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Child Bite - Strange Waste EP

Tapehead   (41 reviews)

Posted: 11/26/2014 | Comments: 0 | Rate:

In 2012, the twisted punk-metal blender known as Child Bite released an album called Monomania, a six-song collection that introduced me to the band’s sound. It remains one of the more memorable albums I’d heard that year, sinister cuts like “Smear Where the Face Was” and “Begin the Hiss” working in these captivating percussion loops and mesmerizing bass rhythms, pushing the post-punk idiom into something more metal-based and, at times, progressive. Vocalist Shawn Knight, whose quivering voice sounds something like Jello Biafra doing his best impression of James Mason, exudes the correct combination of strangeness and aggression as the band’s verbal component. Introducing the Child Bite’s newest release, the Strange Waste EP, Knight admits he’s “Still Fucked Up After All These Years” as the guitars grind and the low end occupies what little space remains beneath the mire. And, there’s really no need to argue with him.

While Monomania was itself a wonderfully odd and eccentrically conceived ruckus, the Strange Waste EP could be taken as its hardcore counterpart, the band’s artful nuance and structural A.D.D. injected with speed and belligerence. Now at home with Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records, Child Bite’s maiden release is high energy and jagged as fuck. And though Strange Waste only clocks in at less than 19 minutes, there’s no attempt at note economy as every song is packed with any and every indulgence the band can think of, including signatures and solos. The only time this doesn’t work is with “Sinking In Your Skin,” which winds up sounding incomplete next to the just as long and equally relentless “Foreign Tissue Purge.”

Otherwise, Child Bite’s push for immediacy works really well. “Garbage Odyssey”’s atonal opening transitions into a series of build-ups and payoffs, a grand collective of voices eventually chanting in unison amidst the track’s pigfuck-allegiances, which also power the bass-thick “Molestation of the Arts,” a section of arpeggiated guitar play building this effective cyclical point of distress. The excellent “Obey the Wraith” thunders through its minute/forty-five, chugging bass riffs anchoring some of the tightest guitar playing on the album.

Most ambitious, though, is the album’s final track, “In A Cloud Of Blood/Bog Infinity,” its quiet, baroque string intro fading into a pulsating and viscous blanket of shifting tar. You can almost visualize its depth and movement it’s so heavy. Finding some inspiration via Angel Dust-era Faith No More at points throughout the song, it provides a decent cap to the album, the overall rush of Strange Waste leading to this one very loud, very composed finale that’s no less capable of ruining ears.

Although some instances of derivation can be found (“Ancestral Ooze” may very well have been pulled from Black Flag’s “Can’t Decide” and “Mongoloid Obsession” takes a cue or two from Bl'ast), Child Bite’s Strange Waste in some ways challenges hardcore’s “trim the fat” ethos through its songwriting while also embracing the genre’s brevity. Child Bite smartly synthesizes its influences in a way so that they can not only define themselves musically, but also grow creatively and hopefully remain, in their words, "music for losers."

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