Bloated Subhumans’ “Commemoration” LP Review
October 2016 has birthed myriad darkly inclined releases, but nothing comparable to Bloated Subhuman’s Commemoration LP, a harsh noise release divided into four parts representing Emile Durkheim’s four forms of suicide. Nihilistic and dread-inducing, it has been described as “what Hell sounds like.” I first got hooked on this band through their demo tracks and subsequently their Execution I and II albums that were released earlier this year (check out the Vessels review + stream). Their first two albums don’t mimic each other at all despite existing in the same genre, and Commemoration is no exception to this.
“Egoistic I” starts off with scratchy, alien-esque feedback and a deep, doomy guitar. When the drums pick up, it really starts to sound like noise-influenced doom metal. The chilling vocals, however, give it a creepy experimental tone not unlike Minimal Man’s early material, for example. The only other band I can really compare this to is an extremely obscure one called Gourmet Scum (named after the fictitious band in Degrassi Junior High). This, however, is darker and more sophisticated… clearly its own thing. The different noises flying around really give it that “hell” atmosphere. The music is a living beast and we’re inside of it. “Egoistic II” is complete static with a haunting, echoy vocal effect for the entire three minutes. As though upping the ante of the first song, it feels like we’re being dragged deeper into despair.
“Altruistic I” is similar to “Egoistic I” in sound. The drums and symbols crash devastatingly while the doomy guitar swirls throughout helpless vocals. “Altruistic II,” like “Egoistic II,” has a consistent loud static noise, this one more engine-like, with the same depraved vocals. I’m not sure how intentional this is, but music like this which forms a pattern is extremely easy to dissociate to, especially in this particular form. I often find myself doing exactly that when I listen to it. “Anomic I,” if you couldn’t guess, continues the formula of “Egoistic I” and “Altruistic I.” The prominent static noise in “Anomic II” sounds like a lo-fi didgeridoo, a disconcerting sound I associate with buzzing flies.
“Fatalistic I” is by far the most intense out of the “I” tracks on Commemoration. It feels like the other songs have been leading up to this main boss. It’s the loudest and seems to have the most elements to it. “Fatalistic II”‘s static noise feels more uncertain and all over the place than the other “II” tracks. It seriously feels like you’re being thrown deeper and deeper into the mouth of madness. By the time the album is over, you don’t even know what to do with yourself. This would be incredible to experience live.