It’s not passed much since I’ve reviewed the latest work by Ben Levin but it seems that something linked to him has been released these days. He’s made animations for a lot of artists this year, and one of them got my attention both for the video and the music. Apparently, sick stuff calls other sick stuff, so the name of Car Bomb sprung up in May for the first single of their newest record, Mordial. They’ve been called the metal band that can count well and there’s a good reason for that. With the new record they made giant steps forward and we’re here to talk about the footprints that they’ve left in the metal community. It dropped on September 27th: let’s see how deep is the crater.
- Fade Out
- Vague Skies
- Scattered Sprites
- Dissect Yourself
- Blackened Battery
- Naked Fuse
Mordial Starts with synthetic, crystalline strings sliding down while low tones are sliding up towards a haunting guitar with majestic chords: the opening track couldn’t be more cinematic. Then, the arpeggios move down chromatically to the beginning of Fade Out, the song with the most recognizable structure. The second song is the representation of solitude (“When you leave the stage, the only sound you hear is ringing in your ears”) and it’s not casual that the song sections are so familiar: isn’t solitude a common feeling for everyone? At the end of the piece, the instrumental part of the refrain repeats itself slowing down before throwing itself into a djent-y frenzy.
In Vague Skies the grey atmosphere is a representation of both the dreams of the common man and the control that upper systems use to put pressure on the subjugates. Common people are not alone (“I’m with you under vague skies”) but they need to keep close each other in order to reclaim what’s theirs and let the inner strength burn. The solo guitar tapping part is the climax beyond the clouds that burns the grey away.
After the ascension, comes the descent. Scattered Sprites are fragments are caused by the landing of our inner self from the fiery heights, a deliberate fall with the purpose of fighting against control. The song is a continuous alternation of acceleration and deceleration, filthy syncopation gives space to atmospheric moments of which the latest Death would be proud of. A moment to spread the fusion solo and then the reprise of the intro guided by the fadeout. The track has been chosen as the second single and the video literally shows scattered sprites taken from the album cover and animated by Greg Kubacki (guitar).
And then comes the song that hyped the people on the internet before the release. The first single released on 30th May, animated by Ben Levin (never heard of him in this blog before?), Dissect Yourself is the shortest song but it’s freaking intense, lyrics halfway between a surgery manual and a philosophical essay about the corporal limits of the human mind. The choice to be a single couldn’t be more correct, simple in structure, fast, mind-blowing and, above all, it has one of the most intricate rhythmic patterns in today’s extreme music; Nonetheless Dissect has become a meme for old and new fans because of the super-stretched guitar tone that resembles a laser gun.
The sections that build Xoxoy (pronounced “ics ou ics ou uai”) could be the subject from a sue coming from Meshuggah and Gojira, if not for the fact that Joseph Duplantier, singer in the latter, and Johann Meyer, an engineer at Silvercord Studios, have been respectively creative and recording consultants. Oh, and Deftones too: obviously for the cries at the end of the track. Joking aside, they’re sung by Courtney Swain of Bent Knee (Yes: again one of the Ben Levin’s bands).
Hela is the name of a cell line taken from the tumoral brain of Henrietta Lacks (He…La) after her death and without permission, and it’s been used as the first cloned human cell. From this story derived the title and lyrics of the seventh track and probably the music itself, because the melodic matter it’s recycled to be used more and more to prosecute the tune in a natural (…artificial?) way.
Where Blackened Battery tries to sound like Metallica accelerated by drugs (no pun intended on the title), Mordial sounds very Car Bomb-y but not before tributing Meshuggah at the beginning, after the zen garden intro where clean guitar picks strings like rain on a surface. Raw and openness alternate to give both claustrophobic and agoraphobic sensations, you feel yourself exposed to this song which title makes you think of an undefined age. About Eyecide one can easily say that it constitutes a death metal fest by its own, effortless stop-and-goes, riffing time elastic as hell while the vocals tell you to not fool yourself by repeating the same mistakes over and over, building a wall to protect your own convictions.
If not for Naked Fuse, a sort of Jackson Pollock’s paint can that’s been thrown at the Mona Lisa, the album could close to the perfect ending of Antipatterns, resolving to the evolution of the Intro with synthetic galaxies of sound that culminate in a fade-out. But before that, the last straws of fury must be released. The topic of historic cycles continues, building on sick bends that make the metal matter liquid and elusive. Instead in Naked Fuse, the track that actually puts an end to the entire thing, the “liquid” metal is forged by sick acceleration and deceleration, even odder times than before, a guitar that makes its solo and then slides up towards the sky before interrupting the song with absolute silence. A rocket launched towards space on a journey with no return. The silence after the storm.
Mordial isn’t an easy album to describe and appreciate. It’s derivative on a side and revolutionary on the other side. Can a metal band tribute its influences in a manifest way and be among the most original ones at the same time? Car Bomb proves you that yes, it’s absolutely possible. This album will make people discuss; for all the others, it’s the most headbang-able record out there at the moment.
Written for you by Music Pills
Previous metal madness: Devin Townsend and his Empath
Previous animated-by-Ben Levin stuff: Ben Levin and his REM RAM
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