By Geoff Topley
The press release for this Split Record by Black Pus and Oozing Wound tells us that it had to happen. Released by Thrill Jockey on vinyl only, these five tracks of indescribable punk rock madness will either cause you to jump about like a loon or sit in the corner swaying, hoping the men in white coats will come and take either you or the nasty men away.
As a form of last left rebellion, I’m a fan of Brian Chippendale, whether it’s his Noise Rock duo of Lightning Bolt or this solo outing, the fact that someone is getting away with releasing the most heinous music enthrals me. But is it? To his ears, the music he makes may well be symphonies. I follow Brian on Twitter and it wouldn’t surprise me if he did think this way.
Perhaps he’s coming round to the notion of conforming as 'Blood Will Run' is his most straight-up song I’ve heard yet. The track is just a few handclaps away from being Sly’s 'Dance to the Music' beat. Filtered through a fucked up distortion pedal of course.
Those in the know will be aware that Chippendale’s instruments consist of a drum kit and some weird electronic bass pedal gizmo. Somehow he manages to create grooves and in this instance a semblance of melody. The usual whackjob vocals are put aside for this ‘clean’ (in the loosest sense of the word) style. The track was written about a drive-by shooting killing over loud music. A direct set of lyrics reflecting the brutality, “Turn down the music, while I pull out my gun, if you don’t listen, your blood will run”. When a fucked up hotwired moped cranks up and starts sliding about randomly you almost get the sense that we’re the ones who don’t get what Chippendale does, he’s right and we’re all wrong. Oh, did I mention the track has a chorus of sorts? Alright it might just consist of “Da da da…” but it’ll stick in your head once you hear it.
Of course we can’t expect conformity to reign over Black Pus so to sort the men from the mice, we get a 15 minute sonic trial in 'Total Eclipse'. This is more familiar territory, an unrelenting beat, warbled vocals preaching indecipherable psychobabble about fuck knows what. The track is totally disorganised, I prefer it when Chippendale establishes a groove and gives us a little something to remember, but the fact remains, no-one else does this kind of thing like Chippendale. Come to think of it, no-one else does this, period. It actually sounds like someone beating the living shit out of an unsuspecting drum kit before trying to disassemble it bit by bit. Never listen to this while driving a vehicle, otherwise you’ll end up going off road, it’ll have that effect on you. The last 3 minutes are utter madness, the drums drop out and Radio Asylum starts broadcasting. The record of choice is Bonnie Tyler’s 'Total Eclipse of the Heart', the DJ having some mental breakdown over it while it fades in and out. Brian, you’ve confounded us yet again.
I must admit that Oozing Wound are new one to me, hailing from Chicago, they create a mighty shitstorm of punk/metal primal rock. 'Ganja Gremlin' has a simple riff, thunderous drums and hollered vocals, in the vein of Part Chimp or No Spill Blood. They do a nice line in sheer bloody mayhem for the duration of the 5 minute track, but not much changes. 'Aging Punk' is one of those finger-on-finger-off riffs over a pogo fantastic drumbeat. This is possibly how Lightning Bolt might sound if they jammed with a little more focus and actually hit the studio. Final track 'All Things Must Pass Out' (great title) is a slow pounding dirge of Sabbath sludge riffs and a funereal beat.
Not quite having enough distinction about them to keep me totally interested, these are brave men to appear on the same slab of vinyl as Black Pus, so kudos to them for that. I mean, how are you supposed to compare with something Chippendale has created? That’s a challenge for sure and so is this split record, but it also provides us with a track ('Blood Will Run') that might actually get Black Pus a wider audience. Is that even remotely possible? We shall see…