Friday, March 15, 2013

Album Review: Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt - "Dys/Closure"

There's a certain finesse required when choosing your band name -- especially if it's a metal band. In my opinion, it's usually better to keep things short, simple, and to the point. Slayer, Carcass, Dying Fetus. Long winded names like Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky, Iwrestledabearonce, and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, can get a quick laugh or a small "that's pretty cool, actually", but usually wear out their welcome and become cringe and eye-roll worthy by the third time you say the band's full name. A name like Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shift seems like one of these names at first glance, but the more you read it and say it, the more hilarious it becomes. I love it especially, because every time I think of the name, this image pops into my head:

Say what you want about him, this man is more of a boss than you and I could ever be.
I'm running out of words to slap together for an intro, and by now I usually show you guys the album cover, so... uh... here.

Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt is a three piece hailing from South Wales, Australia who play a sort of off-the-wall and chaotic style of grindcore/ powerviolence which to my ears boils down to what you'd hear in a Weekend Nachos and Dillinger Escape Plan collaboration. Keep in mind, this is old Dillinger that I'm talking about. The same Dillinger that thought that things like melody and rhythm could be replaced by things like sheer sonic chaos and running on people's faces (Spoiler alert: They thought right).

While I can definitely draw parallels between old Dillinger Escape Plan and Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt, the latter has a strangely accessible sound for the style of music they play. The spastic and chaotic parts don't sound like they're there to confuse and overwhelm, but rather make the songs on Dys/Closure rise and fall, ebb and flow, and build and release tension. The dissonance makes things sound twisted, sound... wrong. Not wrong as in they're playing the incorrect notes. Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt couldn't hit better combinations of notes and tones if they tried. P's cacophonous chords ring out over C's fluid drumming, making the hairs stand up on end and holding your attention in a sort of disturbing suspended state while you wait for the music to explode back into a comfortable key. Eventually you get the musical release you crave, only to have it robbed from you again in a heartbeat. Dys/Closure's pushing and pulling is what really makes me enjoy it each and every time I've listened to it. It also doesn't wear out it's welcome, with 15 tracks across just over 22 minutes, which is a decent song-to-album-length ratio for a grind band.

Organizing awesome instrumentation is one thing, and making it really engaging is damn tough, but full on emotional rollercoasters can come to flying stops if the vocals can't carry that same presence in the mix. Whether it's a weak lead or ill-suiting backup, bad vocal delivery can ruin an otherwise great album in a heartbeat. Fortunately for Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt, K is a fucking amazing frontman. He really reminds me of hardcore hero/ vocal powerhouse Jacob Bannon of Converge in his raw delivery and ability to translate emotions. They're not too similar in timbre, but even if you can't understand a word they say, you can always figure out what emotion they're trying to convey.

Production on Dys/Closure is pretty solid to boot. Things are pretty jangly and bright, which took me by surprise the first time I took a listen, but a mix of P's Fender Telecaster and no bassist leave all the low end to C's kick drum and lower toms. It sounds a bit odd when I explain it like this, but once you take a listen, you'll know what I mean. And don't worry; just because production is bright, doesn't mean things sound thin and weak. Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt still manage to get in some good old fashioned face-smashings in throughout the album.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Dividing Line, Instrumental, Voir Dire, In Defence Of, Within

On a Playlist With: Dillinger Escape Plan, Weekend Nachos, Converge

Overall Score: 4.5/5

It's grindy. It's spazzy. It makes me want to chug a litre of gasoline and claw my own face off. Dys/Closure is for fans of engaging, visceral and emotional music, and for those who don't mind starting a circle pit in the middle of their room while blasting it at 2AM.

Dys/Closure comes out April 15th on Art as Catharsis RecordsFat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt has a million social media profiles, all of which can be found through their Facebook page, and you can listen to the first two singles off of Dys/Closure, as well as pre-order the album and merch on the Art as Catharsis Bandcamp page.

That's all for now, folks. Believe in your dreams.

-Grave Dave

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