The Poetry of Sludge
Bringing together the dark and doom stricken talents of Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod), Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), and Sanford Parker (Minsk), Corrections House prepared quite the sonic document herein Last City Zero. In foresight, this album might have been seen as a one-off side project, but the mood and message of the album feels not only like the entrenched tenets of a veteran band, but also the purposeful strokes of a determined unit. This album throws a lot at you between the sludging industrial racket, the introspective folk leanings, and the disparate poetry of the lyrics. However, this in essence guarantees that the album will be both intensely polarizing and provocatively interesting to dig deeper into.
Though the album is very loud in points, its loudest points probably have more in common with the ’90s era industrial metal of someone like Ministry than it does modern metal. However, the brute force with which it pummels the stereo speakers gives off an intensity equal to the latter. “Bullets and Graves” is a particularly pummeling example of the band’s collective fury; in under three minutes it serves to give the listener which the sonic throttling. “Dirt Poor and Mentally Ill” brings the same kind of intensity for six minutes, ending with the hoarse recitation of the tracks title. We’re at the bone here.
However, as important as volume is to Corrections House, the album’s title track provides a whole different kind of intensity. Riding a simple guitar motif, an apocalyptic spoken word piece unfurls before the listener. And although the poetry here at times recalls messing around with those magnetic poetry slips from a decade ago, (“Ex-wives and estranged children / Jealous pirates carrying bricks around”) it is nonetheless a startling example of what is really ticking within the creative minds behind the band. It’s a show-stopping piece that even though it is not perfect, is a valiant attempt at something deeper, compositionally and spiritually.
The other side of the audio spectrum on Last City Zero are the nicely layered acoustic textures, which give tracks like “Run Through the Night” an unmistakably heroic vibe. Here as well, Corrections House is showcasing a range that will guarantee the inability for anyone to label them accurately. This is a good thing of course, as especially on a debut album comprising noted members of a certain genre’s community, it is not a bad thing to throw a few things the listener was not expecting. Corrections House does this, with a flair that is positively begging for a second chapter.