About this time last year, skip back a month earlier perhaps, New Heavy Sounds came at us with a band that set the tone for the rest of the year: Black Moth. The riff-strong debut album of the Leeds colossus proved in one listen that New Heavy Sounds were onto something good and it seems they've done it again. Enter the sharp-toothed Cut Yourself In Half, with their debut: Mekkanizm - a fast moving, hard hitting powerhouse that will fight you.
Roaring into gear, the first thing that springs to mind is just how LOUD Mekkanizm is; not just musically, but also just LOUD. Compared to any other CD this thing is insane - like a plane taking off overhead (turn the speakers down before playing, kids!). The opening track 'Little Misadventure' not only sets the loudness standard for the record, but also introduces you to the group's sound in a nutshell: imagine Six Shooter from Queens of The Stone Age's opus Songs for The Deaf if it were played in a concrete chamber and you've got Mekkanizm. The song is powerful, with dirty crunched guitars, distorted yet melodic vocals and a sluggish stoner sway. Next up is dance-friendly 'The Song Remains Unnamed', a rapid jam ripe with vocal hooks and 'Comatosed' with the first of many many truly incredible guitar solos on the record.
One thing refreshing about Mekkanizm is its relentless nature and the band's refusal to keep pace. Fans of stoner rock across the globe herald the likes of QOTSA and Sleep as their gods, yet Cut Yourself In Half seem to take influence equally from this and more modern rock-infused groups such as Red Fang or label-mates Black Moth. There are also sonic similarities to Black Moths' The Killing Jar (produced by Dave Sanderson - engineer for Black Moth's debut) in the grit and ballsiness that the record throws around, though it has to be said that the magic touch of [Grinderman's] Jim Sclavunos is not present this time and all the spooky weirdness in The Killing Jar is replaced with Sanderson's klangy dissonance. It does compliment the Bradford 4-piece extremely well, though.
There are further moments of variety to be found on Mekkanizm including the fierce 'Viracocha', which actually sounds a little like a Marilyn Manson song if it didn't have all that glam and diva splutter smeared over everything. So, cool, basically. There are many moments across the record that seem to carry some of that Melvins grunt everybody likes so much and one can only hope that one day these guys get enough attention to convince King Buzzo to sing along - Ipecac would be a good home for the guys alongside the likes of Fantômas and Tomahawk. A particularly enjoyable track that shows off the band's more left-field wandering is 'Spider Legs' - a creepy bit with astounding riffs and numerous motions through behaviours, all of which enjoyable. 'LGRD' follows an equal level of spook and monstrosity that explodes into a grand cacophonous finale that makes it quite clear that we're dealing with a force to be reckoned with here.
Mekkanizm is without a doubt a strong debut if nothing else. Cut Yourself In Half seem to have a knack for grabbing attention by encapsulating all that they are sonically, lyrically and in the namesake of their unit and their music. This record carries ferocity in one hand and melody in the other whilst juggling the two with hooks, riffs, beats and licks. Above all else the group has power and individuality - two things that are often unconvincing or just unattained (especially in new kids). New Heavy Sounds has done it once again by doing what a good label should: they've found an emerging talent and used themselves and their already fine roster as a platform for showcasing the world another rabble of riffmonsters with a huge amount of potential, and I'm excited.