave into the Nirvana fad with Creep Diets
are horribly unfair. This release though certainly moves away from the grunge style to the gritter and heavier grind of guitars alongside Newport’s gruff vocals and stomping rhythm section, with the metal influences all over it.
The bass is at the forefront of the album right next to the guitars and it’s enjoyable to hear the bass clearly especially on “Random Acts Of Cruelty” as it’s the bass plays the most adventurous lines of any of the instruments. That’s not to say it’s anything extraordinary. The musicianship is pretty basic, there being a lot times in the album where one could feel like they were being subjected to a mass of distortion with the odd lyric shouted at you from underneath all of this noise.
But for some reason it works. There isn’t a bad song on the album, and although the style could get monotonous for some after a while, the wide array of different beats and rhythms should be enough to keep most listeners interested for all eleven songs. It’s probably at its best in the early stages of the record, and the heaviest track, “Cover Up”, is easily the strongest here, but it’s definitely worth carrying on purely for the last proper song “Rudge With A G” for the madness of rhythms mashed together. Nearly every song deserves praise too for the sheer aggression Fudge Tunnel level at you, “Random Acts Of Cruelty” being the shining star in this sense with the band’s heavier approach working a treat and showing a genuine evolution in a much more serious outing compared to their previous releases.
It’s a shame Fudge tunnel didn’t go onto make anymore albums, because with The Complicated Futility
Of Ignorance they had clearly grown, subtly adding a new layer to their style with Alex clearly learning quite a lot from his time with Nailbomb despite it being a bit a joke for him. But, he felt the band had “exhausted the one riff we had”, and while that is a harsh self criticism, as any technical limitations do not bring the album down as the band use what they have to full effect, quitting on high will mean they could not possibly have been accused of milking a dead cow. Everything they put out, including this final album, are excellent.