Originally written by Chris Redar
London’s Twitch of the Death Nerve commit so many sins of sound on their debut full-length A New Code of Morality that it boggles the mind. Of the more egregious examples:
– That thing where the blasts go fast for a couple of seconds, then peter out towards the end of the measure (aka the ‘None So Vile Effect’)
– Breaking into Pigsty’s practice space to steal their snare drum and recording microphone for said snare drum
– Flirting with slam at any given moment
– Samples all over the place that generally make little to no sense
– Gruntsquealing (not quite a pigsqueal, but so, so close)
– Basically recording a Sadis Euphoria / Terminally Your Aborted Ghost hybrid album
By all reason, this should be example one for a seminar in repetitive failure for a scene that largely died in the mid-aughts. The only problem?
It’s a blast to listen to.
Twitch of the Death Nerve clearly understand this whole brutal thing well enough to have some fun with a largely stale style, opting to mix things up at such opportune moments that it’s easy to forget a BDM record is playing. Having a sense of humor ala Gorerotted isn’t a step in the wrong direction, either; song titles such as “Scores of Sores, Legions of Lesions” and “Eschewing the Advice Against Self Trepanation” are good examples of a band that plants tongue firmly in cheek when dealing with gore overload.
A New Code of Morality revels in its obnoxious nature. Guitar squeals accompany the aforementioned gruntsquealing every fifteen seconds or so. Awfully recorded gravity drives devolve into breakdowns with little to no warning early and often. “Peculiar Perversions Particular to the Piquerist” (again, pretty silly title given the subject) drops everything on the list above in the first thirty seconds, as if to confirm that there is no delusion as to the content that lies ahead. It’s a great opening cut, and it’s always nice to have something come to terms with its lack of pretense that early in its running.
But as with most things lacking pretense, A New Code also lacks ambition. We’ve got thirty-nine minutes of music here, and the lion’s share of it is interchangeable. The band does a rather impressive job of setting things apart somewhat musically, but the often monotonous vocals (though sometimes broken up with a high shriek, ala every death metal band ever) are just that. It works for what Twitch of the Death Nerve does, but that doesn’t mean it’s tolerable for nearly forty minutes.
And I hate to be this guy, but as a dad, I’m not really down with the baby-eating stuff (two songs have titles that reference this). That shit might have been cool when I was in my early twenties and trying to shock non-‘heads or whatever, but now, not so much. In fact, in retrospect, it was probably never “cool,” because I wasn’t very “cool” back then. Guess this makes me a hypocrite.
Summary, in case everything said above was soundly ignored: this is pretty damn listenable. Brutal fans will find more than enough to tide them over until whatever Unique Leader drops next, and non-brutal fans might just find a few riffs worth twirling some hair to. Just don’t go expecting the world and then get all disappointed when you get handed a globe.