Confessions of a Man Mad Enough to Live Amongst Beasts

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UK beasties Charger are chiseled from the same mountain as American acts Soilent Green, Eyehategod, Khanate, and a large chunk of the early Southern Lord catalog -- in other words, all sludge, all the time; offering the blend of hardcore, metal, doom and despair, that's the musical equivalent of being dragged behind a truck by your fingernails. Charger's debut, Confessions of a Man Mad Enough to Live Amongst Beasts alternates between mid-tempo riff-plods and mesmerizing, one-chord drones, with punctuation provided by scorching blasts of feedback and the pained, wailing vocal tantrums of Tim Machin. Capturing Charger's thoroughly ugly musical upheaval was underground-hero/engineer Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Buzzov-En, Brutal Truth, High on Fire, etc.) whose stamp of approval lends some credibility to what might be a more typically derivative effort. And indeed, his full, enveloping, production eats up all frequencies, making long mud-trudges "Airtank Face Pincers" and "Chide and Harmonize," joyfully unbearable for fans of such noisy, teethgrinding anti-music. The arrangements are typically disorienting, songs usually starting on the path of a solid punk riff before veering into the ditch and getting lost in a nearly structure-free, mine-strewn battlefield of spoken word interludes, distorted howls, and moments of Neurosis-style scorched-earth tension-and-release. Sure, most doom-core-whatever purveyors have felt this type of exquisite pain before, Confessions of a Man. . . doing little to push the boundaries of the genre -- but who can dislike an outfit with the yarbles to title a song "God Made Us in the Image of His Ass," and to so convincingly prove its truth?

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