Artist: The Number 12 Looks Like You
Album: Wild Gods
Have you ever been called weird? Maybe you were the weird kid in class, or maybe your friend was and you were a little weird for hanging out with him. Dusted with weirdness or something to that effect. Or maybe you were the one who called kids weird and determined who was and wasn’t weird. Either way, somewhere along the line—especially in kindergarten—“weird” became equated with “bad” when we all know this is certainly not (always) the case. Mochi? Weird, but good. Candy that tastes like dinner food? Weird, but often good. Butt stuff during foreplay? Weird but…well, I’ll leave the judgement up to the reader on that one entirely. The Number 12 Looks Like You? Very weird, but damn are they very good. These progenitors of chaotic grindcore-turned-mathcore-turned-progressive-something-or-another-core have returned after a lengthy quiescence with Wild Gods, nearly an hour of chaotic metal that is the textbook definition of unpredictable. Laden with lacerating riffs, ruthless breakdowns and sections that truly defy description, Wild Gods is proof that just because you age doesn’t mean you have to abandon your wild side.
The Number 12 Looks Like You consistently push themselves to grow on a record-to-record basis—even when those records feel like eons apart from one another. This growth is abundant throughout Wild Gods, where songs like the ruthless “Ruin the Smile” bear sharp contrast against the almost peppy portions of “Gallery of Thrills” or “Last Laughter.” Throughout Wild Gods, the percussion is nothing short of top-notch, with the aforementioned “Ruin the Smile” stealing the show early on, just as “Tombo’s Wound” stands out against the relatively melancholy cuts that follow. A wellspring of adrenaline, The Number 12’s drumming is a dynamic scaffold for the whimsical riffs and grooves from the band’s stringed musicians. With groovy, grisly bass adding heft and impact to the eclectic and unpredictable nature of the guitars, The Number 12 Looks Like You are a mathcore juggernaut that roars forward on all cylinders for all of Wild Gods’ runtime. Once more, “Ruin the Smile” stands out, bombarding the listener with everything from a late-80s-metal-influenced solo to skin-peeling breakdowns and snappy, funky bass. Meanwhile, “Interspecies” is an eerie interlude between two of the record’s most epic and sprawling cuts—“Of Fear” and “Rise Up Mountain”—both of which further blending genres and influences until there is no longer a line to divide blues from brutalizing grindcore.
Just as the band’s instrumentation is a melting pot of musical styles and influences, The Number 12 Looks Like You’s Wild Gods is host to some incredibly diverse vocal stylings. From the haunting introduction to “Gallery of Thrills,” to the grisly bellows that open “Ruin the Smile,” through “Ease My Siamese” which contains spoken, screamed and sung segments all in near-equal ratios, all the way to the end of “Rise Up Mountain,” the band keep the listener on the very tippiest tips of their toes. While the singing might not be for everyone—especially those hoping for more of a Nuclear.Sad.Nuclear throwback, it highlights the unsettling nature of Wild Gods’ atmosphere. Likewise, the harsh screeches and chaotic yells are the ideal mainstay for the raw, frantic and primal nature of songs like “Ruin the Smile” or “Raised and Erased.” Wild Gods’ vocals are diverse enough to appeal to progressive metal enthusiasts just as readily as grindy mathcore junkies, touching on just about everything that exists in between.
Wild Gods probably isn’t the comeback record many fans of The Number 12 Looks Like You expected—but in the context of their discography, it’s really the only kind of record that makes sense. Every bit the next logical step from the sound that defined Mongrel, with enough speed and energy to keep the early 2000’s following onboard, Wild Gods is an adventure, plain and simple. Brilliantly produced, brutal-but-beautiful throughout and eerie in all the right ways, The Number Twelve Like You are definitely one of extreme metal’s weirdest bands, but Wild Gods prove they’re also damn near one of the best.
For Fans Of: Psyopus, Car Bomb, HeavyHeavyLowLow, Sleepsculptor
By: Connor Welsh