Barren Womb – Nique Everything (Spartan Records, 27 November 2015)
Barren Womb – Lizard Lounge (Loyal Blood Records, 22 May 2020)
Hello, friends and casual acquaintences! Nice to see you all once again. And at this point we’ve successfully navigated our way through half of another week, which almost feels like cause for celebration, doesn’t it? These days, we kind of have to take what we can get.
Anyway. Obviously the reason you are here is because you are looking for more new music, and the reason I’m here is to share some with you. Several years ago in a larger article about several other albums, we had taken a quick glance at a split record between Grizzlor (from Connecticut) and Barren Womb (from Norway).
Right after that article was published, I became aware of a full-length album by the latter of those two, which had been released several months after the split. I enjoyed that record quite a bit, but as seems to happen far too often, somehow I never got around to writing about it and sort of lost track of the band.
But now — they’ve got another new record due out just two days from now, so it seems like a great opportunity to kill two birds off my to-do list with one stone, so to speak. Here we go!
2015’s Nique Everything comes across with exactly the blend of tongue-in-cheek nihilism that its title would suggest. (I’ll leave you to consult your local French dictionary on your own time.)
Starting off is “Make Sure You Get Yr Whole Head in Front of the Shotgun,” whose lyrics (“every day is exactly the same / get up / go to work / still the king of mundane / uh huh”) are every bit as relatable today as they would have been at the time this was released — if not even more so! Between the slide guitar which has a rather country-western twang, and the post-hardcore/post-metal elements (distortion and yelling), I’m tempted to label this DSCWPM. (Just like DSBM, but with country-western-post-metal instead of black metal.)
From there the rest of the album leans more heavily into the post-hardcore direction, for the most part. But the peculiar mixture of acoustic and distorted electric guitar-strumming kind of lends the whole thing a little bit of rockabilly or gutter-punk vibe. By the time the last three songs roll around, what had been a relatively homogenized emulsion seems to be separating, as both “Devil Run the Game” and “Svart Hav” (Norwegian for “Black Sea”) are all acoustic, with folksy instrumentation like banjos, and slow shuffling ballad tempos; yet in between these two, “You Can’t Fire Me, Because I Quit” is rendered in much more of a straightforward hardcore-punk style.
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Since that time, presumably the duo has evolved their sound somewhat — or perhaps it has happened suddenly when it came time to record their newest creation. Either way, Lizard Lounge (which will be available this Friday) has ostensibly dropped the acoustic “country” elements (is it just me, or does it seem particularly arrogant for us to refer to a quintessentially American style of music as “country” music? Like as if no other country could have their own style of music? Maybe it would be better to say “Americana”…).
Instead, much of the album is primarily built upon fast-paced, fuzzed-out hardcore and avant-Am Rep-noise-rock. Plus in a couple cases, a bit of funky flair: “Crop Circle Jerk” and “Molten Pig” feature some pretty funky rhythms and off-kilter riffs, while “Hairy Palms” includes genuine funk-guitar tone and a drum part that could have been lifted directly from the Shaft soundtrack.
But one thing that clearly has not changed is their quirky sense of humor, as evidenced by song titles such as “You Do the Meth” and “Be Kind, Have Fun and Try Not to Die” (which complements the upbeat message of its name with some almost poppy, or at least melodic, elements).
“White Raven” (Nique Everything)
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