Monday 11 August 2014

Fistula - Vermin Prolificus (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: ETA 19/8/2014
Label:  To Live A Lie Records

‘Vermin Prolificus’ LP track listing:

1). Smoke,Cat Hair & Toenails 05:45
2). Harmful Situation 01:51
3). Pig Funeral 09:16
4). Sobriety 00:51
5). Upside Down 02:59
6). Vermin Prolificus 13:10
7). Goat Brothel 01:43


"Some heavy metal "rock" groups extol the virtues of drugs, and kids ‘worship’ these people." -sample leading off Vermin Prolificus, the billionth record oozing out from Fistula, who I'm now convinced are the reason why Cleveland is so goddamned dirty.

FUCK this album crushes!! UGHHHH!!

Pardon the paroxysm, but I may have just discovered a new favourite band. Until I received this album in my box I had only heard of these guys in passing, which blows me away considering how neatly they fit into my own personal taste (not to mention their sheer volume of output over the last 15-odd years. Seriously, 20 something releases since 98?? How did I miss this?! I almost feel like apologizing to the band.).

The 7 tracks on this beast, which is due out soon on To Live A Lie Records, showcase an almost absurdly relentless, over-the-top scathing brutality that will have all you doomed-out sludge junkies waking up from your nod to kick shit off shelves and throw your television through the window, then race outside to make sure it's still in good enough shape to pawn, burn all of your other records on a spoon and smoke your liiiiiiife.

I did a little research into past works before writing this to make sure it was no fluke, and it is clear that this is their brain on drugs. Opening with nauseous grooves on the somehow appropriately-titled "Smoke, Cat Hair & Toenails", the first tune ends with an -almost comical if it weren't depressing as fuck- repetitive sample of a girl affirming her love of drugs over her family…it immediately solidifies its position at just barely on the dark side of the bleakness/humour line. It's funny, but you kinda feel like an asshole for laughing.

The obvious reference is Eyehategod but these guys have a sick tightness that provides an excellent counterpoint behind their seeming raw, out of control approach that isn't just quite the same as that intentionally sloppy swamp-punk sound. You get the sense that whereas EHG came to the party to get fucked up, Fistula got high alone at home and came to fuck someone up.

Even in the quietest moments it is an ominous listen and the sheer weight of these riffs are punishing, but when it ramps up the speed you get the sense that this is where the tightness comes from. Furious, vitriolic, often well exceeding any hardcore tag and approaching the massively thick, viscous (viscous, not vicious!) post-grind of a good Nasum groove or Nails at their most chinese-eyed. Nowhere is this fusing of the fraternal twins sludge and grind elaborated on better than the true and obvious standout track on this thing, ‘Pig Funeral’. A hateful bog of slimy, soupy riffs over tense samples and surprisingly sing-song but ultra-negative lyrics:

"fuckin' pigs, they're all around
they run this shit, they run this town"

They run that riff into the ground and beyond, demanding constantly lower and harder head banging until you feel subterranean. A few minutes in and it accelerates into an almost thrash/punk sound that saves you from pounding your head into the floor, but after a brief shifting through various tempos and intensities, with slightly over a minute left, they tear off into a frenzied maniacal fastgrind demolition that holds strong until the track ends.

The song ‘Sobriety’ is 51 seconds long. Don't let that mislead you; however, as the now ubiquitous anti-State sample/intro takes up nearly half the track. Lucky us, the remaining 33 seconds are face-melting shrieked powerviolence-tinged grind that deftly renew the pace that terminated ‘Pig Funeral’ before leading into the velocity-veering ‘Upside Down’. This one may be heavy enough to throw down with the rest of the album, but it never quite builds the speed or the sub-bpm crawl of the other tracks and therefore feels a little middle of the road even though taken on its own is still pretty far above the norm.

A lot more rock n roll and probably a lot easier to listen to for people that aren't necessarily prepared for the level of bleakness brought by the rest of the tunes. Fistula's dualistic nature comes complete with the final two tracks, the title cut bashing you into bedrock with a dogged hypnotic repetition until the rabid ‘Goat Brothel’ rips you apart with a thrash that turns on the burners until it wrecks itself against the end of the record.

This release is ludicrously heavy and spiteful, and you owe it to yourself to suffer through the entire thing. Repeatedly.

Words by: James Harris

You can pick up a vinyl now at this location And DD here

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