Music » Music Stories

Agoraphobic Nosebleed

Altered States of America (Relapse)


By today's standards, the artists whom Tipper Gore and her Parents' Music Resource Center chose to attack on the grounds of moral depravity seem positively cuddly. Just contrast Ozzy's hit "Bark at the Moon" with "Utter Mental Retardation and Reversal of Man," a track from Agoraphobic Nosebleed's latest release, Altered States of America, and you'll realize Tipper and company had no idea how good they had it. With all due respect to one of the gods of heavy metal, Ozzy's four-minute track can't hold a bleeping candle -- or even a spark -- to ANB's sixteen-second spite-spitter. Over tired riffs, "Bark at the Moon" tells the tale of a werewolf scorned by society who finds heaven in hellish pursuits, but it's really just a lame metaphor glorifying rock & roll pariahs. ANB's cut, on the other hand, is as primal and immediate as breaking a bottle -- the band eschews metaphor, dispenses with any attempt to glorify or elevate its anger and loudly cuts to the chase with the deathless phrase "I'll be banging drugs into my skull till I'm fucking retarded and my accountability has found its resolve."

If Ozzy's tame werewolf shredded Tipper and crew, just imagine how flat their carcasses would be after grindcore juggernaut Agoraphobic Nosebleed steam-rolled them. Scott Hull screams incoherently over micromeasures of Slayeresque riffs that burst into 600 beats-per-minute downpours, creating a fiercely calculated cacophony, a wickedly terse joyride. Hyperbole doesn't do justice to the sonic mayhem, vitriolic anger and foul vociferations that embody these songs.

Nothing makes sense any more; nothing's fair: Money still wins elections, five minutes of local newscasts are devoted to sports, twenty kids cram into a decrepit classroom with fifteen textbooks and corporate America receives more tax breaks than single mothers. In such a hopeless, defeated world there's no need to apologize for ANB, no need to regard anything as sacred any more. Liken ANB to apes in the primate house pitching dung projectiles -- they don't care where the shit lands; it's just fun to watch it splatter. And it's fun to watch them do it. Find solace in that.

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