Gorphanage – Swank

Employing the well known Spinal Tap approach of going up to eleven, Lake County’s Gorphanage takes the template used on 2015’s self-released May Cause Birth Defects and push everything bar the silly song titles that little bit further with latest independent release Swank. The sludgy riffs are sludgier, the groove riffs are groovier, the insanely fast parts – although less frequent – are faster, there are more TV and movie excerpts than even Rob Zombie would feel comfortable with, and the production is another improvement on the debut, somehow managing to sound even filthier.

Beginning with a rather suggestive quote from the Lars von Trier movie Nymphomaniac, the conservatively titled ‘Taste The Fuck’ opens with a slow, funereal dirge, which, after a brief interlude from the David Lynch movie Blue Velvet, gets seriously nasty with some Cannibal Corpse style low-end hammer-ons, and vocals that sound like an infected gorilla being sick into another gorilla.

The riffs played over the dancy beats of ‘My Heart Belongs 2 U (+ My Liver Does 2)’ end up becoming something more akin to a cow being slowly turned inside out, ‘Malicious Meat Mag’ begins with a slow groove before going completely bonkers when, for reasons best known to themselves, the band decide to showcase their hidden mariachi side by singing “penetra mi culo” (penetrate my ass).

‘I Have Sex’ begins with a tasteful extract from the Ken Russell movie Whore and ends with a quote from Abe Simpson (more songs need to do this), while ‘Meat Raffle’ includes Tom Cruise instructing you to suck his big fat fucking sausage.

If like myself, you firmly believe the addition of Kelsey Grammer enhances just about anything, then the Faster Pussycat-being-anally-violated-by-Autopsy Death Metal sleaze of ‘Shake It Madame’ is the song for you. The more straightforward ‘Coffin Birth’ is all blasts and Slayer riffs, while ‘Sex Cauldron’ is sludge, speed and pick scrapes, plus some of the worst things to hear inside a sex dungeon being read over what sounds to be nightmarish eighties computer game music. ‘Smoke More Pussy, Eat More Weed’ is both fast and groovy, featuring even more bizarre and inappropriate soundbites, while the last few minutes of closer ‘Long’n’Heavy’ (Swank)’ is channel hopping, sex-related absurdity.

While the clicky drums can occasionally get a bit much, and eighteen minutes for a closing track is definitely excessive, for the most part, Swank, available via Spotify, and many other dark, squishy corners of the internet, is a definite improvement on the band’s debut. A raucous, occasionally unfocused but hilarious, sex-themed, scattershot mess.

7.5 / 10

GARY ALCOCK