BINGE
Toothache


4.0
excellent

Review

by Zack Lorenzen CONTRIBUTOR (36 Reviews)
November 8th, 2023 | 7 replies


Release Date: 04/01/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: EAT.

Hot off the messy dissolution of Oceansize, Mark Heron spiraled into an identity crisis: the band’s tentacled-limbed drummer drunk his memory to tatters on tours with side projects and flung himself to the Mediterranean to put some distance between himself and his nagging traumas. Rock bottom—or at least what should have been rock bottom—occurred when he broke his back in a sledding crash. The actual rock bottom came a handful of months after, once he’d developed an addiction to the OxyContin prescribed to him as a result of the accident. Desperate to get off the drug at the earliest opportunity, he quit it cold turkey. Seizures and an additional year on codeine to wean himself off its effects ensued. In a 2019 interview with The Drummer’s Journal, Heron recalled the aftermath: “I couldn’t sit on a drum stool. Everything went. No fitness. No power. Nothing. I couldn’t play.”

His road back to health, as he tells it, was simple, even if it meant putting himself through hell: “Getting back into drumming...refocused me. I knew it’s what I should be doing.” That Heron endeavored to work through the physical and emotional baggage of the kit in order to return to his clear passion is laudable. I wanted to root for him, however I could, and that interview ended with an opportunity to: “I don’t think I’ve told you about this new band I’m in called BINGE. We’ve just recorded some songs.”

That was 2019. Fans got a sneak preview of the project in live sessions posted just before the pandemic shut the world down, where donning balaclavas, Heron and guitarist/producer Rob Sewell (whose previous credits elude identification, so pardon the disproportionate background information) riffed out hard: Heron helmed all percussion duties with the punch and prowess of a man who’d seemingly never been broken. Sewell rode his slick, bobbing grooves with crunchy riffs that obscured where the guitar ended and the bass (effects? overdubs? who’s to say) began. His tones were thick as mucus: picture the skittish, mathy magic of early LITE or Tera Melos force-fed a diet of protein shakes, steak, and Lightning Bolt. Alchemize their strengths and the duo’s tour de force is undeniably technical, but not so steeped in showmanship that they ever lost the pulse they clearly held paramount.

Four years later, BINGE’s first studio effort has seen the light of day. It is a 30-minute EP called Toothache, and just as those videos suggested it would, it kicks ass.

The pummeling “Metatronian” and “Acrostic,” for instance, channel a hypothetical Night Verses as indebted to grunge and noise rock as they currently are to zany, clean prog metal. For Oceansize devotees, the DNA of songs where the band’s melody was strung like waving tassels to an underlying groove (“Trail of Fire,” anyone?). is passed down to this project. Though the dynamics don’t escalate in such sweeping extremes as they did on Frames, numbers like “Monosyllabic” will chug their way right into the comfort zone of anyone more impressed with maintained momentum than swells of grandiosity.

Love each approach as I do, Toothache admittedly feels like a one-trick pony in comparison, especially as it winds on: “Moodhoover” waxes on repetition for its own sake, the obvious dull patch on this project that neither justifies its already meager length nor detours into anything weirder. By the time closer “Insipid” rolls around, the techniques have all been flexed. You either fuck with them or you don’t.

Thankfully, I do. I think anyone with an ear for this brand of controlled chaos will—BINGE reside in the sweet spot where dexterity meets restraint, ambiguity melds with accessibility, and the crisp production presents no unnecessary barrier to entry. It throbs and nods and stamps its muddy feet along, music made of healing that nonetheless professes destruction. It’s raw. It’s raucous. It rips, and all your EP of the Year lists could be improved in a month’s time by keeping a spot open for these lads. No need to hold the door, though; they’ll just blow it off the damn hinges.



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user ratings (3)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
ashcrash9
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2023


3357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Figures a project in part inspired by sheer tenacity would get me out of my reviewing slump. Been a weird and stressful last few months for reasons I'd rather not get into, but I'm trying to re-saddle the horse here.



Check this out: https://binge.bandcamp.com/album/toothache

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2023


3068 Comments


Yo, nice review, sounds cool! Does this have vocals?

ashcrash9
Contributing Reviewer
November 8th 2023


3357 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nope, all instrumental

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2023


3068 Comments


mmmmm hit the first track and you certainly wouldn't think the drummer had missed a beat

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
November 12th 2023


61251 Comments


Shit damn, had no idea this was a thing - foot-in-the-door bump, will be checking for sure. Heron is a huge drummer, really glad he kicked his bullshit and got back where he belongs

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
December 28th 2023


16662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

will check ✅

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
December 29th 2023


16662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's tight



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