DeathCrawl – Acceptable Level of Misery (self-released, 27 October 2017)
Enhailer – Dumb Enough to Care (Blackseed Records, 11 December 2017 / vinyl to be released via Burnout Records, 14 June 2018)
Last time we checked in with Cleveland-area discordant agonists DeathCrawl was nearly five years ago when we introduced you to Accelerated Rate of Decay, the album they released the previous year. And then, following that incredibly vicious piece of work, this trio has put out another album late last year — which we will be talking about today.
Why today? Well, it has been brought to our attention that tonight the band will be performing in the faroff land of Canton, Ohio for the first time ever. So this belated look at Acceptable Level of Misery is our way of helping to spread the word about that.
And on the subject of releases from near the end of 2017, Enhailer from Akron (which is partway between Cleveland and Canton) will be playing at that same show tonight, and we’re also going to cover their Dumb Enough to Care EP which first came out back in December, but which will be coming out as a 10″ record in about a month and a half. Cheers!
Anyone who has heard DeathCrawl in the past should not be surprised by what they find here: starting off with harsh noise (courtesy of one of the analog synths the band likes to use to accentuate certain moments throughout their discography), they dive right in with the characteristic heavy distortion, punch-you-in-the-chest drumming, vocals dripping with toxic waste that get traded back and forth amongst the three musicians, and doomy guitar riffs that feel like listening to thrash with a thumb accidentally pressed down on the turntable.
After warming up with two relatively shorter tracks, the other six songs are all at least six minutes long, but mostly in the seven-to-nine range. One novel element that gets brought to the party: “Universally Diminished” adds some clean vocals (well, relatively) and even some unexpected harmonies, and musically there are a few almost-major-key bright spots in a sea of otherwise unforgiving darkness. Later tracks “Corrupted Earth” and “Derelict” see the return of some clean(ish) vocals (meaning, like heavy-stoner-sludge-style vocals) butting heads with (though sometimes in unison with) the standard grumbling and snarling parts.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a DeathCrawl album without some delightful song titles. A few of the highlights here include “Entombed By All the Things We Seek,” “Perpetually Damned,” and definitely a person favorite, “No Good at Living.” That last one rather poignantly encapsulates a feeling that surely all of us experience at some point just about every day. That universal relatability probably played a role in landing Acceptable Level of Misery on our Top 17 of 2017 list. Plus the simple fact that it just sounds so damn good.
Dumb Enough to Care, advertised as an EP, actually consists of a single eighteen-minute-long magnum opus. Although there is enough variety here to keep things interesting so that it doesn’t feel nearly so long while listening. The track starts off with a mid-to-late-90s hard rock sound, alternated with crushing sludge-doom riffs — then really kicks things up a notch with slower/heavier doom riffs, coupled with a distorted-to-hell organ sound, and finally gut-wrenchingly roared vocals.
During the fuzzy, mid-tempoed stoner-doom midsection, the vocals drop out in favor of an assortment of dialogue samples — chief among which is a dissertation about the feeling of power resulting from killing people (the source of which has eluded any attempted Google searches thus far), as well as a central theme of not caring. While this might be more meaningful or appealing to a listener who was already familiar with the source material, it certainly doesn’t detract from the song as a whole.
Especially since we soon shift back to the real highlight of the piece, another go-round with the slower doom part from earlier, with the tortured organ, hellish vocals, the whole nine yards — the rest of the way to the end.
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Don’t forget about both bands appearing at the Buzzbin in Canton tonight — great music and supporting a great cause, more details down below.
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Enhailer, Matter of Planets, DeathCrawl
at Buzzbin Art & Music Shop, Canton OH
Friday, 27 April 2018 – 8pm – $5
more details and ticket info can be found here
half of all proceeds will be donated to Domestic Violence Project Inc.