Artist: Meth Mouth
Album: Life Vice – EP
Imagine a drug that invades your bloodstream and, instantly, begins corroding your flesh. It doesn’t happen quickly—while the drug kicks in rapidly, the effects can take years to manifest, robbing you of youth and livelihood painstakingly. Your body begins to corrode, coming within inches of death yet never quite succumbing to it—holding on a feather’s edge away from the end, dangling life’s release just barely out of reach, all the while rotting your flesh and reducing your blood to dust. Meth Mouth’s latest EP is this drug—a devastating combination of grungy hardcore and brutalizing beatdown that leaves the listener a matted mess of blood and pulp without doing them the favor of finishing the job. Life Vice is a raunchy, bass-heavy display of bombastic aggression, bolstered with jarring, ear-scraping dissonance that rakes skin from the listener only to lather them in salt and let them burn. Not for the faint of heart, Life Vice is a magnificent example of hardcore that will leave the listener begging for death.
Meth Mouth oscillate between blazing speed and barbarian, dagger-dragging sludge, expertly exercising every weapon at their disposal to annihilate the listener. Percussionist Kyle Rivers is the ruthless guide for Meth Mouth’s dynamic, setting the tone for every riff-driven barrage or brutalizing breakdown. “Haunted” is an excellent example of the latter—as even with Rivers’ ride bell clanging away at a decent candor, his footwork is slow and precise, guiding the track to climactic, crushing end. Meanwhile, “Slander” is riffy and intense, with bassist John Fleischmann audible throughout the entirety of the track. Where many hardcore bands relegate bassists to a role in the background, Fleischmann is front and center during much of Life Vice, adding groove and heaviness to every second of every track. “Crooked Spine” is an excellent t example, as Fleischmann not only opens the barbaric track, but carries it, sharing the mix almost equally with guitarists Jordan Riesel and Matthew Witter. Riesel and Witter take turns riffing and chugging, constantly bearing down on the listener with distorted, devilish malevolence. “Sunken Eyes,” as well as the closing track “Death Rattle” are excellent examples—highlighted by monstrous riffs and equally gargantuan breakdowns. The duo manage to add metallic intensity to each track without overdoing it, keeping things quick but not too speedy as to become transient. Rather, every lick and lacerating groove lingers with the listener, burning their skin and blackening flesh.
Where Meth Mouth’s instrumentation is corrosive and abrasive, the band’s vocal effort is intense in a different fashion. Frontman Brandon DiFabio is the very definition of strung out, sounding ever-so-slightly drug addled, while maintaining a bitter, grating rasp to his screams that cuts through the dissonant guitar work and splashy cymbals. DiFabio is energetic while maintaining remarkable stamina, giving a consistently crushing performance on every track—from the first howl of “Life Vice” to the last crackling bark of “Death Rattle.” What’s more, DiFabio’s lyricism is far and beyond above the standard for contemporary heavy music—sounding just as manic and desperate as the name would imply, yet still clinging to an imprint of ferocity and anger that only experience can leave.
DiFabio’s vocals are the perfect compliment to the remainder of the band’s instrumentation—intelligent, understandable yet grating and aggressive. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Syracuse slammers in Meth Mouth, but whatever it was, Life Vice far out-does it. Oppressive from start to finish, tastefully distorted and lyrically depressive, manic and twisted enough to warp the listener’s mind as if it was hot wax, Meth Mouth’s latest EP is a prodigal display of potent, deafening hardcore. The band’s ability to oscillate between speed and slow, sinister dissonance is second to none, ensuring that the listener will be constantly hooked, on the edge of their seat waiting for the next jarring riff or lurid sequence of chugs. Many people will definitely argue about classifying Life Vice, but one thing is for sure—It’s absolutely lethal.
For Fans Of: Desolated, Blackwater, World of Pain, Mercy Blow
By: Connor Welsh