Fudge Tunnel

In a Word

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A catchall of this and that -- and a bit of an inadvertent farewell effort from Fudge Tunnel -- In a Word, as the liner notes merrily say, is "crammed (with) as much stuff on as possible and it pretty much sums up Fudge Tunnel '89-'94." The core of the compilation -- seven songs out of fifteen -- are two separate John Peel sessions recorded in 1990 and 1992 respectively. Anyone who believes in the stereotype of Earache metal as strictly hyperspeed grindcore will probably be pleasantly surprised at how downright catchy (rather than pulverizing) the first session tracks are. If anything, songs like "Sex Mammoth" and "Bed Crumbs" are swaggering biker-metal-in excelsis by way of Motörhead, aggressive but not early Napalm Death by any means. The later radio songs show the band moving more into its choppier and brusquer mode, less careening rampage than deliberate, careful destruction. At a long remove, it's interesting to compare songs like "Good Kicking" and "Tipper Gore" to contemporaneous Helmet, because on said songs Fudge Tunnel actually gets that band's formula right -- brutal riffs that memorable and actual flecks of variety. Live tracks make up most of the rest of the disc, including two OK-enough cuts from a show that the band snarkily notes had an audience of "about 300 Americans who didn't pay to get in." More of interest are the three songs from a Danish festival which, if of a slightly more ragged recording quality, are still more memorably unhinged. Filling things out are three studio rarities -- "Sweet Meat," a rough and ready enough original, and two covers, the more notable of which would have to be "Changes." That's "Changes" the wonderfully wimpy ballad from early Black Sabbath, so hearing it transmogrified Fudge Tunnel-wise is something else.

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