Review Summary: wow
In all seriousness, comedy in heavy metal is a capricious thing. Do it right and you receive a mild exhale out your audience’s noses between mosh pits whereas if you do it wrong, people abhor you so much that no amount of whimsical comedy can ever hope to mask the scars of criticism engraved so deeply into your soul. Raised by Owls are a comedy band. You can tell because, well, does the artwork, lyrics and song title not give it away…. Raised by Owls are also grindcore band. You can tell because the album has 21 songs and is still under an hour. Luckily, this band is able to force these two repelling forces together in a way that doesn’t make you cringe. Or at least not much.
If you’re not from Britain and the unsubtle topics this album discusses are alien to you, imagine someone dipping a rich tea biscuit into a mug of blood that says “I’m with stupid ->” on it. That’s the sort of image Raised by Owls are going for which was eloquently established on their previous release: “The Great British Grind Off”
. If Delia Smith were to create a recipe of how this band conceive ideas it might look something like this: take something normal- preferably stereotypically British- and modify it to look and sound ostentatiously gory. “Dreadful”
continues Raised By Owls’ unique aesthetic in grand fashion, largely focussing once again on more British Television. “Noel’s Haunted House Party” kicks things off nightmarishly as Mr Blobby’s voice echoes around dramatic chords- black metal at its most heretical has never sounded as terrifying as this. Other cuts such as “The Phillip Schofield Massacre”, “Halloween at Richard and Judy’s”, “Gordon Ramsay’s Insatiable Appetite for Human Flesh” and “Carol Vorderman’s Countdown to Extinction” also present a twisted version of televised entertainment where vicious howls contort around frantic death metal instrumentation in a way that is capable of ruining childhood nostalgia and the daytime entertainment for the unemployable.
When Raised by Owls aren’t ruining British telly, they focus on other important events that dominate the modern world, like Owen Wilson saying ‘wow’ on the cryptically titled “Owen Wilson says Wow”. Additionally, the influence of modernity bleeds into the instrumentation of this album as much as it does the lyricism. Destructive blast beats and a maelstrom of spiteful tremolo during “Netflix and Kill” insinuates the pressure felt when choosing a show to watch on Netflix, not to mention how it automatically plays the next episode before you have a chance to pause! Lastly, “The Ultimate Keyboard Warrior” is the absolute worst song ever heard in the history of metal. In fact, to even call this metal would be a joke!!!11!ONE! This insolent band attempts to evoke the sound of keyboard tapping via their pounding staccato riffs when in actual fact they come across as unoriginal and generic. LOL. They claim to play metal and yet they rip off other death metal bands like Obituary and Black Dahlia Murder, who aren’t even pvre metal BTW. 3/10.
Ironically, this album is actually a bobby dazzler. What makes Raised by Owls a corking comedy band is that if you only listened to the music, you’d hear a DIY produced grindcore record full of furiously dynamic riffing, fantastic guitar hooks, snarling vocals and an outstanding drummer on a murderous rampage. Ignore the theme of “Ant & Dec vs. The Evil Dead” and you can appreciate the moment where the trouncing guitar tone shifts from left to right and elevates the maddening rhythm up a notch. “Dreadful”
overflows with these moments. Admittedly some samples, like the sound of the Countdown Clock, My Blobby’s voice and the repetition of ‘coming’ in “Night of the Living Dildos” give the game away, but they still contain enough blistering songs to impress a diehard Carcass fan. Overall, this album is about as hilarious and calamitous as Brexit negotiations but as long as the world keeps churning out things to mock, Raised by Owls will never fade.