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Monday, March 2, 2009

Album Of The Week-Outlaw Order-"Dragging Down The Enforcer" (2008)

The Album Of The Week is "Dragging Down The Enforcer" by Outlaw Order.


"What do you do when you are Eyehategod and Jimmy Bower is too busy with Down to put out a new record? Start a band and put out a record without him, of course. Dragging Down the Enforcer (Seasons of Mist) is the first full-length from Outlaw Order, aka 00%, aka everyone from Eyehategod except Bower.

I was lucky enough to see Outlaw Order once at a Southern Lord SXSW showcase. At the time I hadn’t heard anything from them, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I was psyched just knowing the band was made up of nearly everyone from Eyehategod, which is one of my favorite bands of all time. Not just favorite sludge or metal band, favorite among any style of band. Period. They are everything that is great about punk and metal: heavy as hell, harsh vocals, great riffs and they have a name that you feel uncomfortable with when you wear their shirts in public. Not to mention Eyehategod have an amazing ability to conjure genuine fear.

I have never felt more frightened at a show than the first time I saw Eyehategod. There were broken bottles onstage and in the audience, and band members were eating random pills while they played. People were dragged out of the club bleeding and the band looked like they were about to self-destruct the whole time. Not to mention they were playing some of the greatest heavy riffs of all time.

So needless to say my expectations were a little high as I waited for Outlaw Order to start their SXSW set. Right before they were about to begin, their drummer, Joey LaCaze, was nowhere to be found. Finally he came busting out of the bathroom in the back of the club, his shirt unbuttoned and puke all over his jeans. When he got to the stage and noticed the vomit, he simply said, “What do you want? This ain’t the fucking Strokes, man.” And with that they preceded to destroy the room.

All in all, Outlaw Order is not that far off from Eyehategod. They still have that patented NOLA sludge sound that Eyehategod created. In general, though, there is a faster, more punk/crust influence in the music. Think Black Flag or Anti-Cimex. On the seven inch Legalize Crime, the faster punk sound was a little more evident than on the full length, Dragging Down the Enforcer, but it still is there.

When they slow it down, the riffs are actually a lot more in line with Soilent Green than Eyehategod. I assume it is because without Jimmy Bower, Brian Patton (who serves time in both Soilent Green and Eyehategod) is able to let forth his vision a bit more. So in general they are a little bit more notey, and off-time and involve more Soilent Green–style sliding.

Lyrically and concept-wise, Dragging Down the Enforcer deals with having troubles with the law, a subject all too familiar for the members of Outlaw Order. The word is that they started the band while every member was on probation. Awesome. Just like Eyehategod, if Outlaw Order is talking about some fucked up shit, it is because they have lived through some fucked up shit.

Mike Williams’ vocals are almost unintelligible, which is just how I like it: a sick stream of harsh vitriol that sounds like stream of conscious vomiting. I didn’t get any lyrics with my promo, but I am assuming they’re some kind of William S. Burroughs cutup presentation of Eyehategod lyrics—so I wouldn’t be able to follow along anyway. With song titles like “Double Barrel Solves Everything” you know you got greatness on your hands. Just trust that Mike Williams has led an amazingly interesting life and let him spew his hateful experience at you.

The only weird part of the record really is the much cleaner production, especially in the drum sound. The cymbals have this sharp, long wash over them and the kick and snare sound oddly triggered at times. This is especially noticable on a song like “Safety Off,” which starts with just the drums. Of course as soon as the killer sludge riff comes in I don’t notice it as much, but it is not my favorite aspect of the record.

Is Outlaw Order’s Dragging Down the Enforcer as good as classic Eyehategod records like Dopesick or Take as Needed for Pain? No, but it’s not really fair to compare the two—after all, they may share members but they are not the same band. Judged strictly on its own merit, Dragging Down is a short blast of pure NOLA sludge and a great addition to the Southern Nihilism Front. I love it. I am going to listen to it on repeat, a lot. And man I hope they go on tour sometime soon. I need a little bit more puke on my jeans, and a little more fear in my heart." —Geoff Garlock(MetalKult.com)

Track Listing:

01. Intro
02. Relive the Crime
03. Safety Off
04. Double Barrel Solves Everything
05. Alcohol Tobacco Firearms
06. Mercy Shot
07. Narco-Terroristos
08. Siege Mentality
09. Walking Papers
10. Dragging Down the Enforcer
11. Outro


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