Tapes of a Neon God
Tapes of a Neon God
You probably don’t know, care or remember but there was a singular moment when Botch got good. Or at least started on their path to getting good. One day they were covering Earth Crisis songs and then the next show they had a new set full of brutal songs that would end up being the framework for American Nervoso. While that wasn’t a record for the ages it certainly set the stage for a bright career and you know what the thing was that changed it all? The Acme 7”. That thing came into Seattle and all of us were completely blown away. I had been thinking that End to End was the heaviest, craziest thing ever (I mean, we all listened to Rorschach, Neanderthal, Craw and Today is the Day too…) but then that fucking record came out and we all shit our pants. It was new, it was good and it was made by guys like us. Normal hardcore kids that had weren’t scary or mythical to us. The fact it was European too was also a mind fuck. In the early–mid 90’s there was barely anything decent coming from Europe. Refused wasn’t good yet and about the only bands that were any good were Godflesh, Raw Power and Manliftingbanner (I know there were others but we didn’t have the internet and I was/am pretty ignorant about some things.) So, anyhow, how does this relate to Death Engine? Death Engine is as powerful and brutal to me as that Acme 7” was when it came out. The music sounds like it’s just about to completely fall apart while still being played flawlessly. Though it has elements of Botch, Anodyne, Converge and whatever you want to drop in there it has it’s own approach that is completely unique. I’m trying to think of all the problems I have with the bands I just mentioned and while all of those bands have huge issues in certain departments (Botch was a little too up it’s own bottom, Anodyne was too singular, Converge plays too much for the audience and not the listener), Death Engine really has none of those. It’s epic and heavy and really fucking good… The full length MUD is my favorite record from a “traditional” rock band this year. It takes off from the EP and introduces us to some really bonkers ideas. It’s huge and it doesn’t give you an inch. Songs never get too long in the tooth and they never show off their amazing ideas they just play them and then they are done. Nothing seems self-indulgent. It sounds great and they even get into some pretty out there songs near the end. Especially the title track which stands out on it’s own but fits the album as a whole very well. I am going to beg them to take Great Falls on tour of Europe. I need to see this every night. The layouts are great. As conventional as the song writing there are elements to the artwork that seem wrong-headed but ultimately work out amazingly. Also, the actual cassette shell for Amen is one of the coolest shells I have ever seen.