Agoraphobic Nosebleed.... probably one of the finest band names ever! These guys even inspired me to name my website, Agoraphobic News (to some degree) . Having said that, doing a review of their work was kinda obligatory for me as a fan of their music. These folks are better known for their hilariously short grindcore-haiku songs that possess a great deal of energy, aggression, black humor and satire. Well, this time, they opted for a completely different formula. Their goal is to make 4 EPs that represent each band member's creative mind outside of the Agoraphobic Nosebleed framework. Pretty original, right? Now, their latest work, Arc represents things from Katherine Katz's (their front"man") point of view. Her music taste shaped the riffs on this release. And legendary Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer fame accepted this challenge and executed it ih his own distinctive way. Doomy stuff is not something completely new to Scott - he already did slower stuff before (most notably, Natasha and Mass& Volume EPs). But in the end, a lot of fans may be rather sceptical to a radical shift of 180' such as this.
Agoraphobic Nosebleed's Arc is 27 minute long EP with only 3 songs on it. Scott Hull’s and Katherine Kat's interests in doom/stoner metal created Agoraphobic Nosebleed's first "bastard child" (and there are 3 more kids to come!)The EP is opened by a track called Not a Daughter. Man, even the statues would headbang to riffs like this! Katherine's vocals are just brutal! Lyrics are shocking as well, and they deal with the passing of her mother. It seems like she is channeling all the frustrations through music, which is the best therapy if you ask me. The riffs in this song may be seen as a derivate of High on Fire, Crowbar and Down previously put in a blender. Musically speaking, the band sticks with an old Black Sabbath formula, which means that the drums and the riffs become ONE . When production is at stake, you shouldn't expect nothing but thick guitar/bass sound and lively drums as well. The next song, Deathbed is an appreciably slower tune (as slow as Sleep's Dopesmoker can get). With this one, Agoraphobic Nosebleed have awaken the fury of gigantic proportions. Once again Katherine's Godzilla-like growls are unmatched! All of a sudden, the sonic titan transforms into Black Sabbathesque melodic riff followed by some sick drumming that builds the energy around the riff with merciless pounding of the cymbals. Right after a movie sequence, the final song on the record starts. Gnaw is Crowbar/Down-like song based on hypnotic bluesy riffs. And the headbanging continues. For some reason, whole EP reminds me of Overkill's records such as The Killing Kind or From the Underground and Bellow. Second half of Gnaw is based more on sludge-oriented riffage. The fading noise inbetween the riffs is paving the way for dual guitar-drummming attacks that really get the song to a point of culmination.
Agoraphobic Nosebleed have shown that they aren't afraid of doing something out of their distinctive grindcore mindset. Their latest release will surely draw the attention of those who haven't heard the band yet. But what's the most important, the old fans won't be disappointed at all. Eric Lacombe's album cover approves my thesis of bastard childs mentioned above in the text. And there are 3 more kids yet to come! This piece of work is a gem restricted to agoraphobic people only. The rest of society is just too lame to have it.