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LIMITED EDITION 500 ONLY PINK 'BUBBLEGUM' VINYL LP WITH DOWNLOAD CODE. INITIAL MAILORDER COPIES CAME WITH A FREE PROMOTIONAL DETHSCALATOR GOLF TEE (THAT'S A GOLF TEE, NOT A GOLF T SHIRT!)
A1 Black Percy (1:51)
A2 Grotto Crank (4:19)
A3 World War Two Hitler Youth Dagger (4:07)
A4 Felt Leg (3:46)
A5 Midnight Feast (2:54)
B1 Aids Atlas (2:10)
B2 Shit Village (4:31)
B3 It’s What They Call The Clubhouse, Arsehole (5:33)
B4 Internet Explorer & Friends (2:44)
B5 Pine Pot (2:40)
Slow, angry, psychedelic and gigantic - like a paisley glacier full of Stanley Knives, flowing over Brian Blessed’s foot - Dethscalator move at their own pace. They formed in 2008 in Hackney, London, and have spent the last five years building up to the release of their debut album Racial Golf Course No Bitches. (The band’s drummer Stu Bell said of the name: “What does it mean? I just had this image in my head of a sign you’d see on a golf course by a picket fence that would make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I think it came about because we found out you can buy 500 golf tees with Dethscalator printed on them for £30.”) And it may have become the Chinese Democracy of noise rock over the last half decade, but now that it’s here, we can safely reassure you that it was well worth the wait.
Road hardened and tightened the band have shrugged off their looser, sludge-blasted origins to reconnect with their American 80s post hardcore, pig fuck roots, with riffs n’ hooks worthy of Killdozer, Jesus Lizard, Unsane, Butthole Surfers and Fudge Tunnel but have mixed this up with giant slabs of monolithic doom, coruscating beams of white noise and whirling vortices of space rock.
However it is the deep, dub influenced production job; the way that layers and layers of feedback have been marshalled into a horrific orchestral wall of sonic horror and the brightly fizzing lysergic sheen to the whole shebang that will bestow a blessing on your ears. This is guaranteed to tweak your brain’s long dormant and atavistic proto-human god nodules and have you punching your walls like William Hurt as the multi-coloured amoeba man at the end of Altered States after he’s spent an afternoon in a floatation tank on Ayahuasca and seen a goat with 13 eyes nailed to a crucifix.
Howling drunkenly into the abyss has never been so much fun... and this time it comes with a free golf tee.
Aristotle believed that surrounding an embryo with numerous types of cheese in turn produced varying personalities; some soft and foolish, others hard and obdurate. This is, obviously, complete gumpf but, if London-based noise-schlongs Dethscalator had developed in vitro next to a block of cheese, without a doubt it would have been Limburger – a face-crippling and delicious pongfest, fermented with the same bacterium that causes human feet to stink.
I first encountered Dethscalator at the always-excellent Supersonic Festival three years ago. Their mould-ridden walls of feedback and menacing lumber were as disturbing as a colonic irrigation mishap conducted by Dr Crippen. Bottling the stench of bands from typically-noisy record labels such as Skin Graft (Shorty, Colossamite,) and Amphetamine Reptile (Hammerhead, Melvins and, most notably, Unsane) they created a wonderful hybrid of artificially-selected noise-rock pigfuckery, with extra black pudding.
Since forming in 2008, they've spat out a split 12" with Hey Colossus, almost broke their own balls organising Hobaken festival and now, finally, Racial Golf Course, No Bitches is their debut album (which comes with a free golf-tee because they “found out you can buy 500 golf tees with Dethscalator printed on them for £30."). In just 34 minutes, the listener is trampled by a seal-clubbing rhythm section, doom-dusted slop-riffs and the unhinged vocal delivery of a crunked-up Oliver Reed suffering from a serious case of catarrh.
'Singer' Dan Chandler's apparent influences include Brian Blessed, a gout-inflicted big toe and The Thrown Ups (another AmRep chaos emerald) who often doused their audience in oysters. Fry these in some lungbutter with Irreversible's brutal fire extinguisher face-obliteration scene, plus a dash of sludge beefcakes Eyehategod, and you're pretty close to Chandler's aural-vom. Not unlike David Lambeth Yow, he is mostly incoherent and garbled yet, it matters not what he sings, buthow. His slurring is recurrently mutated through a delay-pedal, greasing a layer of deranged vocal-echoes over the bloated fuzz, to great effect.
Every inch of possible space on this record is overflowing with humming noise, every noise itself freakishly contorted. The monster menhir-riffs of 'It's What They Call The Clubhouse, Arsehole' and 'Shit Village', are so crunch-laden, they properly wander into stoner-doom terrain. But it's not all slow, chuggathons on RGCNB; it dangles the carrot of hardcore abrasion ('Midnight Feast'), excretes lengthy chunks of musically-devoid static ('Grotto Crank') and even deploys psychedelic flanging ('Internet Explorer and Friends.') When looped distortion (or in the case of 'Felt Leg', just the same chord over and over) is this satisfying, the need for a chorus is null. And, thus, there are none. Frequently glistening with invention and humour, this album effortlessly lifts Dethscalator far beyond the realms of noise-rock-by-numbers.
Much like the record's cover (a hentai nightmare of dick-plants and Burgess Shale teratoids), this accomplished LP is absurdly unsettling and indicates the need for a long course of cognitive behavioural therapy. Yet, I hope these sumbitches never receive such help, as their output truly is an intensely refreshing cup of cholera-tainted shit water.
Originally intended to be a Record Store Day release, the awesomely and confusionally titled Racial Golf Course No Bitches is the first full length from UK noise rock weirdos Dethscalator, fulfilling the promise of their kick ass split with fellow heavies Hey Colossus from back in 2009, somehow managing to trump their jams from that split, pushing the sound even further, getting heavier, filthier, noisier, and weirdly more melodic, and even dubbier too.
On the surface, these guys are total old school AmRep knuckle dragging numbskulls, sounding like a revved up Brainbombs or (slightly) less drug addled Rusted Shut, but dig deeper to discover all sorts of twisted shit going on. The above mentioned dubbiness is all over the place, drums, vocals, guitars, doused in echo and reverb and sent spinning into clouds of distorted noise, it's subtle in places, but not even remotely in others, the sound, like on the split, feeling almost looped in places, the band locked into churning cyclical riffage, that just grinds endlessly, while all around it, drums pound, FX swirl, vocals howl.
Check out opener "Black Percy" which pairs a Motorhead riff with some Butthole Surfers style tribal drumming, before exploding into a full on metal punk blowout, with wild unhinged David Yow (Jesus Lizard / Scratch Acid) style vocals, but then out of nowhere in swoops a crazy metallic melody that's so catchy, it almost sounds like another song. But it works somehow, and ends up being probably the catchiest jam here, which, as surprising as it might sound, is saying something, cuz there's a lot of unlikely catchiness tucked amidst all this skull caving, rib cage rattling noise. Tracks like "Grotto Crank" take a riff and work it to death, stretching it way out, while yowled vox disappear in clouds of dubbed out FX and are transformed into another layer of buzz, the song lurching and lumbering, almost like some sort of brain damaged slo-mo prog, before finally launching into some serious metallic pummel, only to almost immediately splinter, and collapse into some feedback drenched dirgery, again, everything dubbed out like crazy, turning an otherwise noisy plod into a freaky psychedelic damaged dirge. Fuck yeah. Another favorite is the awesomely titled "World War Two Hitler Youth Dagger", which adds some serious math to the mix, a roiling sprawl of tangled riffage and caveman drum pound, but laced with some soaring guitar shreddery, some droned out psychedelia, and again, some seriously damaged dubbiness as well.
We could go track by track, but by now, having read the above, and presumably listened to some of the sounds below, you know if this is your cup of PCP laced sonic tea or not. It most definitely is ours. Easily the best noise rock record of the year, and most certainly vying for a year end top ten spot, noise rock or otherwise.
Needless to say, fans of Brainbombs, Drunkdriver, Rusted Shut, Violent Students, Billy Bao, Twin Stumps, No Balls, Mayyors, White Mice, Liquorball, Hey Colossus, Homostupids, Shit And Shine, and other sonic shit stirrers, you can add Dethscalator to your arsenal of room clearing, ear drum destroying, speaker shredding crush.
Dethscalator are a Noise
Rock/Sludge Metal grindcore
band formed in 2008 in Hackney,
London, and ‘Racial Golf Course
No Bitches’, 5 years in
the making, is their debut
album. Imagine Motorhead crossed
with Whitehouse with a good dash
of added Sabbath and you’re
somewhere near the awesome power
of this 35 minute release. The
10 songs here represent some of
the most insane psyched out
riffing I’ve heard for years,
all recorded in crystal clear,
ear bleeding fidelity.
MUSIQUE MACHINE (5/5)
If an album title is a statement
of intent, then we’re on
upsettingly shaky ground here.
Is Racial Golf Course, No
Bitches a meat-headed attempt
at offensiveness? A satirical
statement on the intrinsic
bigotry of the golfing classes?
Just some meaningless nonsense
designed to confuse and
antagonise sleep-deprived and
over-caffeinated music writers?
Track titles like ‘World War II
Hitler Youth Dagger’, ‘Aids
Atlas’ and ‘Shit Village’ don’t
make things much clearer.
THE LIST (4/5)
If you're not sure what to make
of this London band on first
glance, join the club. I wasn't
either; more specifically, I was
put off a little by the sheer
ridiculousness of the album
artwork - it takes the whole
concept of an album sleeve to
head-scratchingly obtuse levels
- but the whole idea of judging
a book (or in this case an
album) is that you don't reach
your verdict by looking at its
cover. Besides, they called
themselves Dethscalator, so one
can't imagine that they're
taking themselves too seriously,
image-wise. There are two things
they're much better at:
naming their albums and songs
(among the latter, there's a
track called 'World War II
Hitler Youth Dagger'), and the
actual music that makes up their
debut, Racial Golf Course, No
THE FOUR OH FIVE
The recent furore at Muirfield Golf Club opened much debate over whether it was acceptable to have a ‘no women’ policy in the 21st century. Surely, this would be as good a time as any to weigh up what Dethscalator have to say on the matter. Well, not really, since their debut LP ‘Racial Golf Course No Bitches’ isn’t really about that. Actually, fuck knows what it’s about. It’s noisy, unhinged, incoherent and with song titles like ‘World War Two Hitler Youth Dagger’ and ‘Aids Atlas’, it’s absolutely brilliant in a demented genius, Young Ones kind of way. The effect is doubled with the creepily simple artwork, like a child trying to reinterpret the contents of David Cronenberg’s skull, extraterrestrial phallocentrism and all, gearing the listener up for an assault that’s punishing but never quite takes itself too seriously.
To set the scene, Hackney’s Dethscalator have been around for five years and in that time have rocked Supersonic Festival, played with Fucked Up and Zu and recorded a bitchin’ split with serial skullfuckers Hey Colossus but this marks their first solo full-length, and anyone who has even heard rumours of them will have an inkling of what lies in store here – 10 tracks of sludgy, beat-you-with-a-shovel noise rock that gradually winds down into utter chaos while a man (well, we can only assume it’s human) hollers incoherencies like a frothing lunatic with The Fear, amplified, distorted and delayed until any hint of restraint is relegated to nostalgia.
‘Black Percy’ opens the show in a confrontational, if deceptively organised, way – short and bittersweet, it’s guttural rock and roll that trundles headlong into hell and in a way it’s almost fun, the hardcore drubbing hardly suitable as a party soundtrack unless it involved copious amounts of cheap speed but definitely worthy of some drunken fist-pumping. It’s the appearance of ‘Grotto Crank’ that upsets things somewhat, the stop-start mathematic grunt and grind fiercely unpredictable and as each chord hits, it’s like a bucket of scrap metal is being showered down upon unsuspecting scalps. There is no longer a vocalist because if words are what Dan Chandler is spewing out, they’re camouflaged by the kind of pained howls normally found only amongst the ill and dying, flayed of all rationale and marking a descent into madness that’s perversely inviting.
The conflict between discord and guttural riffing is a particularly prevalent one on this album, particularly towards the latter half, where ferocious sludgebeasts like ‘Aids Atlas’ wrestle with insanity and the desire to cripple with surging tides of gritty downstrokes – if Unsane were to lose that calculating, predatory groove and simply go a bit mental with an axe, they could be best mates with this lot – but ultimately it’s their deranged, instinctive side that wins out because Dethscalator seem to thrive on what makes everyone else uncomfortable, twisting lyrics into animalistic murmurings and immersing themselves in a sheep-dip of noise and distortion, spacey effects bubbling up in rare moments of calm to keep the delusional tension intact. The riffs only provide temporary footholds, hooks to latch onto before they disappear and plunge you into the miasma once again.
Strip away the noise, bluster and atavistic vocals and you still have a beast of an album, the sort of stoner-sludge monolith that The Jesus Lizard would have made if they’d been raised on a diet of razors and stale Weetabix but their violent unpredictability goes a long way to giving them their appeal. Anyone can sound big, noisy and brash, and throwing in a spacey segue or two is de rigueur for many, but to make something this unnerving, confrontational and to maintain a healthy wit while doing so? Well, that’s why this album is such a monster. It might be of niche appeal but to those who get it, it’ll undoubtedly find itself on regular play for a long time to come.
THE SLEEPING SHAMAN
London has an absolutely amazing noise rock scene. In fact, right here right now I am going to declare it’s the best noise rock scene on the planet. If you live somewhere else and think you have a better noise rock scene then get in touch and we’ll sort it out like men! Anyway, one of the bands lurking around this scene for quite a few years now is Dethscalator and just like many a noise rock band for one reason or another have not managed to release a full length album. However, here we are in 2013 and they have finally unleashed one upon us entitled Racial Golf Course, No Bitches on Riot Season, a label who are having quite a year themselves with monstrous releases from Art of Burning Water, Bad Guys and Mainliner.
Can I just start by saying Racial Golf Course, No Bitches is one of the best names for an album like… ever! It rolls off the tongue beautifully and means absolutely nothing to anyone. Brilliant! It kicks off with a punchy little number entitled ‘Black Percy’ which comes in under the 2 minute mark and the intro would be at home on a kick ass stoner rock album. It’s fast, it’s hard, you can’t understand a fucking word that comes out the vocalist’s gob and proves to be good, solid noise rock… nice one chaps.
You are never far away from a good bit of feedback, the riffs remain consistently heavy, the vocals are fuzzy and incomprehensible which are all the ingredients for a skull pummelling you look for when you purchase an album of this nature. However, there is a slight lack of variety which lets it down. By the time you have listened to the first 3 tracks you have pretty much experienced every sensation which ‘Racial Golf Course, No Bitches is going to throw at you. It’s not a bad album or a disappointment in anyway but can’t quite stand up to other noise rock releases of recent years. Bands like Drunkdriver have been playing stuff like this for yonks and Dethscalator are not taking things to the next level just yet but a great first attempt. One of the tracks on Side B entitled ‘It’s What They Call the Clubhouse, Arsehole’ contains an intro shamelessly similar to ‘The Drift’ by Big Business, but I’m not going to complain as I love that song and I think every band should write one like that.
It’s not a particularly revolutionary offering but it does throw heavy fuzz filled jams at you which will keep most noise rock fans entertained. Support the scene by visiting the Riot Season store and purchasing a copy, the pink bubblegum vinyl looks delicious!
ECHOES AND DUST
Calling yourself Dethscalator is stupid but funny. I award you a point or some dodecahedrons. Decorating your album cover with stupid / funny monsters drawn by mentally ill kids also garners you some points or prizes or whatever. More importantly than either of these you decided to call your album “Racial Golf Course, No Bitches”. I don’t know what that even means (and in my head it refused to be anything other than “Radical Golf Course, No Bitches”) but it certainly gains you some points, as does having song titles like “Aids Atlas” and “It’s What They Call The Clubhouse, Arsehole”
From the opening guitar feedback there were no real clues to what you were getting into but then a shrieking, self-evidently brain damaged man appears who then proceeds to shout unintelligibly into a child’s microphone set on tunnel like reverb for the rest of the album. I don’t know what he’s saying but he sounds angry, confused and sexually frustrated all at the same time. The music behind him is dirty, grimy rock and roll that sounds a bit like a Pissed Jeans album that’s been smeared in excrement and played on the worst stereo in existence. Clearly no-one in Dethscalator cares about anything, certainly not your opinions about how and why music should be played. I didn’t care about Dethscalator either (on the first listen) till I got to Black Percy until I realized that they’re fucking brilliant. I also realized that they’re destined to be living on a sofa in an alley, squabbling over food from binbags unless you give them some of your money. So give them some or they might take it in turns to puke on your dog.
This release seems to have been on the horizon for a long time now, but finally the wait is over and the bubblegum pink slab of vinyl is in our hands. Dethscalator play a no-holds-barred brand of noise rock which is drawing lots of well-justified comparisons with the likes of Unsane and Killdozer. These lads really do make a racket - clattering drums, punchy bass, shattered-glass guitar and David Yow-ish vocal ranting all froth together in an unholy brew of poundingly violent tones of the type which will make you happy if you were a teenager in the late-’80s.
In terms of contemporary comparisons, things get harder. All the UK bands peddling that noise rock sound tend to rock a scratchy DIY sound but this is slick, stomping macho-posturing heaviness. I guess Bad Guys and Baltimore’s Dope Body both have similar testosterock tones but Dethscalator, despite their silly name, don’t seem to share their goofball sensibilities, instead opting for a pounding repetitive heaviness which often has a Shit & Shine kind of vicious psychedelicism to it. In places when they get speedy it verges on that thrashy hardcore punk “crossover” style that briefly threatened to be popular in the ‘90s...but not as shit. More like a Melvinsised version of what that stuff should’ve sounded like. If you want your noise rock to sound chunky and violent and 20 years old a la Amphetamine Reptile or Skin Graft, this will make you happy.
Racial Golf Course, No Bitches has no cruise control. Even when it gathers speed – with singer Dan Chandler’s head flung out the window, hollering in a strange confusion of commanding ecstasy and paralysing fear – its movements are jerked and contorted, tugging power chords and snare punctuations out of joint and forever veering toward the precipice of collapse. So often the album slumps into disarray, with distortion hissing like leaking hydraulics and feedback announcing an internal CPU meltdown, and so often it re-emerges in a completely different shape, with its head situated where its legs used to be: choked funeral marches become high-speed noise rock chases, Neurosis-esque stomps of downtuning become gateways to warbling, drowning guitar solos. Dizzying doesn’t cover it.
In fact, that only consistent element of Dethscalator’s debut is its sheer weight. Guitars bare serrated teeth as well as muscular mid-range impact, swirling around the commotion (tunnels of delay, abused cymbals, malfunctioned guitar leads) that so often billows at the album’s centre. Even when the band cut back (as in the whirring, lost frequency interference of “Felt Leg”), intensity exists as a terrifying and imminent implication; a gigantic, mammoth-shaped void waiting to be filled by the twisted strings of barbed wire forever waiting in the wings. Its re-entry is ugly and gratifying simultaneously.
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