Corrections House – Last City Zero

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By Gruesome Greg

Q: What do you get when you put Mike Williams, Scott Kelly, Bruce Lamont and Sanford Parker in one building?

A: Corrections House. (And with a lineup like that, you know it’s gotta be good!)

That said, if you were expecting a 75-minute barrage of epic post-sludge metal complete with garbled razorwire vocals, you’re in for something (almost) completely different. True, one can certainly hear shades of Neurosis in tunes like eight-minute opener “Serve or Survive”—where it’s Kelly, not Williams doing the initial singing, though the latter makes his presence felt on an eerie chorus backed by monastery-style chanting. No, really. There is also a squawking electronics-effects solo courtesy of Mr. Parker, which adds a little extra twist.

Keyboards also begin the much-shorter “Bullets and Graves,” which sounds sorta like industrial gone grindcore—or even black metal—while other tracks offer electronic overtures. As a matter of fact, there is no bassist in this band, and the drums are all programmed, so there ya go. And speaking of out-there, how about a four-minute acoustic guitar/saxophone interlude (“Run Through the Night”) that gives way to whispered vocals and a blackened fuzz brigade? Definitely don’t hear those every day.

“Dirt Poor and Mentally Ill” appears to be penned by Mike IX, as far as the song title goes, but take away his occasional vocal contributions and it sounds like something you’d hear at a goth club… until it devolves into a spoken-word piece. Uh, yeah. The title track is also spoken-word, with just some mellow Kelly guitar-work offering minimal backing to Williams waxing poetic before the screams come back in spurts on epic album-closer “Drapes Hung by Jesus,” which is pretty much post-everything.

I mean, the closest comparison I’d offer to any of the aforementioned’s previous work might be Through Silver in Blood, but I dunno, this is pretty far-out, maaaaan.

(Neurot Recordings)

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Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.