A couple weeks ago, we told you about the violent swarm of chaos that is the Pittsburgh metal scene, one that largely goes unnoticed locally because everyone who has any sway within the media is too busy kissing the asses of the latest thing that was big in NYC two years ago or something that sounds like fucking Dylan. But it’s here, and it’s fiery.
Thankfully one band that made it out into the world and has been crushing bones for several years now is Complete Failure, a band that’s been killing since 2006 and already has three full-length albums on their resume. Their music is furious, a little bit grindcore, a little bit death, a little bit hardcore, and all the way in your face. They’re ugly, burly, rough around the edges, and don’t give a damn if they hurt your feelings or your nerve endings. If you’re not ready for a massive beating, you might find yourself heaving on the ground wondering what hit you.
We last heard from ComFail on their destructive 2009 effort “Heal No Evil,” that they first released on their own in limited fashion. The album then, wisely, was picked up by Relapse (a label that knows a thing or two about the Pittsburgh scene), and they got the wider distribution that they deserved. Seeing their records in a major outlet like FYE was a huge win for the band, and they had more potential hands able to grab a copy of their work. While those outside the Pittsburgh area might have thought ComFail had gone silent since then, they have remained active locally and could be caught at any number of city limits venues pretty regularly. They were sharpening their weapons.
It’s four years later and the band is finally back with their chaotic new album “The Art Gospel of Aggravated Assault,” a 21-minute, 10 track album that is as pissed off and violent as the title indicates. They still remain on a big indie label, this time jumping to Season of Mist, so their records still should be pretty accessible. As for the music itself? It’s lean, mean, to the point, and as strong as any material the band has released to date. And ComFail’s back catalog is pretty strong as it is. As for the band itself, vocalist Joe Mack and drummer Mike Rosswog (formerly of Circle of Dead Children and Today Is the Day) remain, and joining them are guitarist James Curl, who’s been off an on with the band, and bassist Mark Bogacki, who also plays with another Pittsburgh group Storm King.
ComFail have a way with song titles, and they get right to it on opener “Mind Compf,” a song that opens with a thick bassline from Curl before it blows into shrieked growls, pounding grind, and total obliteration. “Errant Social Mile Marker” is math-marred and speedy, with barked vocals that sound inspired by classic hardcore, and a sweet, chewy groove that slices a path through the song. The title cut is furious and blistering, with Rosswog a complete animal behind the kit, battering shit to a pulp. “Head Hanger to Be” continues the tempo and practically grabs you by the ears and shakes your head bloody. “Drag Migrator” is muddy and doom encrusted, with a slurry overall tone and an eerie, drizzling serving of noise that holds a pillow over the song’s face.
“Exitist” also has some heavy groove-based guitar, and the drums once again are completely annihilated, with the song eventually pulling face first into noisy damage. “Defenseless Mechanisms of Self-Inflicted Heartbreak,” the wordiest of all the song titles, is crushing and blasts the hell out of you, and it also has a nice classic punk rock feel. “Disinvictus” follows along those same lines, and it’s a short, killer cut that moves in, destroys, and moves out. “Hero of the Church Herd” is the most unique track on here, with Mack snarling maniacally, speak singing over the mucky, murky verses, though eventually the song explodes and trudges back toward speed and insanity. Closer “The Unlove Overhue” is angry and intense, ripping out one final violent salvo before the record draws to its bone-crushing conclusion.
Complete Failure is one of the angriest, most uncompromising bands that Pittsburgh, and the entire metal world, has to offer, and they’ve not lost an ounce of their intensity over the years. In fact, as time goes on and their profile rises, they seem to get angrier and more agitated, perhaps realizing they need to generate more vitriol to serve all. Chances are they’ll never run out negative passion to fuel their fires anyway.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.comfail.com/
To buy the album, go here: http://e-shop.season-of-mist.com/en/items/complete-failure/the-art-gospel-of-aggravated-assault/cd/33814
For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/