Much like the title of this album, things recently (outside of the world of music) have been pretty dreadful. Politicians playing hot potato with the country’s economic and geopolitical standings and future, abnormal weather patterns a plenty with no consistency and the fact that it’ll be April when this review goes up, so naturally, inflation, VAT hikes, taxation and all that bollocks! Thankfully, grindcore rising stars Raised By Owls, armed with dry wit and an acquired taste of humour, backed by plenty of riffs and samples/sound bites are here to save us, by reminding us that everything can be laughed at despite how dreadful it is! With artwork by the Facebook icon ‘Jim’ll Paint It’ representing the clusterfuck this album brings song wise, and their reputation as a live force to be reckoned with backing them up, it’s time to get silly!
For 50 minutes, the 21 tracks will assault you in a myriad of ways. Touches of death metal, thrash metal and even some small forays into the realms of pseudo-black metal, subjects such as Mr Blobby going on a rampage, Deadites attacking Ant and Dec, exorcising David Beckham and Owen Wilson saying ‘Wow!’ are brought forward. There might be some deep thought presented by the lyrical content, but it’s mostly there to make you laugh… After all, if the idea of yelling “SLAAAYYUUUURRRRGGGGHHHH!!” at your Nan’s funeral doesn’t make you laugh, what will?
In the first three tracks alone; “Noel’s Haunted House Party”, “Eggs Benedict Cumberbatch” and “Netflix And Kill”, you get a rapid-fire assault of death-grind blasts, riffs, shrieks and growls. It’s unrelenting and it really sets the tone for the album lyrically and musically. The fast paced lyrical assault combined with the ferocious onslaught of precise riffs which rise and fall with the blasts or groove sections and even come down with sledgehammer like slam sections. It’s fairly straight forward musically and the pattern is identifiable in all the tracks. Of course, for people like me, the silliness in the song titles/subjects/lyrics are a huge part of the appeal of Raised By Owls and usually they prove to be the deciding factor whether people can look past them to appreciate or enjoy the music.
More ‘serious’ tracks like “Carol Vorderman’s Countdown To Extinction” and “Night Of The Living Dildo’s” pack a punch (literally in the case of the latter!) and they provide the easy alternative to the silliness of “Owen Wilson Says Wow!” which is literally a sample based track of said actor saying said word. “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Easily Offended Millenials” is a bastardization of the iconic film theme and the tongue twister titled “Rob Halford Robs Halfords” is just a maelstrom of chaos. The only track which really breaks from the established trend is the closing track; “Halloween At Richard And Judy’s”. It’s a 7 minute long slice of expressive music. Pseudo-Black metal like atmospheric sections, slam-death switches and relentless grindcore pacing is prevalent throughout the track and it does quite well in establishing a different kind of intensity compared to what most grindcore bands usually go about presenting.
In all, this ‘Dreadful’ mess of grindcore is straight forward. Much like the current Slam-death bands and death metal bands like Foetal Juice, Raised By Owls binds crass humour and serious musical intensity to create a fully functioning medium which can appeal to fans of the genre and the casual listener. Sure, the slightly silly song titles might only be there for shits and giggles, but the same can be said about a lot of the kvlt pretentious shite Black Metal tracks are named like.
Ultimately, this is grind, it’s supposed to be silly. It’s also dreadful..ly fun!