Saturday, 12 October 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Car Bomb, "Mordial"

By: Eeli Helin

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 27/09/19
Label: Independent | 
Holy Roar Records

Mordial” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Start
2. Fade Out
3. Vague Skies
4. Scattered Sprites
5. Dissect Yourself
6. Xoxoy
7. Hela
8. Blackened Battery
9. Mordial
10. Eyecide
11. Antipatterns
12. Naked Fuse

The Review:

If you are one of those people who went their way to declare the new Car Bomb album "Mordial" as the album of the year as soon as it was announced before hearing a single note, and want to stick to that notion without considering another side to it, I'd advice you not to read this review any further. Said album was released on September 27th to a wide acclaim, and the previous statements flew very broadly and high. Even though I got the album a month in advance, scribing a review took a while since after the first listen, I honestly didn't remember or even want to replay it. Given my expectations were gigantic, as their previous album "Meta" is simply one of the greatest records ever written, I still didn't even consider the possibility to be put off completely the way I was. Not to be overwhelmingly negative, after many, many listens, I can say "Mordial" is a good album, but that's about it.

Car Bomb's output has refined and evolved over the years, apparently hitting their peak with the anterior album, this newest one falling somewhere in the middle. "Mordial" is the kind of record that explores what has fallen through the cracks on the previous albums, and it thrives in just that. There's plenty of material that momentarily brings out the old giggling fanboy in me, but in its entirety, the album feels bland and flat. I mentioned that after the first listen I didn't feel the need to get back to it, and that is what underlines the opinion I have about it for the time being.

The customary, brain-melting and comprehension-meddling rhythms and weird effects dominate the overall scapes of "Mordial" exactly in a way most people were expecting them to do. While tracks like "Fade Out", "Vague Skies" and "Antipatterns" push the boundaries of what can be deemed rhythmical, at the same time they lack adhesiveness. It might sound stupid to say the twists and turns are hard to follow when the band in question is what it is, but few steadier and more digestable parts could've made a huge difference. You know, stuff that you can nod to. The integral chaotic and nonsensical aspect to the band is present constantly, but also feels too controlled this time around. Granted, the band's sound is deliberately mechanical, but that doesn't mean that the human touch should be left out completely. The atmosphere on "Mordial" is suffocated and more unnatural than before, which on it's part surely affects the taste it leaves behind it.

Not so surprisingly, the best moments on the album are those you didn't expect at all. Such things would be the clean guitars in the title track, the black metal-ish tremolo picking/ double kick section in "Eyecide", and the random Metallica influences on "Blackened Battery" for example. "Dissect Yourself", "Xoxoy", and "Naked Fuse" express the most "basic" side of the band, if you can call it that, but also work wonderfully each time. I'm aware of the contradictions I'm making here, but that's just to make my point clearer. There's better and worse sides to everything, but sadly the latter seems to stick with me when talking about this album. I’m also pretty surprised how ”Meshuggah” they went this time. Surely that band has had a huge effect on what Car Bomb is doing, but it’s a bit sad the lines can be drawn so directly to that one particular source of influence this time.

There's also a lot of recycled riffs and rhythms, which also goes to give that "between the cracks" feel to "Mordial". I don't doubt that people enjoy this album, but it feels that its place is somewhere in the middle and between everything. Opinions are prone to change, and I don't feel the need to state things definitively as I might be on the other end of the spectrum a year from now, but currently I feel that Car Bomb didn't reach the standard they ever so eloquently set for themselves with their past doings. 

”Mordial” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook