• Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Arc

    Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Arc
    Released by: Relapse Records
    Released on: January 22nd, 2016.
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    The first in a series of four EP’s, Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Arc is a three song assault on your senses. Comprised of Pig Destroyer’s Scott Hull on guitar, bass and drum programming, Jay Randall on vocals and electronics, Richard Johnson on vocals and Katherine Katz on vocals this band isn’t messing around. On this particular recording, Katz takes front and center on the vocal duties and it’s a pretty interesting showcase for her abilities behind the microphone that sees them step away from the violent grindcore sound that they’re typically associated with.

    Not A Daughter is seven minutes of heavy, heavy, super heavy doom – given Katz’s association with Salome, it makes sense that a recording based around her style would head in this direction, and the band warp their sound accordingly. There’s a fantastic layer of sludge here, the track let’s Katz howl like a banshee but anchors her insane vocals with some pretty killer riffing. At the same time, this isn’t a throwback to Katz’s time with Salome, this is still very much its own beast. Hull’s guitars sound way different and the groove here is just so damn thick and solid that, as atypical as it might be for the band, they still manage to put their stamp on it.

    At eight and a half minutes Deathbed starts off with a simple drumbeat. An ominous guitar tone comes in over top, and the band keeps it simple like this for the first forty seconds until the drums unravel, the bass kicks in and Katz’s vocals crush over top. There’s some cookie monster backing vocals here that at first seem out of place over what is another really sludgy, doomy track in every way possible, but once you get used to that it sort of works. There’s a lengthy instrumental stretch here around the half way point where the guitars take over, even more so than before, backed by some more simple drumming and it’s pretty great. Minimalist maybe, but great, and really effective, and leads into a bit of a faster, more up tempo groove once Katz comes back on the vocals.

    Last but not least, the final track, Gnaw, clocks in at just under twelve minutes in length. It opens with some powerful, heavy riffs, some samples from what sound like a new broadcast or something playing sporadically then pushed aside when Katz comes into the mix. The guitars crunch repetitively, some cymbals crash here and there, they’re building to something… and just past the two minute mark they start to get there. Things get more intense, more layered, more complex and then half way through they head into feedback territory, more samples in the mix adding a weird tone to all of this with some occasional bass plucking laying something down over which the band makes a pretty serious shift in tone to a faster and more aggressive style before going back to basics bringing the song and the EP proper to a close.

    This isn’t what you’re likely going to expect from the band – the songs are all on the long side and things are very definitely different than most of their other material. At the same time, if the other three EPs in this series are going to see them experiment with different sounds and styles as they have here, bring it on. There’s obviously a lot of creativity and a lot of different ideas swirling about in the band’s collective brain and there’s no reason at all that open minded fans shouldn’t want to hear Agoraphobic Nosebleed explore those ideas.