There might have been a situation in high school where you liked jam bands. Don’t worry about it, we aren’t going to out you to the heavy metal police, the scenester militia, or even the Twitter mafia. Those days you spent lazily relaxing in your parent’s hammock or playing hacky sack certainly brought you pleasure; maybe you ripped off a jester or a forehead delay or perhaps the remarkable around the world move. Your friends were impressed, and as you sipped stolen beers and smelled the freshly cut grass, you believed that life would never get better than this.
But eventually you went away to college, traded your German footwear for some German-inspired bootwear and began playing the part of the brooding artist so that people would find you interesting. You buried your true past deep in a trunk of memories and pushed forward with only the most aggressive and miserable soundtrack you could muster. Your parents were angry with you. Vegetarianism, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, was never fashionable in Washington, DC. But they kept faith in you, explained to their friends that you were in a phase and showed up on graduation as Red Bull and ecstasy got you through the “bullshit” of the formal experience.
Eventually, you cut your hair, got a job, got interested in Herman Miller furniture, traded in your perfect vision for tortoise shell eyeglasses and developed an interest in scotch to turn alcoholism into being interesting. Friends asked you about music, and you made grand allusions to a past dotted with heavy music and an interesting persona. They laughed as you carefully played pop music on your Bluetooth speakers and nervously sipped Ardbeg Corryvreckan when we all know some Evan Williams would have done just fine.
But then something happened. You opened Spotify one day and “based on your history,” Spotify suggested something new that was heavy. Perhaps it was a Horrendous album, Morbus Chron, or the Sweven debut. Whatever it was, you became curious. You realized that all your personalities and interests actually could live side by side. You rejoiced in your cubicle, tugging slowly at your hair as if you could make it grow. Slashing at your pants to make them look weathered. You rejoiced, because life was possible.
“Deathgazer” showcases the treble-forward guitar production that so suits Bedsore. The track blasts forth in layers. First, the angular guitars herald their own intro, and then the band dials it up to welcome the track with a group intro. The track then spirals off into the virtual insanity of Bedsore’s unstable, dizzying false flag style of metal. There is nowhere that your body will feel rested, stable or incapable of falling through the floor and into some terrifying dimension of nightmarish hellscape featuring barbed wires and grotesque sculptures.
The album continues to bob and weave, sometimes floating high in the consciousness and sometimes falling into deep pits of despair where guitars become muddled, heavily layered and full of depression. The band vacillates between these extremes while deftly mixing in solos, barreling riffs, squeals and purely blackened sections of death. It is, to say the least, a very welcome chaotic experience in a time of endless confusion. Bedsore seem to have recorded this album in 4,000 places at once using numerous instruments, amps, spells, cadavers, etc. The resulting album feels not only timely but timeless.
With much of the popular death metal taking this path lately, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of bands employing their own take on Chuck Schuldiner’s unending influence on death metal. Bedsore are another band in this mold, yet they add a touch of melody (see “At the Mountain of Madness”) and a touch of psychedelic ambiance not frequently found in the United States scene. Leave it to these Italians to mix just the right amount of expired cauliflower into the mix to create something wholly interesting.