Positivity is nice. It’s an ideal state of mind and a place from which we should all strive to see the world. But let’s be honest: nobody can be positive all the time, and trying to will only make things worse. Sometimes it’s best to succumb. Sometimes, you just need a good wallow. That is where bands like EYEHATEGOD come in.
EYEHATEGOD have been perched atop the pinnacle of spite mountain since the late 80s. Grief, hopelessness, hate and despair are their bread and butter and few have ever made it sound better. However, despite several tours in the last few years and a string of side projects and compilations, their eponymous new album is their first full-length in 14 years. To put that in perspective, there hasn’t been a new EHG album since before 9/11, before Katrina decimated their hometown of New Orleans, before drone warfare and bath salts zombies and Deepwater Horizon (not to mention the band members’ own issues with drugs, violence, prison, etc). Suffice it to say: I think we’re well overdue for another round of Mike Williams and company’s special brand of pissed-off sludge metal scuzz.
The album kicks off with the raging “Action! Propaganda!” a feedback-drenched circle pit waiting to happen which showcases that (unlike a lot of other artists categorized under the “sludge” tag) EHG have always had a talent for punky, up-tempo thrashing to match their sleazy, opiated crawl. In fact, all but two songs on the album clock in under four minutes, lending the proceedings an impactful, straight-to-the-the point economy which serves the material well.
Joey LaCaze’s punishing drumming absolutely dominates on tracks like the album-closing “The Age of Bootcamp”, sounding alternately tighter and more relaxed and reflexive than ever. Sadly, it will have to stand as musical last will and testament due to his untimely death from respiratory failure last year.
EYEHATEGOD is a massive-sounding slab of riffs, and despite the group’s overwhelming negativity, it is at its heart a comeback story. The group has beat addiction, jail time, extended hiatuses and even the death of a founding member and come out sounding strong and passionate. Standouts like “Medicine Noose” hold up against anything in their back catalog. Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait so long for the next album!
EYEHATEGOD’s new album is out today on Phil Anselmo’s HOUSECORE label. The band is performing at Brighton Music Hall on June 5th with Ringworm, Enabler and Phantom Glue.