Oozing Wound: Whatever Forever

Photo: Joe Martinez

Whatever Forever demonstrates Oozing Wound as a band willing to try anything to make their sound rougher and more aggressive--even if it means taking the reins of a black metal atmosphere.

Oozing Wound

Whatever Forever

Label: Thrill Jockey
Release Date: 2016-10-14

If any track should start an album full of destruction and unremitting hate, it should be one called "Rambo 5 (Pre-Emptive Strike)". Much like the action hero, Oozing Wound's Whatever Forever takes no prisoners, only slowing down once to prepare its final onslaught. Though the band's sound has links to the thrash of early Metallica and Slayer, Whatever Forever surprises with its subtle forays into black metal.

This jump does not ruin the hard exterior developed on their debut Retrash, nor does it compromise the constant rage on Earth Suck. When they channel a band like Leviathan, they still carry on with their notable aggression. When Kyle Reynolds revs his drums with a more stadium-oriented sound, the sound of a wrecking ball about to be hurled still makes its rounds. Whatever Forever becomes more cleanly produced, accentuating its roughness without being too polished. Oozing Wound are still a band who are willing to run through a death trap without a care in the world because they want a chance to spit on the Grim Reaper himself.

What still distinguishes Oozing Wound from the start is Zack Weil's animalistic vocals. He continues to emanate the death call of a vulture about to do a mock kamikaze run. But Oozing Wound are not a band who are there to act as artillery for the screaming Weill; they are a death squad. Listening to "Diver" is the equivalent to being on Fury Road. When Weil sings about how he lives "life in the gutter", each bit of instrumentation becomes very bumpy along our tires. The band's hardcore playing throttles skulls, leading to a halfway point of dizzying riffs. These rattling moments are never overused, instead executed in ways that describe a world abuzz over nothing. "Eruptor" perfectly demonstrates this with a style akin to Baroness -- except more explosive.

Lyrics might be hard to decipher when screamed by Weil's ugly tone, yet this confusion seldom takes listeners away from the theme of a hatred for the world. "Rambo 5 (Pre-Emptive Strike)" empties a salvo with the line "kamikaze eyes", and "Deep Space" talks of a "small price to pay", like the band is hatching mischievous plans against their enemies. The latter track also makes way for more sludge metal riffs, adding to the malaise that would develop in the more stoner metal-oriented "Mercury in Retrograde Virus".

Oozing Wound still finds home in thrash. "Tachycardia" heralds their thrash in its simplest form, with Kevin Cribbin dousing each bass note with gasoline to start a tremendous fire. "Weather Tamer", an ironic name for a band that tames things with bloodshed more than patience, brings along a calamity of noise and drums fitting of Ghost.

"Everything Sucks, and My Life Is a Lie" and "Sky Creep" are where the band find a new way to distinguish their sound. They don melodies more fitting of black metal, razing a black fire as if they had already found this genre their home. Where their previous songs were rough, these tracks have the essence of evil in them. Cribbin's strings create a darkness like no other, while Reynolds' drums create an inescapable field of pitch black clouds. Weil still bears a dark voice, one that the mic even fears, as shown by its inability to capture vocal clarity in the latter song. By the end of Whatever Forever, everything sinks into oblivion.

When the birds of war strike, and the modern giants of thrash are flying, it can be easy to pick up which airborne maelstrom is Oozing Wound. They are the ugly battle birds with a newfound penchant for the kind of black metal that drains their enemy's life essences. Dread is what sums up this band's new record, and their new drummer Casey Marnocha is sure to keep the charge going.

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