Cable return from ashes with renewed anger, frustration on punchy ‘Take the Stairs to Hell’

These are dark times, and in case you haven’t noticed, a lot of people are having a really tough time navigating the waters. Not that that’s anything new, really, as personal problems have existed for as long as there have been people. But it feels like the wounds are deeper, bloodier, and more painful, and finding the right salve is goddamn frustrating.

That leads us into the first fresh material from Cable in a decade, their new full-length “Take the Stairs to Hell.” You have what you need to know right there in the title, but as bassist/vocalist Randy Larsen notes, the songs you hear on this new nine-track basher were bred by anger, hatred, negativity, and depression. Maybe that seems obvious, especially once you tear into this thing, but it’s an important thing to point out. You’re hearing the result of what is feels like trying to make your way through the world the past few years, and the future doesn’t seem much brighter. Larsen, along with bandmates Peter Farris (vocals), Bernie Romanowski (guitars), Chris “Fish” Harding” (guitars), and Alex Garcia-Rivera (drums), deliver on that fire and frustration on a record that pushes into elements of sludge, southern-style grit, hardcore, and noise, making it one hell of a full-bodied Cable experience.

“Forest Dream (Intro)” has footsteps crunching through brush, setting the stage for “It Cost Me Everything” that opens with sludgy riffs, howled vocals, and psychological slashing. “Struggling to keep up, I’d rather drop out,” Farris howls as the bass slinks, sounds hang in the air, and everything comes to a smashing end. “Black Medicine” features Mike Hill from Tombs on vocals and Graham Brooks from Barishi on guitars, and it slurs and growls along like a wounded animal looking to strike. “Rise up from the ground!” is wailed while guitars burn, and a scorching solo rips out and leaves bruising. The title of the track is wailed over and over toward the end, while the back end is treated to some outright nasty doom stomping. “Low Man” is punchy and riffy, as Farris shouts, “Low man, you’re already dead.” The song is simple but devastating, ending in smearing violence. “Rats on Fire” has a thick bassline rumbling, speak-shouting landing body blows, and an angry-as-fuck chorus that should be a rallying cry at their lives shows. The track ramps back up at the end, laying waste to the scenery and leaving the stench of burnt flesh behind.

“Eyes Rolled Back” has more sludgy riffs and an approach that’s just heavy as fuck The track smothers whatever is in front of it, as Farris howls, “I am nothing with you, I am a knife in your back.” The track smears the senses as it draws closed, ending with a fiery assault. “Rivers of Old” has wild howls and a punishing exterior, with slide guitars bringing some Southern smoke. A cement-thick bassline drives itself through your chest, while the track pounds away, and the guitars stab manically before the track fades out. The title track has Christian McKenna of End Christian and Hill again on vocals as the guitars dizzy, and softer singing turns talky, with the delivery of the jabbing line, “You’ve always got a story to tell,” as the track amplifies its rumble. Closer “Come Home (Outro)” is performed by CRONE featuring Jeff Caxide and Aaron Harris, both formerly of ISIS. The track trickles in with murky synth and a strange feel, tricking your mind and convincing you you’re somewhere in outer space. The music soothes your psyche as everything dissipates in a strange haze.

Anyone who has lived through and paid attention to the past few years will find at least a corner of “Take the Stairs to Hell” as something they recognize and with which they relate. Having Cable back in the conversation from a heavy music standpoint is refreshing, as their voice has been missed, and they have plenty to offer. We all feel pissed and frustrated sometimes, and having an outlet like this record in which to dump some of that can be good for anyone’s mental health.

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