When this site isn’t a metal site and isn’t a metal site pretending not to also be a pro wrestling site, it is a site that revels in mental illness and the effects of crippling anxiety. I’m a life-long sufferer, am medicated, do go to therapy, so any time I see the word anxiety being mixed into something in the metal world, I feel like I’m instantly going to be able to connect.
That was the case with Chicago bruisers Oozing Wound’s new record “High Anxiety,” their fourth full-length overall and easily their most destructive. The anxiety in this case, though, isn’t one that cripples and instead is one that fuels anger and disgust toward those things and people who chew on the nerve endings incessantly. One of the main targets on this new album is the music industry and its tendency to churn out new fads and sub-cultures, only to burn them out and leave them behind. Metal’s not innocent by any means when it comes to this type of thing, and there are so many here-today, gone-later-today movements that really good bands get mangled in the gears. Even Oozing Wound—vocalist/guitarist Zack Weil, bassist Kevin Cribbin, drummer Kyle Reynolds—have been subject to the bullshit “are they metal?” crap because they’re not decked out in all black and their songs can be humorous. Did those people miss the entire thrash wave in the 1980s? Anyway, who cares about that, as Oozing Wound has another absolute ripper on their hands with “High Anxiety.”
“Surrounding By Fucking Idiots” starts the record and sets the tone early with noise spilling into the assault, abrasive vocals mangling, and the guitars heating up set to melt flesh. The back end gets aggravated and chunky, leading to a finish that blasts off the doors. “Filth Chisel” has a sound cloud hovering overhead before the track hit the gas pedal and hits the ground speeding. Maniacal vocals and a mashing, yet catchy assault trudge forward, while weirdness spreads into the mix, with the band beating you savagely over the track’s final minutes. “Tween Shitbag” is full of vitriol, with the intensity smashing and Weil sarcastically wailing, “Oh man, I really love your band, at least I did.” The song continues to pound away, as Weil calls out, “You live a lie every night, you’re always right,” with fist cocked behind his back as the track burns out its final drops of fuel.
“Die on Mars” has cool riffs, winds that whip in, and then an explosive gusts that sends everything flying. “I’m not paranoid!” Weil insists, while a strong solo pushes in that has slight psyche elements before the song thrashes away again and scrapes closed. “Birth of a Flat Earther” is particularly newsworthy right now, as it pokes these people right in the eyeballs. A weird layer of guitar noise slathers, with the pace getting slurry and mind-warping and the drums beginning a slow demolition. Shit then kicks into next gear, totally elevating the song and your emotion with smothering riffs and Weil howling, “It can’t exist if I’m not there to witness.” The track remains strange and monstrous, sprawling into a space vortex forever. “Riding the Universe” has guitars folding, the track pulverizing, and the vocals opening wounds. Guitars spiral and execute ground and pound, only to have the song get psychedelic with trippy sound clips and a gateway into closer “Vein Ripper” that trucks right through the gates. The track trudges and destroys, building up tension only to pay that off with more hammer blows. Sounds waft into poisonous clouds, harsh wails strike, and the track bleeds away its last.
Having grown up as a massive thrash metal fan, Oozing Wound has scratched that itch for four records now, with their most deadly easily being “High Anxiety.” There are so many things going on right now to get up your blood pressure, that having a band such as Oozing Wound there to turn into pure metal those very reactions to said annoyances is cathartic for both artists and listeners. This band keeps getting better and gnarlier every step of the way, and this record will dislocate your jaw and throw you into a pile of trash if you’re on their hit list.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/oozingwound/
To buy the album, go here: http://thrilljockey.com/products
For more on the label, go here: http://thrilljockey.com/index