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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Sludge: Rabbits - "Bites Rites"

We all let our nerves get the best of us. We all tend to grow impatient now and then. I simply didn't have it on this Sunday. Whatever it is that awakens me before the sun, sending me out into the world to find the slowest, filthiest, most drawn-out breed of taxing dirge the misty morning offers simply wasn't there today. I needed caffeine. I needed something quick, something to the point, and something uncompromisingly jarring. I went looking for trouble... and I found Rabbits.

Portland's sludge-noise punks will release their hardly-sophomoric second effort, Bites Rites, on September 18th. Wasting no time with niceties and hardly scrubbing clean their blood-matted fur, Rabbits here spew nine brazen, scathing attacks to the consciousness on a hot, rusted rail. Blending the blistering rhythms of punk with sludge's muddled undergrowth, this trio makes their case for 2012's most vitriolic piss & vinegar-stained album by stripping down to animosity's bare ass and pointing middle fingers at every turn.

From the numbing buzz of We and Zoo to the groovy, sand-coated Husker Dü-cover What's Going On, Bites Rites pulses with more angst and strange chaos than a Harmony Korine film. Zoo is a 2nd gear hum-fest, dragging its knuckles on cracked Tensionhead-era Nick Oliveri vocals. Riffs sail beyond the steady dirge and this opener gives birth to isolation and division, electrically mocking unity throughout. Noise pairs with stoner-sludge on the hovering Fight Right. KG's drums are barely-controlled chaos, countering the steady shuffle of bruised feet. Rabbits warp to a cloud of wet noise, while these screams will surely invade your already-drubbed psyche.

Dipping hillbilly metal in a tub of thrash, the hollow Move Her Body is quick, frightening, and downright filthy. The hardly detectable Southern influence is more clearly flexed on the slow-rolling 2_35, a Spacemen homage. The track screeches and plugs with the urgency of a homeless sloth, characterized by noisy warble. Drunk, bored, and increasingly pissed, the blips and pops roll downhill until they catch themselves in a slow fire.

A scathing drone grinds at your senses on Suck It or Blow. The sarcasm of "What do you think about life, boy?" is laid thick and sticky, building and swelling on an expansive churn. The album's loaded with overt aggression at every turn, however. Screeching and stomping on the indulgently orgasmic Lame in Vain, a drunk townie contends "Everyone knows you're so lame!" after being kicked out of a Friday night kegger. Aggression and anger come with this package deal. And the most sludge-laden moments appear on Meth Valley 99, a choppy and rhythmically alarming dig toward hell. Guitars slice and poke, eventually slowing toward a bad trip of unsettling, drowning screams. Ugh.

There's a brief but excellent moment of clarity here, though. On Mars II echoes chains, breaking a vacant corridor's eerie industrial drone. The broken halogen lights will slowly drive you insane, fading to an empty earth and even emptier existence. And moving toward the aforementioned What's Going On, Rabbits enter groove and harmony more than ever. Strangely melodic beneath the knotted stomach pangs, the inconceivable patterns of noise-chaos are awesomely spacey and caked in shit. This nod forms quite the closer, warm and trickling down your leg as Bob Mould proudly looks on.

You won't find the progressively unfolding layers of smoothed-out soundscapes here. Bites Rites challenges and antagonizes via immediate, in-your-face hardcore bullying. Rabbits are direct and all ambiguity is checked at the rotting, unhinged door. You don't have to wallow in the mud; sometimes you need to jump in and throw it at others. And if Rabbits don't manage to catch your attention with flaming piles of loose earth, they'll just gnash their teeth and rip off your face. And that rabies vaccination won't do shit!


Sethro - Vocals/Guitar
Booze - Vocals/Guitar
KG - Drums

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