Artist: Deez Nuts
Album: Binge and Purgatory
We live life in a state of constant sensory immersion and overload. Every second of our lives is essential bombardment to our senses of all kinds; vibrant colors, monstrous TVs, absurd shows on those monstrous TVs, designer closers, scents, jewelry, drugs—everyone’s obsessed with something, whether it means something or not. It’s a never-ending binge on everything that modernity has to offer, stuffing our minds with stimuli beyond explanation.
Deez Nuts are all too aware of this—and on Binge and Purgatory, they position themselves dead-center in front of a monument to our obsessions and stand poised to pulverize it with raw, ruthless hardcore. Despite the band’s tongue-in-cheek name and somewhat punny album title, Deez Nuts are definitely not playing around with their 2017 full length release. Punchy drums, hard-hitting breakdowns, riffs and grooves and catchy choruses that stay stuck in your head like drug-resistant meningitis, Binge and Purgatory is punishing and energetic excellence, nothing more and nothing less.
Binge and Purgatory isn’t an album hellbent on trying to reinvent the wheel or the genre of hardcore as a whole; however, they are determined to rejuvenate the way the listener responds and is energized by it. Deez Nuts combine moments of quick, catchy speed—especially on “Commas and Zeros” and “Purgatory”—with soul-shredding, bone-busting moments of ignorant heaviness, especially prevalent on “Hedonistic Wasteland” and “For What It’s Worth” among many others. On every track, however, percussionist Alex Salinger brings his A-Game, hammering away like the Energizer Bunny on meth-amphetamines. Whether it’s the peppy, two-steppy nature of the introduction to “For What It’s Worth” or “Discord” or the punchy, thick kick drum that defines Binge and Purgatory’s entirety, but shines especially at the climax of “Hedonistic Wasteland,” wherein Salinger works with bassist Sean Kennedy to flip the table on the listener with a crushing, relentless breakdown that hits with the deafening impact and sickening thud of a sledgehammer but sustained attack of a jackhammer. Salinger and Kennedy work together as a dynamic and devastating duo, giving Deez Nuts a thick and grimy low end that moves quick but hits hard, coming at the listener like Muhammad Ali with bricks in his boxing gloves. Where Deez Nuts get their true cutting edge and sharp, sinister aggressive style, however, is from the fingers and fast fretwork of guitarist Matt Rogers. Roger’s riffs and punk-infused, punishing and pissed guitar playing throughout Binge and Purgatory is both diverse and intense. “Hedonistic Wasteland” sees him dive into a more aggressive and contemporary modicum of heaviness, whereas “Purgatory” is faster and runs on high-octane attitude, and “Discord” is an anthemic, fun-but-fast song that feels equal parts NOFX and Madball. The result of Rogers’ work with Salinger’s backdrop and Kennedy’s bass filling in the gaps is an instrumental experience that draws from traditional punk, hardcore, metal and a little bit of that thunder-from-down-under flair to make something fun and bouncy with the listener.
With an instrumental element that cuts like a knife while crushing tissue like a meat mallet, Deez Nuts’ broad influences are readily apparent without even taking into account the band’s dynamic vocal stylings. With that said, the voice of JJ Peters takes the band’s punk-infused, melodic-at-moments, murderous-at-others sound and steps it up a notch. Where Binge and Purgatory’s instrumentation might not break down genre barriers or create a new and absurd genre fusion, Peters’ vocal stylings go a long way towards adding a new and fierce heat to the familiar, fluid warmth of the band’s musicianship. Songs like the catchy, somewhat-sung “Discord” see Peters’ herring on the side of catchiness and creativity, pushing his vocal range into new frontiers. Meanwhile, “Commas and Zeros” sees Peters back at the more traditional Deez Nuts style, infusing bitter, harsh barks with quick-tongued hip-hop elements and bouncy, fun vocal patterns to keep the listener hooked. Peters’ vocals continue in this manner; from “Purgatory” to the intense and personal “Hedonistic Wasteland,” giving Binge and Purgatory the replay value and relatability it needs to stand out.
Deez Nuts have always been a band I’ve been familiar with but never really in love with—and while I wouldn’t say that Binge and Purgatory has me falling head over heels for this Australian quartet, it has definitely gone a long way towards making me an avid fan. Not dull—not even for a second—Binge and Purgatory is a ideal balance of intense aggression and fun, up-beat catchiness that is bound to carry the listener into Springtime with all cylinders firing. Where moments are slightly predictable, and no moment on the release truly takes the listener’s breath away, Deez Nuts made a meaningful and masterful album, showing adept prowess in the way of the riff and ravaging breakdown alike; creating a release the listener will surely be binging for some time.
For Fans Of: Madball, These Streets, Malevolence, Drowning
By: Connor Welsh