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Fatal Flying Guilloteens

Quantum Fucking

(Frenchkiss; US: 16 Oct 2007; UK: 16 Oct 2007)

Post-everything punk rock that'll set your head on fire

Make sure you’ve got your medicine handy. Quantum Fucking almost gave me a coronary, first time I put it on, and I run marathons.


Fatal Flying Guilloteens, out of Houston, have been wreaking havoc for most of a decade. There are five of them—two guitar players*, bass, and two drummers—a reasonably conventional line-up pushed to manic, stop-start frenzy. A 1998 debut EP started things off. Their first full-length,  The Now Hustle for New Diaboliks appeared in 2001, with the Tim Kerr-produced Get Knifed following in 2003. There was a split with like-minded rock terrorists This Moment in Black History in 2005, and now, after some personal distractions and a label switch, they are back with Quantum Fucking. It’s quite a record.


No, strike that. Fatal Flying Guilloteens’ third full-length is a 33-minute, 12-track anxiety attack, all non-stop pounding and screeching and juddering electro-shock riffs. It’s the kind of record that should have a warning sticker—not for the lyrical content or even the risqué album title—but for the sheer adrenaline rush of the thing. It starts out spitting and snarling (in the brief, aptly named “First Act of Violence”) and ends in a head-slamming, pick-rattling barrage of eighth notes (the album-making “Legion of Serpents”) and never lets up, not even once, in between.


With Quantum Fucking, Fatal Flying Guilloteens makes the leap from Estrus to Frenchkiss Records, obliterating the last trace of blues-based guitar sludge from their sound, and leaning more towards the apocalyptic spazz punk of bands like Brainiac, the Mae Shi and Ex-Models. Guitar riffs take giant, octave-wide leaps, smash headlong into walls of feedback, shake themselves off and jump again. There are brief pauses, just so you remember what silence sounded like, that lead split-second-style into brain-shredding onslaughts of chaos. You’ll find a churning, roiling bass line, answered by fractious, sweat-soaked drumbeats, at the bottom of every track. You could probably dance to this stuff, crudely at least, but you’d end up bruised and bloody.


It’s hard to pick favorite tracks on a record like this, because they all blur together in one continuous heart attack. But still, you don’t want to miss the teetering, tottering chaos of “Great Apes,” all post-rock-ish guitar abstractions chained to sludgy monster rock beats, or the lurching, vaguely dangerous “Reveal the Rats”, which sounds like Liars in the old days before they fired their bass player. “Hello Boss!!” has a fantastically driving call and response to it, ragged yells of “Time” eliciting a whole string of three syllable shouts from the band.


The best cut, though, comes at the end, a glittery guitar intro (reminds me of Chavez) leading inexorably into stripped-down, sawed-off, robot punk funk, a la the Mae Shi. “Get into it… Get into it… Get into it… Get into it,” the band’s singer intones, like a ragged metronome. And how could you not?  You’d follow him to the end of the world by this point and fling yourself into the flaming pit… or, alternatively, just hit play again and start over. Same difference, really.


* Full disclosure: Guitarist Brian McManus is my editor at Philadelphia Weekly

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