Chat Pile - God’s Country Music Album Reviews

Chat Pile - God’s Country Music Album Reviews
Terrifying and thrilling in equal measure, the debut album from the Oklahoma City sludge-metal band is a vivid rendering of the towering piles of poison littering America’s psychic landscape.

In World War I, fully half of America’s ammunition came from lead mined by the workers of Picher, Oklahoma. After generations of deindustrialization, Picher was abandoned in 2009, and despite a decades-long federal cleanup effort, it remains a ghost town strewn with mountains of toxic mine tailings—200-foot-high heaps of contaminated gravel known as chat piles. These poisoned mounds make a fitting metaphor for the Oklahoma City sludge-metal group. A gut-churning amalgam of molten guitars, pile-driving drums, and agonized howls, Chat Pile’s sound is as ugly as their inspiration—a terrifying embodiment of cancerous shit brought to the surface that should’ve been left buried deep below.

The quartet of singer Raygun Busch, guitarist Luther Manhole, bassist Stin, and drummer Captain Ron, Chat Pile have only been around since 2019, but they are inheritors of a musical lineage that goes back decades. On their first two EPs, the self-released This Dungeon Earth and Remove Your Skin Please, they did little to disguise their influences. The oily bass and guitar echoed the classic sludge of groups like Eyehategod, Karp, and Floor. The boomy blast of reverbed electronic drums flashed back to Big Black and Godflesh. Busch’s unhinged yowls immediately brought to mind the Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, while the mechanical brutality of the rhythm section evoked fellow former Amphetamine Reptile signees Helmet. At the margins, atonal spillover from arty groups like Unwound mingled with the lingering influence of drop-tuned nu-metal wizards Korn, obliterating hardcore’s conventional hierarchies of taste.

Chat Pile’s debut album makes no radical changes to that mixture; it just sounds bigger, uglier, and scarier. Once again handling production duties themselves, they’ve beefed up the music’s proportions, finding new depths in a mixdown that churns like a swollen river thickened with flood debris. Beginning with a halting progression of drum fills before exploding into Busch’s larynx-shredding shriek, the opening “Slaughterhouse” underscores just how forbidding their sound has gotten. The bass is tuned so low that its tones no longer register as actual notes—more like dark, gelatinous stains spreading across the low end. The guitar stabs and slashes, carving out dissonant yet hypnotic riffs that are catchy in spite of themselves. And the merciless snares and toms, driven home like a cattle pistol to the head, are the perfect complement to a song about abattoirs.

Despite the record’s imposing dimensions, Chat Pile pair heaviness with restraint. There are no solos and few double-time passages. Digging into their riffs with the tenacity of a dog worrying a bone, they stick to a methodical, mid-tempo pace—the determined gait of a contract killer on deadline. An innate sense of contrast amplifies the music’s force. Showing utmost respect for empty space, they know precisely when to pull back—to emphasize the cracked edge of Busch’s voice, or leave room for a silvery tendril of guitar—and when to flood the zone with pure, cleansing fire.

Even as an instrumental trio, Chat Pile would absolutely slay. But Busch tips them into true greatness. He’s got it all: presence, personality, and the storytelling abilities of a seasoned horror director. Start with his arresting voice, which might mimic the authoritative bark of a cop with a grudge or the withered mewl of a basement-dwelling troll, eliciting not just discomfort but something approaching physical disgust. When he screams, which is often, it’s not just figuratively blood-curdling, it sounds literally curdled, like little globs of matter were detaching from the walls of his throat, gumming up the vowels as they tumbled out. When he expresses vulnerability, he has a tremulous, sputtering tone somewhere between Bobcat Goldthwait and Barney Gumble on a three-day bender; it’s the sound of a man unraveling from inside.

While there are topical themes in their music—“Slaughterhouse” exposes the brutality of industrialized meat production, and “Why” is a desperate plea of sympathy for the unhoused—Chat Pile aren’t so much a political band as they are dystopian impressionists. “More than anything, we’re trying to capture the anxiety and fear of seeing the world fall apart,” says Stin. True to form, in song after song, Busch displays the awful magnetism of a street-corner ranter in a sandwich board. His subject matter can be chilling: In “Anywhere,” a gunshot rips through a moment of tranquility, leaving blood on the narrator’s face, brains on his shoes; in “Pamela,” a man seems to confess to drowning his son to get back at his wife. Seething like one of Henry Rollins’ angriest missives, “Tropical Beaches, Inc.” might be a businessman’s explosion of self-loathing. But the exact outlines of the songs’ narratives are rarely clear. Both captivated and repelled by Busch’s antiheroes, our sympathies drift uneasily across the rutted surface of the music, trying and failing to find a solid moral purchase.

What’s scariest is the path these songs travel as they devolve from garden-variety societal ills into a kind of free-associative chaos. “Wicked Puppet Dance” starts out like a cautionary tale about intravenous drugs, but by the second verse the paranoid narrator is meting out murder and arson, while the inscrutable chorus simply reels off a list of charged monosyllables, insistent as Nitzer Ebb and dripping with portent: “God’s/Eyes/Taste/Lips/Red/Phos/Death/Cum.” Likewise, “The Mask” begins as a short story told from the perspective of an armed robber, yet by the end, his howls are an inventory of “broken faces…/And jamming fingers/And goddamn dust in my eyes for the rest of my life,” a litany unintelligible to anyone not living in his own tortured mind. Even the closing “Grimace_Smoking_Weed.jpeg”—a nine-minute juggernaut about a guy so high he hallucinates the McDonald’s mascot in his bedroom—isn’t quite the lighthearted cannabis gag it might seem to be; deep down, it’s a harrowing existential nightmare, like a stoner-metal update of Suicidal Tendencies’ “Institutionalized,” toxic metals pooling at the bottom of his Pepsi.

Songwriting from the villain’s perspective is nothing new—see hardcore, see country, see narcocorridos. To Chat Pile’s credit, even their most unsettling songs never feel exploitative. As slippery as their songwriting can be, there is no doubting the band’s ethical compass. The question at the heart of “Why” (“Why do people have to live outside?”) is an unequivocal indictment of a system that relegates people to homelessness. The refrain of the dirge-like “Anywhere” (“It’s the sound of a fuckin’ gun/It’s the sound of your world collapsing”) ought to be looped at punishing volume outside NRA headquarters. Still, the question remains: Why would anyone want to listen to someone singing from the perspective of a child killer? Perhaps for the simplest of reasons: Because they are there. Chat Pile aren’t asking us to relate to these depraved characters, they are showing them to us because they are symptoms of a deeper rot.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Chat Pile - God’s Country Music Album Reviews Chat Pile - God’s Country Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Saturday, August 06, 2022 Rating: 5

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