Car Bomb – w^w^^w^w (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 27th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Homer Simpson once said that every time he learned something new, it pushes some old stuff out of his brain. And surely a lot of us have felt that way, especially when trying to consume overly-ambitious albums, or better yet, keep track of what’s even coming out and happening these days. Neuroscientists we aren’t, but the human brain is probably conditioned to absorb only a few things at a time, which presents the ultimate hassle when trying to have some type of intake process for an album as boggled and revved-up as New York-based Car Bomb’s sophomore w^w^^w^w. It’s basically like trying to corral a nursery of toddlers hopped-up on pixie sticks while staccato child songs play in the back. You get the picture. (And if you’re wondering, w^w^^w^w translates to “w click w.”)

Those who missed out on the band’s excellent Centralia debut in 2007 will instantly have to duke it out with Car Bomb’s Yankee-shuggah riff tactics, some of which recall another Meshuggah baby band, Byzantine. However, Car Bomb is infinitely more frantic and panicked than Byzantine and even at this stage in the game, make Meshuggah look pedestrian when it comes to the hyper-staccato department. The album throws itself around the room with reckless abandon, as intricate drum and guitar patterns somehow meet up in the right spots. The violent nature of songs like “The Sentinel” (no, not the Judas Priest song) and “Lower the Blade” are crashing and uncontrollable, and are seized by Michael Deffner’s vitriolic spew.

Getting Gojira’s Joe Duplantier to do some guest vocals on “Third Revelation” was a smart move, as the Frenchman’s discernible chest-bark works in concert with what is perhaps the album’s heaviest track. Yet, Car Bomb gets out of its comfort zone with some hazy, atmospheric moments on “Magic Bullet” and album closer “Seconds,” which peels off a near-Deftones moment thanks to Deffner’s surprisingly strong clean vocals.

It’s a bit surprising that Relapse no longer wanted these guys considering how well they fit into the label’s never-ending quest for superior bands of the experimental and extreme variety. In independent land, Car Bomb should do just fine for themselves, though, as their reputation as one of North America’s most appealing out-of-the-box metal bands. And w^w^^w^w definitely doesn’t fit into any particular box, nor can it fit in one’s brain…

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