Lifer - 'Cursing Them Out' (House Of Doom) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Thursday, 03 March 2011 06:00

39337_lifer_cursing_them_outI feel like I already need to apologise, like I haven't taken enough care while writing this review. Why? Because after 47 minutes in the company of this bruiser of an album all I can do is keep putting a finger to my ear to make sure it isn't bleeding and roll my tongue around my mouth to make sure that all my teeth are still in place after the battering this record has just given me....


Tim Hamill of Welsh studio Sonic-One engineered, mixed and co-produced (with the band) this album and, after having worked with Girlschool on their 2008 album 'Legacy', you can understand why, after being in more glamorous company, the sound he has fashioned for the ten-legged doom machine that is Lifer is decidedly more brutal; ugly, uneasy, unhealthy even.


The members of Lifer may have been around the block a few times with previous outfits but they were surely mere fingerbangs compared to the unholy fuck of an album that is 'Cursing Them Out'. The addition of guitarist Roy and bassist Dibble last year to a band that already threatened to flatten buildings has raised the bar of potential atrocity so that now cities threaten to be levelled. This has to be the finest work that any of the band has ever laid claim to and that, in this diluted age of under-achievement and pathetic excuses, is something that should be applauded (if I could uncurl my hand from its horn-throwing position) and of which the band should be immensely proud.


'Curse Them Out' doesn't so much open the album as unleash it. For its first minute the song crawls out of the speakers, menacingly, balancing on the razor's edge of detonation before it finally explodes into life in a flurry of old school thrash riffage. If this album were a boxing match it would be in danger of being stopped already, hungry and lethal like 80s Mike Tyson, but the speakers are saved by the bell and are in for nine more rounds of this punishment.


That opening song and its successor 'Nothing Left To Lose' sum up Lifer perfectly, the seamless, blistering fusion of thrash roots with swamp-riddled Southern rock as peddled by the likes of Down, Sasquatch and the Pepper Keenan-fronted line-up of Corrosion Of Conformity. Credit has to be afforded to vocalist Scriv whose qualities are finally able to be heard given the level of production. Live, invariably surrounded by a blurring wall of noise and a legion of punters going suitably mental, the vocals almost get lost in the savagery, but now you can hear that the Lifer frontman can pull off the Anselmo/Keenan thing with ease. I even hear a little Ricky Warwick in there and, on 'Bring It Down', another slab of pounding metal, a stab of Corey Taylor.


And the production, so often the enemy of pulverising live bands who simply cannot transfer that same energy onto tape or binary code or whatever the fuck it is these days, is the tie that binds all this heavy duty shit together in hugely impressive fashion. The notes I made when first torturing my stereo with this album consisted of words like 'crushing', 'penetrating' and 'bludgeoning' and that seems about right. So many bands finally get studio time and fuck it up - not Lifer, as songs like 'Reach' and the appropriately-titled 'Broken Bones', with its impressive stoner-like fade out, are happy to prove.


'Goathead' simply slays and 'Long Time Dead', the title of the band's highly promising 2009 EP that has simply been blown out of the water by the impressiveness of this album's sound, is furious and fucked up. 'Raging Waters', so long the band's signature tune, reappears here in glorious bass-heavy form but that it no longer stands head and shoulders above the other material is testament to the fact that the rest of the album is massive. Still a great fucking tune though. Closing track 'Embrace The Madness' is a suitable blowout, a thunderous drinking anthem certain to leave many to wake with a fucker behind the eyes...and a serious case of whiplash. Try your hardest, you will not find many, if any, better albums this year.


In the 90s a cadre of floppy haired NME types prophesised that Newport, South Wales was the new Seattle; now, two decades later, that city and its surrounding areas come blessed with a legion of heavy-as-fuck bands spewing almighty riffs and metallic mantras of rebellion. Forget Seattle, this is the new Bay Area and, with hungry young bands feeding off scraps, Lifer sit at the head of the table waiting to cave in skulls, ball-pein hammer in hand.  approved_image_lrg


This is for the sick.