We live in a lie of a country here in the United States, and hopefully all the blind patriots we haven’t already run off will leave permanently after reading that. We have a group of people who claim these comical “pro-life” statuses and want to force births to happen but don’t give a fuck about the children once they’re here, the poor, the sick, the mentally ill, innocent people in other countries we kill, the actual planet we live on, gun violence. Fun people.
While not necessarily focused on what I listed above, Oklahoma City-based noise maulers Chat Pile are living right in the middle of where so many of those people live, and their frustration boils over onto their excellent and brain-ravaging debut full-length “God’s Country.” Living amidst a lot of hell in the Midwest, the band—vocalist Raygun Busch, guitarist Luther Manhole, bassist Stin, drummer Captain Ron (not the Kurt Russell version)—laments global capitalism and its effects on people who have no means to compete; environmental issues with our increasingly boiling planet; and the pandemic over nine tracks that are impossible to ignore. There are elements of grunge, down-tuned metal that slays, and punk chaos, and Busch’s relentless and stream-of-consciousness delivery leaves an impact that will stick with you and continually loop through your brain.
“Slaughterhouse” opens the gates on this trip with drums melting and the guitars bleeding as Busch immediately takes center stage and refuses to release your attention. The repeated howls of “hammers and grease” repeatedly lurch as later Busch wails, “And the sad eyes, goddamnit, and the screaming, there’s more screaming than you’d think,” as the track comes to a mangling finish. “Why” is one of the most aggravated, sobering statements on homelessness that might exist in all heavy music, with Busch frustratingly wondering, “Why do people have to live outside?” before reminding we have the means as a nation to stop this. Yet we don’t. The playing chugs and provides perfect background for this justified rant, Busch jabbing, “Have you ever had ringworm? Scabies?” as the final hammers crush bone. “Pamela” pulls back a bit sonically though it’s still jarring. Shimmering guitars and speak-singing combine, bringing the first of many Nirvana vibes, which is a major positive. Murder and extreme unease race through your stomach as the story unfolds, stabbing that point home as Busch numbly calls, “Stare at the lake, biding my time, waiting to die.” “Wicked Puppet Dance” ruptures blood vessels as feedback collects and the bass lurches, ripping apart the remaining threads of sanity. Barked vocals and acidic playing infect and bring panic that slips away when the song ends but stays in your mind.
“Anywhere” is cloudy, yet melodic as it enters the room, Busch jarring with, “Think there was brain on my shoes,” before repeatedly lashing, “Stop it!” The sticky chorus that also reminds of Nirvana has Busch warbling, “It’s the sound of a fucking gun, it’s the sound of your world collapsing,” a line that could become an obsession to call back. Shrieks drive as the guitars snake and snarl, jolting and electrifying your mind. “Tropical Beaches, Inc.” is flattening and heavy, the low-end thrashing feeling like the Deftones at their heaviest, with Busch spitting out, “Deeper cuts, bloody sheets, making money, man on TV, haunt you, haunt me.” This is brutal and so satisfyingly heavy, making me think of hot summers at Ozzfest in the mid-aughts. “The Mask” is more psychological damage, more daggers to the brain, recounting a crime spree that feels like half panic attack, with the chorus a simple demand of, “Line up the animals!” It eats into you, the playing bludgeons, and the final moments tingle your nerve endings as you slowly lose consciousness. “I Don’t Care If I Burn” is an uncomfortable rant, something that would make you worry the narrator was about to do something dangerous. Amid noise that feels like a fever dream, Busch works through the meltdown, seething in his calm, dreaming about killing this person before warning, “You may not remember me, but bet your last fucking dollar I remember you.” It leaves you shivering and shaking in fear as closer “grimace_smoking_weed.jpeg” opens and manages to increase the psychological damage. Over 9:06, the band unleashes a thick, damaging campaign as Busch stammers about drug use, self-harm, and that goddamn mascot from the world’s largest fast-food chain. It’s also kind of funny as he increasingly grows more irritated with Grimace, howling, “Purple man, stop coming into my room, stop looking at things that aren’t meant for you.” The playing devolves emotionally as does Busch who cries, “I’m trying to kill myself,” before ending with, “I know we’re not that high, but if I do it right, I can break my neck, I don’t wanna be alive, I don’t wanna be alive, Grimace!” It puts a startling, terrifying nail in the slowly decomposing coffin.
“God’s Country” is a record that’s been tough for me as a writer, who is trying to keep up with multiple records per week, because it has me completely arrested and has had so much of my attention that I don’t know how to turn away. Chat Pile isn’t inventing something new but they’re doing it in such a way that you cannot bury it, you won’t be able to ignore it, and the stories will start living in your brain. This is unhinged, dangerously, psychologically warped, and so fucking infectious and great that I can’t imagine this album leaving my personal rotation anytime soon. Fuck.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/chatpileband
To buy the album, go here: https://nowflensing.com/collections/chat-pile
For more on the label, go here: https://nowflensing.com/