The mystique surrounding this ‘End Times Super Group’ has overshadowed the contributions the band have made to the canon of extreme music.
This is almost exclusively due to the supposed antics of the band’s likely-entirely-fictional “Minister of Propaganda”, Seward Fairbury. Why anyone would entrust the duty of consistent and regular publicising of their message and news updates to a man with a longstanding history of anti-social behaviour, unexplained disappearances, violent altercations, incarceration and randomly turning up in mental health facilities from Arizona to Vietnam is beyond us.
But that Fairbury’s reported social calendar overshadowed the first collaborative effort of Eyehategod’s Mike ‘IX’ Williams, Yakuza’s Bruce Lamont, Neurosis’s Scott Kelly and producer/ex-Minsk bassist Sanford Parker either says a lot about the public looking for petrol to pour on the flames of controversy, or that the Last City Zero debut didn’t hit with the expected impact considering its list of creators.
However, give four dudes with this amount of talent the time and they’ll work out the kinks. Where Last City Zero seemed a loose pastiche of sounds originating from the areas of darkness and despondency, Know How To Carry A Whip has more cohesion and a stronger sense of direction, making the elegiac elements so bandied about by band and press alike that much more effective and arresting. That Corrections House don’t subscribe to tunnel vision in terms of genre and categorisation may throw off some; others will appreciate how this allows their expression to take on various forms.
A track like I Was Never Good At Meth ambles along like the most musical soundscape of Merzbow’s catalogue and sets the table for Williams’ gonzo, vein-collapsing poetry, whereas Crossing My One Good Finger recalls an angrier take on the cybernetic throb of early Nine Inch Nails. The density provided by intensely sustained guitars, pulsing programmed rhythms and Williams’ and Kelly’s vocals falls between cathartic Coil and rough-hewn Godflesh. Yet, it’s when Lamont’s saxophone slinks in with droning textures behind the head-nodding beats driving White Man’s Gonna Lose and Hopeless Moronic that the comparison to the freeform jazz/industrial/dub brilliance of GOD’s Possession and Praxis’s Sacrifist albums come happily barrelling into our conscious.