Thu 22nd March 2012
If I'd never met the lovely men from Art of Burning Water, I'd be genuinely afraid to. I know that in person they're quiet, friendly and laid back to the point of being horizontal, but if you ever hear their records they sound absolutely terrifying. Huge riffs rain down and then shift before you've had chance to wrap your head around them. The vocals could have been lifted from a black metal album but without any apparent self control. The lyrics are of course incomprehensible. The production doesn't 'help' make sense of any of it. Everything is separated and sits very nicely if you listen to it properly but the vocals are mixed very low and frequently distorted, occasionally popping out from their competition with the cymbals and high end to berate you for something. I'm not sure what, but they sound angry so just nod and go along with it.
The band describe themselves as "a wall of noise made of energy and screams'. I'd have gone with "'Reign in Blood' era Slayer playing sludge". Both should give you a decent idea of what to expect. A common problem with bands who play this fast and agressive (and yes, they can pull it off live) is that they can quickly outstay their welcome. My attention span for super fast technical music is oddly low considering everything that's going on musically vying for the listeners ear, but AoBW keep their songs short for the most part. With the exception of 11 minute closer 'Nicaragua', 4 of the remaining tracks clock in at under 2 minutes 30 so if there's a danger you might get bored or find your attention wandering, you probably won't get the chance.
If you're thinking this sounds good to you but aren't quite sold, check out 'Only Choking' on their bandcamp page. If you make it all the way through and you're not throwing devil horns, headbanging and fighting the urge to run into your housemates room and start a 2 person circle pit, a mere review can't help you. Apart from the previously mentioned 'Nicaragua' which is a little overlong, 'Love You Dead' demands your attention from start to finish. Like it? I bought it. I suggest you all do the same.