Released almost exactly a year to the day from the Coronavirus outbreak being officially declared a global pandemic, Louisiana sludge merchants Eyehategod take the last twelve painful months and turn them into a forty-minute outburst of depressive rage and explosive nihilistic aggression.
Taking its title from the non-sedentary lifestyle of vocalist Mike Williams, the band’s latest release, A History of Nomadic Behavior (Century Media) is only their sixth album since their inception in 1988, and their first since their self-titled record in 2014. From Black Sabbath style riffs to bursts of Black Flag hardcore punk hostility, this latest release is simply one of the heaviest, most intense records of the year so far.
Drenched in feedback, guitarist Jimmy Bower delivers his trademark sound with razor-sharp brutality while the throbbing rhythm section of bassist Gary Mader and drummer Aaron Hill produce sounds guaranteed to be felt through every floorboard in the house. As ever though, it’s Williams who constantly demands your attention. From incendiary opener ‘Built Beneath the Lies’ to the likes of ‘Three Black Eyes’, ‘High Risk Trigger’ and ‘Circle of Nerves’ you can practically see every sinew in the frontman’s neck being strained to breaking point, sweat pouring from every inch of his body, his facial expressions merely different contortions of pain and frustration as he screams and agonizes his way through the record with only the brief, chilled-out stoner instrumental ‘Smoker’s Place’ as respite.
Williams’s desperation comes to a harrowing conclusion on album closer ‘Every Thing, Every Day’ as he bays and howls his way through lyrics like “Wake up every day, go to work, go to school, every day, every day, every day. Wake up at 6 am. Go to work. Every Day. Every day!” before ending the song screaming, “Kill your boss! Kill your boss! Kill your boss!” until it sounds like he’s about to pass out. Not bad for someone who was so ill that he had to undergo a liver transplant five years ago.
A searing tumult of bitterness and resentment, A History of Nomadic Behavior is a punishing experience inspired in no small part by events of the last few years. Anguished cries, throbbing basslines, claustrophobic drums, doomy, planet-shaking riffs, and thick, smoky blues guitar all combine with devastating force on another top quality release from one of New Orleans’s finest sludgecore institutions.
Buy the album here: https://www.eyehategod.ee
8 / 10