Constructing an album based on the mindset of soul-destroying, post-apocalyptic atmosphere is much harder than you think. You firstly have to consider the right balance between raw melody and gritty, excruciating yet somehow salivating musicianship. Some bands carry this off aplomb, but the best do it different from one another. Godflesh perform crushing grooves. Fear Factory prefer the more sentimental approach, but only add this to the former. Killing Joke deliver the maniacal hooks. And so on it goes.
One of the newer wave of industrial-tinged groups, Corrections House, attempted to deliver this soul-destroying sound but didn’t necessarily perfect it with their somewhat flawed debut record.Corrections House are something of a supergroup however, consisting of such wide-eyed underground legends as Mike Williams (EyeHateGod), Scott Kelly (Neurosis) and Bruce Lamont of the lesser known but just as prominent Yakuza.Whatever you consider the meaning of “supergroup” to be in relation to this band’s eminent line-up, you can’t disagree that latest record “Know How to Carry a Whip” certainly has upped the ante on almost every aspect since the debut.
You can swiftly tell this from the level of strong consistency and memorable nature of album opener ‘Crossing My One Good Finger’, an industrial manic that perfectly suits the end of days, but not without a strange hook-laden panache. It’s practically a set-in-stone approach to songwriting on this album that as a collective, Corrections House deliver here so much more passionately than when they first formed. More accessible songs such as ‘White Man’s Gonna Lose’ and ‘When Push Come to the Shank’ display the band’s penchant for focus on the aforementioned balance, i.e. distinctive melody but which segues into the harsh, bitter landscapes provided by Williams’ narrative menace. The best songs are saved for the second half, admittedly. ‘Visions Divide’ almost echoes early My Bloody Valentine because of Mike Williams’ cloudy, evocative vocal range and the beautiful musical accompaniment which really carries everything off to a sweeping climax. Similarly, the album’s longest song, ‘When Push Comes to the Shank’, is also the most progressive and somehow the most accessible. Confusing as this statement may be, it feels like all three of those songwriting ethic have been fused into one gargantuan, industrial monster which seems to have a deep love for saxophone integration.
It has to be said that for all of its “charms”, “Know How…” is far from perfect. Really, this feels like a general flaw because the majority of the songs here depend on the creation of mood or tone rather than resonance with its intended audience. ‘White Man’s Gonna Lose’ is easy to get into, but it feels somewhat hollow at times, and this is largely reflected in the shorter songs ‘Hopeless Moronic’ and the first half of ‘Burn the Witness’. Nonetheless, this was probably intended by the band who, by the measures of its own line-up, should be firing on all cylinders. As it is, “Know How to Carry a Whip” demonstrates this strong work ethic to a certain degree, but it doesn’t exactly go straight for the churning gullet.
What use is there for defining any flaws in this album though? Corrections House technically proved their worth on the debut album, but it is with “Know How…” where their performance and songwriting abilities have begun to take form into something truly monstrous. Evidently, the line-up of Corrections House has already amassed a gargantuan amount of hype amidst the underground community, but this is nonetheless a new, reborn demon ready to fling itself into a post-apocalyptic oblivion.
- Crossing My One Good Finger
- Superglued Tooth
- White Man’s Gonna Lose
- Hopeless Moronic
- Visions Divide
- The Hall of Cost
- When Push Comes to the Shank
- I was Never Good at Meth
- Burn the Witness
Released: October 23rd, 2015