The crew behind this lot are all well known musicians in their own right coming from such diverse acts as Minsk, Eyehategod, Buried At Sea, Twilight, Yakuza, Neurosis and Nachtmystium, to name but a few. Putting them together in an industrialised mindset proved to be a pretty damn potent and volatile mix as shown on debut album Last City Zero in 2013. I picked up the CD as soon as I could but missed Corrections House live seeming to remember them playing at some Shoreditch venue and getting vexed with an audience of hipsters, there more to be seen than for the music itself. Naturally I was keen to hear the follow up album and it has certainly impressed.
‘Crossing My One Good Finger’ starts off with reverberating drums and harsh electronic tones before raging into an industrial tribal bombast. It thuds and drives away with vocals raging over the top sounding suitably pissed off and disgruntled. It kind of reminds of old UK act Leech Woman more that any of the normal likes and it’s heavy as hell and with a good up front production shakes the speakers as well as the grey bits between your ears as it forcefully bristles and furiously wraps itself around you. The album has no less than three members joining in vocally and over the course of the tracks has plenty of style and substance about it. One thing that was particularly notable before and is again replicated here are tracks that sound like they are vocally reciting classic American literature sounding like they could be reading text by the likes of Faulkner or Hemmingway. This is certainly the case when the album slows into second number ‘Superglued Tooth’ and the nightmarish sounding diatribe is yelled out full force over layers of burgeoning electronic static and feedback. It’s harsh, hefty and pretty damn apocalyptic with the drumming and riff-work forming a solid backbone to the lead lined grooves and explosions which culminate in a gun being cocked. Bruce Lamont’s saxophone joins in as ‘White Man’s Gonna Lose’ slithers out adding some sinuous tones to the track which smoothly meanders away with drums thwacking away and various voices joining in and ranting away. There’s a bit of an old Chicago industrial WaxTrax feel to things here but the production of the album makes it seem far heavier than anything around in that era, as it really packs a punch.
One thing more apparent about the band as things progress is that no two songs are remotely the same and despite them dwelling in a sub-genre that the listener may really identify with they are a totally unique proposition and you can’t really say that they particularly sound like anyone else particularly. This is not a review that will be written with lots of other bands namedropped into it and it’s also very different than anything else really that the members have been involved in before. Pace wise is varied but the dramatic heaviness is never negated on tracks like ‘Hopeless Moronic’ and I find myself listening intently trying to get an insight into the literary sounding vocals. Things change again completely as a strumming guitar and crooning sing-along chant have ‘Visions Divide’ sounding like an Americana campfire song recanted after a long and hard day on the trail, before ‘The Hall Of Cost’ thuds back in with an Albiniesque Big Black bombast bouncing and brooding through it. Longest number ‘When Push Comes to Shank’ (an excellent title) has a film noir sort of vibe about it no doubt due to the moody sax playing before it opens up to some excellent clean vocals harmonically at deference to the thudding and punishing slow groove of the musicianship. It’s a track to completely lose yourself in and one that you feel you have to pull yourself out of to get to the end of the album. ‘I Was Never Good At Meth’ is what sounds like a performance of contemporary poetry with a sting in its tale over a sonic deluge which really has your ears ringing before the album runs to conclusion with ‘Burn The Witness,’ the final chapter slowly unspools and builds towards a rugged finale.
Corrections House are far from easy listening but work with them and they totally deliver on all fronts. Whether you learn how to carry a whip properly by the end of this or not you will certainly feel like you have aurally been flailed with one and as far as I am concerned this is another album going straight to the top of my shopping list.
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)