PICK OF THE WEEK: Immortal Bird unleash anger, resentment into tumultuous ‘Thrive on Neglect’

Photo by Andrew Rothmund

It’s rare when anger in music is nearly palpable, like you can feel the emotion, the pain, the hurt, and the fire. Even without understanding what went into said music and what colored the words with blood, you feel like you experienced a piece of it, simply through the power of the expression. It’s hard to shake, and it gives the music more depth than your garden-variety rage.

It took one visit with Immortal Bird’s rampaging new record “Thrive on Neglect” to at least partially understand the gut-wrenching resentment that informs these seven songs. The band never has been one to simply coast by on their heaviness, as there always has been a lot to parse through when it comes to the lyrics. This record however, their second full-length, requires you to sit with the words, not because they can’t be understood (the enunciation is rock solid) but because the total picture becomes clearer, and the piss and venom turn richer. Vocalist Rae Amitay already was one of metal’s more evocative lyricists, but this time around, her daggers are fully showing, and they are doused with blood. Along with her are guitarist Nate Madden, bassist John Picillo, and drummer Matt Korajczyk, the same unit that’s been touring together for several years now on their first collaborative album together. That cohesiveness is apparent, as the band sounds deadlier than ever.

“Anger Breeds Contempt” kicks off the record and drills you intensely, with the bass thickening, and Amitay’s vocals scraping old wounds. “I, I am, I am not, lost, I am, not a lost, cause,” she phrases deliberately and ferociously. Guitars stream clean for a stretch, even getting jazzy, before the blows land again, the power bursts, and Amitay wails, “It was you who made me feel dull, I can’t forgive that, I can’t forgive you,” as the ending goes for the throat. “House of Anhedonia” begins with Amitay declaring, “We are cursed!” before guitars loop around and bring disorientation, the band pushes back with gale force, and the drums splatter the senses. Atmosphere situates behind the song before we’re back to bludgeoning force, then a slow-driving push, then a speedy burst into hell. “Vestigial Warnings” has the drums killing, guitars sweeping, and dizziness rising amid disorienting growls. “Centipede crawl to the shadows, lose all your legs and learn the processes,” Amitay howls as the music grows tornadic, tossing around debris, while the track chugs and slips into sludgy stepping. The bass drives the front end, noise settles, and the drums beats everything into oblivion.

“Avolition” is a firestarter that gets off to a calculated start before it begins tearing down walls. The playing is both sinewy and jerky, with Amitay snarling, “Sting me into silence, I need this to end at any cost.” Riffs pile on as the intensity builds, with the vocals absolutely crushing bodies, the music cutting you down, as Amitay calling, “You will assume I let you go, but I jumped right after you fell.” “Solace in Dead Structures”  is numbing, with the music sprawling before the guitars begin to cut tunnels. Gritty vocals slice through, as the track opens up and punishes, the playing mashes, and driving hell burns into ash. “Quisquilian Company” has guitars melting down, growls crushing, and black metal-style melodies riding on top of the rough waves. “I can replace you will a lesser evil I’ll choose to abandon,” Amitay growls, following up with, “When you are alone, you can learn something, but I know you won’t,” as clean guitars take over and the track vibrates out. “Stumbling Toward Catharsis” finishes the album by fading in before the savagery erupts and mixes with ethereal dreams. The track begins to thrash you alive, with Amitay admitting, “I saw my years without you as ruined hollow shells,” before the track kicks speed into high gear. The playing gets impossibly heavy, destroying what’s in front of it, as Amitay jolts, “There is only so much I can take, there is only so much left to say, maybe nothing is a waste, or it all is,” as the track ends violently, abruptly.

Immortal Bird’s ascent to “Thrive on Neglect” came from years of being road warriors, experiencing pains and triumphs, and cutting their teeth on steel as they adhered to their wishes alone. This band has grown from one that showed promise of being one of metal’s sharpest voices to fully achieving that on their smothering second album. This is a record that proves not only have Immortal Bird taken a prime spot on the battlefield, they’re already standing there with swords tested, shields dented by shots reflected and defeated.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/immortalbirdband

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/immortalbird

For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/