Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The White Mice -- BLasssTPhlEgMEICE
Perhaps it would be prudent for me to stray away from too many 'mice' references in this review (after all, The White Mice have enough of their own to fill several Third World countries). Thus, instead of claiming that this album is akin to being enveloped by continous streams of rabid rodents possessed by virulent demons, I will instead describe it as being trampled underfoot by a neurotic rhino as a violent urban riot erupts in the background. While this might be slightly too extreme of an example, the important thing to remember is that it is only slightly so. The White Mice are vicious.
As a trio composed of bass guitar, drums, and digital oscillation mechanics, you might be lulled into a false sense of security. But do not be fooled; they are extremely loud and abrasive, easily more extreme than some of their more well-known contemporaries in the hardcore, rock, and noise genres respectively. Easily. With a callous disregard for restraint and convention, the group tears through thirteen tracks in just over forty-two minutes, with the majority of the songs being around two and a half minutes in length (with the notable exception of the "hidden track", which runs seven minutes).
While the songs themselves are wildly different in their arrangements, the basic approach remains relatively constant: a fairly consistent bass melody and drum accompaniment is assisted by varying degrees of vocals and digital oscillation. The synthetic element of the songs range from buried synth loops and beeps to the improvised electronic squeals that usually feature prominently in their live show. The amount of oscillation present within each track varies wildly, with it being very noticeable in the tracks "Sewercide", "Violence of the Lamb", and "Diabeasstitty" (all album standouts), to being somewhat more subtle (if such a term is even appropriate for this release) on "Wrawblow" and "Hole (Sweet) Hole". That is not to say that any of the tracks are signifigantly better than the other, for they all involve furious bass melodies with an unending stream of spastic (and highly accomplished) drum assaults. Meanwhile, the vocalist growls and screams with the impassioned determination of a lithium-deprived Rampton out-patient suffering from throat cancer and schitzophrenia, being almost completely incomprehensible for the majority of the record (when it is clear that he even forming words instead of cathartically screaming his lungs out in a bewildering haze of post-production reverb). Furthermore, several of the songs are punctuated by tongue-in-cheek movie/TV samples ("...and don't forget the taste of human flesh", "We take applause like a needle!"), enhancing the mood created as well as increasing the humor inherent in the songs.
While I would reccomend the album as a whole, a few tracks naturally stand out. The tracks "Catasstasteatrophy" and "Sewercide", in addition to be impressive musically, feature absolutely insane and over-the-top vocal performances, sounding as if there were fifty vocalists in the studio instead of one. "Violence of the Lamb", as it's name would imply, is especially violent in comparison to some of the other songs on the album (without implying that any of the songs are in any sense tame), boasting the most frenetic drum, guitar, and oscillation work on the album. (the break roughly three and a half minutes in is especially awesome). Finally, the massive end track ends the album on a slower note, almost approaching doom music techniques (without falling for the pitfalls of that genre or radically changing the sound).
In short, words alone are inadequete in describing how much this band kicks ass over many other bands. Boasting a high-octane and often-discussed live show (which 'true fans' will claim is the only way to 'properly experience' The White Mice) and having recently issued this release on Load Records (noted as having "the world's most challenging roster", which is not that pompous of a claim, given the nature of many of their previous releases, including albums by Khanate, Prurient, and others), this group looks to have an incredible future ahead of them. If you are in the very least bit interested in noise and hardcore rock/metal, then it would be an absolute shame if you did not check these guys out. Support them by buying their album; you won't be dissapointed.
NOTE: THIS REPLACES THE EARLIER "PREVIEW" REVIEW WRITTEN SEVERAL MONTHS EARLIER. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PATIENCE.
White Mice "MiceSpace"