Child Bite – Blow Off The Omens

Band: Child Bite
Title: Blow Off The Omens
Label: Housecore Records
Release Date: 22 November 2019
Country: USA
Format Reviewed: Digital Download

In my search for reviewing inspiration this week I decided to investigate what’s been going on at Housecore Records (home to such monstrous delights as EYEHATEGOD, SUPERJOINT and PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS). It seems my timing was not too bad as just a couple of weeks back saw the release of the new album by Detroit’s CHILD BITE. Only serendipity brought me here, but “Blow off the Omens” is in fact the band’s fifth album (and the second for Housecore Records). With previous release “Negative Noise” having the distinction of being produced by the one and only Philip H. Anselmo, the band goes one better this time around with none other than legendary engineer (he’ll never let you call him a producer) Steve Albini handling the recording. How could I pass this one up?

From the moment the snare drum of album opener “Mock Ecstasy” counts in the slithering guitar line, it’s clear the territory “Blow off the Omens” is operating in: propulsive, urgent, noisy, riffing. If you’re prone to sea-sickness CHILD BITE will be rocking the boat with glee. To picture the vocals, imagine Bob Mould bitten by two rabid dogs, one going by the name Daivd Yow; the other Mike Patton. The music too appears soaked in the spastic, flailing energy of Yow’s seminal Noise-Rock band THE JESUS LIZARD, with tracks like  “Vexed Life” deploying similarly insistant and menacing rhythmic bass lines, underpinning guitars, vocals and drums, which together do a convincing aural impression of a dance troup being tasered.

Part Hardcore, part Noise-Rock, the music occupies that space just on the edge of Metal (occasionally as on the thunderous “They All Look Away” there’s a flavour of DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN in the hammering, pinballing riffage). However you want to define it, you probably ought to have a thorough wash with disinfectant and call your doctor after exposure to this album; it’s grimmy, it’s manic and like a hallucinogenic siren, you’ll have the constant nagging feeling that you should be diving for the nearest concrete bunker, no more so than when vocalist Shawn Knight urgently implores “AWAY, AWAY”.

The energy and sense of urgency remains pushed into the red from start to finish and the interplay between the band is as tight as you could want, as the guitars repeatedly seesaw and slice over the demented rythms. Like HELMET in their prime, or a slightly less demented TODAY IS THE DAY in their early Amphetamine Reptile days before they went full-blown Metal, CHILD BITE so smoothly interweave rhythms, turning the beat around at will, that it comes off as effortless. It all adds to the sense of constantly having the rug pulled from under your ears back and forth.

Aside from a wild, flailing guitar solo on the title track, the focus of the album is very much on the Noise-Rock rhythmic interplay, and while the album won’t offer up too many sonic surprises to anyone who grew up fed on a diet of THE JESUS LIZARD and other bands from the Touch & Go stable, or Amphetamine Reptile Records, well… it’s a damn fine heritage to be flying the flag for. Keep it noisy, keep it demented, keep it rabid, now go get your shots. 7/10 Tom Boatman

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7/10 Victory is possible
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