When I first sat down to write this article, my aim was to try and, with little more than words and some good ol’ Times New Roman, capture the pure darkness that is the debut full-length by one-man band Methwitch.
I quickly realized this was impossible.
While Piss is one of the most comprehensively evil things I’ve ever had the pleasure—if pleasure is even the right word—of hearing, the abuse of countless polysyllabic words to try and convey the release’s sinister atmosphere and surreal, smothering heaviness is a wasted effort. It can’t be done. What can be done is a brief synopsis of two things: simply, what Piss isn’t, and, in a more complex fashion, what it is. In short, Piss isn’t like any release 2017—or years before—has seen. It isn’t a regurgitated “technical” deathcore release, nor is it nothing but brain-numbing slams or monotonous riffs. It isn’t “boring” or “done before.” Piss is—among many things—a chimera of contemporary, crushing and cruel-and-unusual darkness. Straddling the crossbars of several extreme genres—from black metal to doom, sludge, deathcore, beatdown and slam—Methwitch is a project that takes everything putrid about life on earth and sets it firmly in the crosshairs. Taking shots at Religion, politics, society—all in a loosely conceptual framework of irreverent aggression, Piss is…well, pissed off, but, more than that, it’s an artfully complex and creative display of total devastation.
For those of you unaware, Methwitch is the brainchild of one man—Cameron McBride—whose work can also be heard in a great variety of projects in a great variety of styles (most recently, TWELVExTITANS’ latest release)–but none among them is so unique in style and aggression as Methwitch. Piss captures that to a tee—an album which is sixty minutes of sinister, skull-splitting, eye-melting and soul-devouring darkness. From the first seconds of “Our Father,” throughout the slam-tinted songs “Crematorium” and “Priest of Piss,” into the metallic anthems “Obsidian” and “Bathtub Burial” and until the last dreary dollop of devastation that defines “Obsidian II,” McBride’s work is second to none. The drums are crafted to oscillate between piercing speed and a brooding, more moderate tempo. While never truly dropping into anything even close to a “downtempo” style, there are moments—like those within “Priest of Piss” and the closing portions of “Krokodil Tears”–where breakdowns reminiscent of the late-2000s, hyper-obscure deathcore artists return once more, and at the bands of McBride, choke the listener to within an inch of their life. McBride’s ability to write percussion is, while impressive in its own right, dwarfed by his skills with all things stringed—especially his intense, skin-splitting fretwork on songs like “Razorblade Sodomy” (which also showcases some high-octane blast-beat laden fury). “Razorblade Sodomy,” among the dismal and gloomy “Obsidian II” and off-the-wall, heavy-hardcore infused number “Carmine” highlight the great extents of McBride’s musical versatility. Drawing from beatdown, heavy hardcore, slam and blackened death metal all in the framework of a more streamlined and flesh-melting vector of vicious, -core tinted aggression, Piss is, musically, all over the place—but not in a manner that seems haphazard or poorly thought-out. Rather, McBride takes elements from everything that makes heavy music so excellent and exciting, condensing them into an experience that sounds like traversing the nigh-infinite layers of Hell itself, armed with little more than a twig and some good intentions.
Where McBride’s instrumental mastery gives Methwitch an even more intense musical aspect than the listener might have otherwise expected, the very same is true of his vocal progression—which is truly profound. On Piss, I challenge you this: name a vocal technique. Now sit down and listen to the album—I’ll bet dollars to devastating breakdowns and dissonant, eerie moments of ambience both that McBride lets that style off the leash at some point in the album’s duration—and he probably nails it. Songs like the sprawling “Obsidian II,” as well as the track’s foreboding first part, feature McBride’s haunting singing as well as piercing screams and sinister, grating screams. Then there are tougher-than-nails songs like “Carmine” where McBride works with the frontmen of Farooq and Drowning both to craft a meaty, monstrous, beatdown-tinted display of gritty aggression. Then, songs like “Krokodil Tears” and “Priest of Piss” are nothing but a huge array of bellows, growls, shrieks and yells—a display of vocal dynamism that stands at the forefront of a scene packed with talented vocalists. McBride’s musicianship is top notch—and just as it was on every Methwitch release prior to this one, his vocals are the same, continuing to grow and move outside of his comfort zone with every syllable he utters, yells, belts or bellows.
Piss is named with an acrid, unsettling title—fittingly enough, it is, in many ways, an immensely unsettling release. In moments, it’s downright terrifying; in others, it’s so fast-paced and pissed-off that the listener barely has time to feel anything but hate. McBride’s work here continues to be excellent, as it has with just about all of his releases; and the only real similarity Piss bears to anything is just that: like the other albums McBride has made, Piss outdoes every release before it: a showcase of growth, progression, maturity—and pure, punishing, brooding evil.
For Fans Of: Cradle of Filth, Decapitated, Dark Throne, Ingested, Behemoth, Dying Fetus
By: Connor Welsh