A menacing cover, showering you with the smell of dead and rotten corpses. Barren Womb decided to have the corpse on their front page, with a less intriguing and unenthusiastic look than ever. Well, guess what? It seems like she’s semi-dead or that she’s just had her last breath. The rest of the cover is ridden with a smoky layer of dimming lights, some grayness and overall a very dark cover. What I feel when I look at it is that it might be some kind of crossover act, since they’ve apparently crossed over a lot of influences and made it their cover. For instance, the lettering and the overall atmosphere is very different depending on where you choose to lay your eyes. There’s a sense of doom there too, which is grasping for the dagger to put me down with. Or maybe trying to invite me to a decadent dance-party, with skeletons, bats and dead corpses. Hopefully I’ll get some clearance in this matter, so let’s continue with the songs.
1. Mohawkwind (2:11)
Starting off with the first song on the EP which is called: Mohawkwind. The intro feels like a mish-mash of country and hardcore distortion, an interesting intro to say the least, since it makes you listen to the rest of the song. It’s a kind of vague and naive intro, where they’ve either put down the volume on the instruments or just hit the strings carefully. It then bursts into a whole kind of old-school and new-school mix of hardcore that I really couldn’t imagine if I hadn’t heard this song before. Even though I have, it’s not as predictable as it could be, which is good. They also succeed in paving way for the interesting black-metal riffing that goes on in the song, with the melody and harmonies that crash together whilst the hardcore mayhem is going on. I’d have to say that this is mainly driven by hardcore, but a large portion of it shares the pattern with black metal and country as well. The song never ceases to be boring either and I think the black-metal influences make this song better than it could’ve been without them. Not saying that the other elements are shitty, just saying that it helps the song on its way. Somehow I thought of Kvelertak in some moments, since they’re from Norway and also share almost the same eccentric style. But I’d say that Barren Womb have a more developed an interesting style, maybe not as catchy, but definitely up there with this song.
2. My fault, your fault, default (2:48)
They’ve surely gotten some interesting song-titles, the second song is titled: My fault, your fault, default. Pretty silly if I have to say so myself, but if I re-arrange the words in my mind a little bit, the seriousness of it gets harsher. This song starts off more on the post-rock and post-hardcore spectrum, but safely delves into a chugging mania of spread hardcore-vibes with some garage-influences being heard at times. With the desperate singing going on in the background, the chugging baseline and riffing makes for a great atmosphere at large. This is what noise-rock would be without the suffix noise, since the sound-scape is pretty clear throughout. Also, the slamming beat from both the hi-hat and the crash make it more of a genre-hopper altogether, since the rhythms at many parts is a stark reminder of black-metal. However, they’ve decided not to fuck up this genre-hopping by introducing as many elements into the mix as they can, trying to move everything into one song without making it sound bad. Different sections of the song reminds me of different genres and I like the sinister seriousness of it all and it’s really something that should be turned up a notch when listening to it, because the sound-scape is balanced when it comes to sound and not too distorted. I like these kinds of sound-scapes, because at times, the more distorted ones become a nuisance.
3. Less is Roger Moore (1:14)
As I said earlier, their titles are kind of silly, but that’s just something I’m going to cope with. They’re at least ingenious in many ways, like the third song titled: Less is Roger Moore. Abandoning the first and foremost tempo-changing devil with some more straight-forwardness and punkiness, but including the genius breakdowns. They’ve made them go with the tempo instead of being a changer, which in my own terms mean that they’ve decided that it should fit the picture. Some bands take for granted that you can do a predictable breakdown and then break into an eerie mayhem without consequences. These guys have learned that this isn’t the right thing to do, and therefore made the effort to widen and extend their breakdowns into something unique instead. It isn’t noticeable at first, but becomes more noticeable the more you listen to it. I like the sublime context that they dwell within, they add something to the uniqueness that they’ve displayed so far and do not take away any steam it might have. Since this is one of their shorter songs, the only thing predictable for me would be that it’d be a little more straight-forward and punk than the other songs. I was right and god, I’m happy that I was. Because it’s a daring approach that actually worked out fairly well, which also gives a little bit of variation to the EP so far. Good on you, guys.
4. Pink funeral (3:02)
Here we see the big touch of hardcore returning. Within the fourth song, titled: Pink funeral. The singing is in between apathetic and desperate, as the sound-scape is interchanging in between different hardcore-elements, black-metal and somewhat sludge. I also hear a hint, at least when it comes to the singing, that could reveal a vein of screamo. This song is a little different, in that they’ve used the wide-array of sampling to convey a picture of the song as almost on the dubstep/dub-edge but with rock and punk included on the edge of it. Also, the more noise-oriented sound they’ve shown some potential with in the latter songs make its return. Slowly, but carelessly it injects itself into the song and makes it a little bit more distorted and chaotic. It seems like I’m delving into an ancient tomb, triggering the traps within it and total mayhem ensures. The thing I like about this song is that it’s more varied than the other ones, but in a more controlled manner, they’ve let go a little bit on the genre-hopping to get some of the controlled structures some songs need. It’s clear to me that this song needed a little bit more of that, since it’s more melodic and less unorthodox in its style of fashion. So it surprised me somewhat, but it’s still a great rendition and addition to the EP. Even though I didn’t like the dub-influenced passage as much as the rest of the song, since I thought it took the piss out of the steam that the song had conjured since it progressively made its way up the up-tempo path. Anyway, good song.
5. A matter of life and death metal (1:15)
Sure enough, here we are again, with the ridiculous song-titles. But I’m bound to agree with the statement conveyed in the fifth songs name: A matter of life and death metal. This is definitely the song that displays most of the black-metal sound that they’ve tried to compromise and rig within the songs. There’s also some notes of sludge-metal within, which I find liberating. Non-melodic pathway to heaven, as I would say. Even though it’s short enough to be another punk-sprint. Now, by carefully looking at the song-titles and since I’ve listened through it a lot of times, it seems like there’s some of theme here. I’m not really grasping it, but it could be a show-off of all the influences they state that they have in their music. However, the tempo-changes in this song is amazing and so is the riffing, baseline and generic atmospheric noise that flows through it. Giving it a lot of energy but at the same time pulsating in a low speed, to gain a few pounds and then hit the treadmill. I think the singer is amazing in this song, he sounds more black-metal than anything else. Even though it might not be your kvlt and trve black-metal shrieking, he still hits something within me and produces a reaction. Now I’m filled with agony and my jaw dropped to the floor. Sorry, Barren Womb, but you’ve made me into a zombie. In some way, it’s almost like being put into a trance, like the longer drone-songs I’ve heard primarily in metal. They produce a metallic kind of sound, which can also be heard in the background. But try to create riffing and structures in the songs that remind me of a maelstrom, that I’m slowly being sucked into. It’s atmospheric and there’s no doubt in my mind that it sounds phenomenal.
6. Are we werewolves yet? (5:45)
But, as you all know, there’s always something missing that you haven’t heard yet. Barren Womb delivers it like a smack in the face, with their sixth song titled: Are we werewolves yet? Well, forget everything about sincerity and the balance in between noise, lo-fi and a well-thought out sound-scape. Here, they march in like they’re the bomb in the word bombastic. Totally tearing the placate of apathetic, sorrowful, nocturnal and weird down. In this song, they really show that they’re the kings of whatever genre they could be categorized in. Since they’re genre-hoppers, or crossovers, they’re kings in between. And, as if the earlier songs didn’t have the groove, this one will set you straight. It’s like using everything in your arsenal at the same time, when the listener sits on his “throne” and unknowingly gets blasted in his face with this. I think this one set me off my scrawny little throne and blasted me out in space, it actually gave me a whole new dimension of what’s good and what’s not. Not that the other songs aren’t good, it’s just that this song is so bombastic and great. Pristine in value and sacrilegious to me, definitely the most catchy and the most unforgiving song I’ve heard in a long while. This one had me blown away, with the careful yet systematic drumming. The choirs, the background-riffing, as if it was a product of a song for a multimillion movie. Whoever incorporates this song into their movie, would surely have me going to see it. Words can’t really describe how delicate it sounds, nobody can describe how precise it was. It’s fucking insane to even think this about a song, but this one had my eyeballs popping out of the socket in sheer awesomeness (figuratively speaking). One of the greatest songs of 2012, easily, and I’m not even joking about this, my fellow beings! Hurray, I say and kudos to Barren Womb for making such an exquisitely great song.
7. I have a hobbit to support (0:40)
I don’t really care about the song-titles anymore, they give me a good chuckle. But I’ve realized the potential of Barren Womb, more than I would’ve if the previous song wouldn’t have come on. The seventh song is titled: I have a hobbit to support. So, if the previous song wasn’t bombastic enough to blow your mind, this song is a continuation. Punk is the first word of it and the second is chaos, remember those two words as you delve into this song. The shortest song on the EP but still a great addition to the other one. Almost as if they knew how to take a chance after the masterpiece they just produced and go all-out and go with their basic primal instinct. So, since it seems like they’ve let some of the crossover elements play with themselves for a while, this one could be considered the most hardcore one. Straight-forward, all-attitude, hardcore-punk. Not much more to add to this song, more than the fact that I like the singer in this song since he does it with such power and never lets go of it. Good stuff.
8. My pal Trench Foot (3:04)
Hm, yeah, it’s time for the eighth song titled: My pal Trench Foot. Some generous hardcore stuff in this song too, as if the last three songs were linked together more than the fact that they’re in order. Here’s some of the more minimalistic sound that haven’t been as forthcoming in the EP as a whole. Like the more settled riffing, dark baseline and both a mix in between down-tempo and up-tempo. Great as a final track since it pretty much sums up what Barren Womb is all about, here’s the funky rhythms and the desperate shrieking in a whole package. The black-metal, the sludge and every other element you could think of. Even though I didn’t like the more “toned down” sections of the song, I’d have to admit that the intro was well-constructed and that the chorus was entrancing to say the least. However, it’s a strong card to have as the last song on the album but it’s also a daring approach, something they’ve done some times now. The lyrical content is somewhat ironic but also at times really sounds like something you could pick up. From what I’ve decrypted, the lyrics aren’t that bad either. Which enhances the experience even more than it would’ve if the lyrics would’ve been totally crappy. Barren Womb have become a brighter star on the sky with this album, I think they’ve sold themselves to me perfectly. There’s a few things that are minor problems, but there’s nothing excessive that makes them worse than they should be. I think they should stay on this path and develop their genre-hopping further, I also think they should stay with the unorthodox structure and build-ups. There’s little predictability in Barren Wombs music, I can feel it by listening to it over and over again. The lasting quality of it will be their leading stars, so please learn from them as you start to move your way to the top.
Favorite song(s): Are we werewolves yet?, I have a hobbit to support and Mohawkwind.
My final judgement: 4,5/5.
(effing’ great, almost the full stake)
Buy it over here on the 14th of September: http://theperfecthoax.bigcartel.com/