Blue Ox – Stray Dogs on Pity Party Island

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As a music fan, I am cursed with two auditory itches that need scratching. The first is for music that is progressive, doing something strange, and tickling my brain by showing me something new that can be done with sound. The other? Music so heavy that makes me want to smash my head into a concrete wall and never stop. With the latter in mind, meet psychedelic sludge masters Blue Ox and their 2011 record Stray Dogs on Pity Party Island.

Blue Ox are as brutish and uncompromising as the early founders of grindcore and powerviolence, but are refreshingly unreliant on stubborn Discharge-worship tropes. There’s no hook, no gimmick, and no tangible factor as to why they stand out from their subgenre peers, they just do. It could be the guitar tone: modern but unrefined, somehow sounding colorful among a world of grayscale. The vocals drown in it, gasping for air while fuming in equal measures of rage and despair.

Good tone and infectious energy by themselves can make a band listenable for roughly the span of a 7-inch, but strong songwriting chops and a bit of variety are necessary to make a record as dense as Stray Dogs fun to listen to for all 36 of its minutes. Blue Ox’s sound is consistent; it’s always heavy and continuously presses forward, but sometimes it gallops, sometimes it lumbers, and sometimes it drunkenly stumbles. For instance, personal favorite Mattress Actress is a sojourn through the many mires of hatred, beginning as an ugly stomper before settling into the rolling chromatic riff that defines its second half. These final 2 minutes of Mattress Actress are beyond filthy, and wholly evocative of genuine, gleeful evil. Imagine a horned, sneering demonbeast awaking from slumber to dance an unceremoniously lurching waltz, ease into a playful yet menacing trot, then suddenly gain sight of its prey and charge forward on knuckles and talons, picking up speed until it sprouts hideous reptilian wings and takes flight.

You may have come to believe that I like Blue Ox for their intensity and not their creativity, but it’s not that simple. The dirty little secret behind this band’s effectiveness is that supporting the steel-reinforced wall of sludge cracking your skull in half, there lies elegant architecture. Do not mistake a lack of pretense for a lack of intricacy. A powerful mind created this music; it’s just a very angry mind. The bastardization of standard “punk” beats in at 0:18-0:32 in Born to Break Even is unobtrusive but powerful. Nuggets of post-hardcore flavored guitar shredding are buried deep, DEEP in the mix all over the record, adding welcome texture without sacrificing an ounce of power.

WARNING: Hit “play” on Bandcamp link below only if you accept that you may helplessly punch your bedroom wall for the entire running length of Stray Dogs on Pity Party Island, and that Toilet Ov Hell United Broadcasting Corporation® and Blue Ox© Ltd. LLC Media Derivative are not responsible for the consequences of your behavior while you listen to this PCP-mimicking record.

 

This post has been adapted from its original version which appeared on Skullsmasher.com.

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  • Elite Extremophile

    I would totally use this to work out if I worked out. Or left my dorm at all.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      WARNING: Dorms are a potential hotbed of Bros.

      • Randall Thor

        BRO WE GOTTA GET SUME BDUBS

        • Elite Extremophile

          *coal rolls into the bdubs sunset*

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Ha ha it’s coming man, been busy as hell with work lately. It’ll be a longer entry to make up for the delay.

          • Randall Thor

            WTF R U TALKIN ABOUT BRO? I MEAN WINGS, NOT SOME DWEEBY ARTICULR ON A COMPUTER HAHAHA OWNED RIGHT!?

          • CyberneticOrganism

            FUCK BRO UR RIGHT I NEED A BEER *slams 6 Keystones*

          • Randall Thor

            HHAHAHA HELL EYAH BRO! AY CHECK OUT THAT TOTAL BABE OVER THERE, HEY, HEY HEY HEY EYEYEYEYE CHECK THIS.

            “Can I get you guys anything?”
            “HEY, UH, HUE HE, AS LONG AS I HAVE A SIT YOU HAVE A PLACE TO FACE! HAHAHHAAH YEAAAAH BRO!!!”

          • CyberneticOrganism

            HAHAHA FUCK YEAH C’MON BABE LET’S RAGE

            *grabs waitress’ ass*
            *gets pepper sprayed like last time*
            *washes face off with Bud Light*
            *wipes away excess with buffalo wing*

          • Randall Thor

            HAHHAHAHAHAA BRO SHE JUST PEPPER SPRAYED YOU DOG! HA HAAAAA! AYAYAYAYA BRO, I GOT A WETNAP, YOU CAN HAVE MINE, I WORE JEANS TONIGHT. HAHAHAHA GET IT BRO? I CAN TOTALLY WIPE MY HANDS ON MY JEANS LIKE THEY’RE NAPKINS!

          • CyberneticOrganism

            BRO JEANS ARE FOR DADS WHERE ARE YOUR BASKETBALL SHORTS *slams warm can of Natty Ice kept in pocket*

          • Randall Thor

            HAAHHA WHOA BRO, YOU MUST PACE YOURSELF BEFORE…. HAHAHAHAH BRO I CAME STRAIGHT FROM MY DATE WITH JESSICA, YOU KNOW DAT.

          • who wants to shotgun a beer?????????

          • CyberneticOrganism

            HELL YEAH BRO
            *drives F-150 into BDubs lobby*
            *coal rolls the entire restaurant*
            *everyone dies*

          • HAHA, PARTY FOUL BRO!!!

          • Stockhausen

            HAHAHA BUNCHA HACKS AND WIMPS, IT’S NOT MY FAULT THEY’RE WUSSES! HIGH FIVE BRO!!

          • CÖÄL RÖLL FRÖM THE TÖILET BÖWL

            F150 DOES NOT HAVE A DIESEL MOTOR BRO!!!!

          • CÖÄL RÖLL FRÖM THE TÖILET BÖWL

            <3

      • Elite Extremophile

        You have no fucking idea. My roommate is the most stereotypical frat bro you can imagine. Oddly enough he actually has a high tolerance of metal and the like, despite being a huge country fan.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Oh my god please get a picture of him in his natural envibronment

          • Elite Extremophile

            he has a duck dynasty mat, a north carolina flag and an american flag hanging up right by his bed I am not even fucking joking

          • Howard Dean

            That sounds more like a redneck/hillbilly than a Bro.

          • Christian Molenaar

            The lines are increasingly blurred. The question is, how much BDubs does he consume on average per week?

          • Howard Dean

            I’ve sort of noticed the increasingly blurred lines since I’ve been reading the BDubs series. I’m a little out of the loop as far as cliques go. I’m years removed from my collegiate days, and the “Bros” I knew did not have a shred of redneck in them (I also attended a small, prestigious liberal arts college in New England, so that skews things a bit). They were pastels, polos, rugby shirts, boat shoes, Tag Heuers on wrist, Journey and Whitesnake – listening preppy “bros” who lived in shitty frats, drank shitty beer, and spent Thanksgiving on the Vineyard, spring break in the islands, and summer in Europe. They were way worse than this strange prep/redneck amalgam.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            *David Attenborough voice*

            “The BDubs bro is of a particular strain of Midwestern bro, well-versed in the general bro behavior of wearing douchey prep clothing, consuming low-quality beers and listening to terrible music, but is also familiar with modern country music, coal-rolling and F-150 modifications.”

          • Howard Dean

            That just seems like such a strange combination. In my mind, “bros” and the “country/redneck” crew are diametrically opposed on pretty much every level. Imagining them together in my mind is akin to imagining those weird ape/human hybrid things fucking each other in The Island of Dr. Moreau.

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Ha ha nice. Funny thing is these guys exist right across the fence where I live. It’s a strange, strange, strange world. And there are Bros in it. Which is why we’re all here listening to metal.

          • Howard Dean

            That’s so strange, and I admit, the Bro-Hybrid world is a world I hope I never experience.

          • Uh, I’d recommend avoiding the South.

          • Howard Dean

            In January or February when we have five feet of snow and it’s -20 F here, I could probably stand the Bro-Hybrids well enough to spend a week or two in Florida or Texas.

          • Xan

            It’s horrible here. Despite the shitty people, I’m pretty sure that the humidity is Guatemala levels here.

          • CÖÄL RÖLL FRÖM THE TÖILET BÖWL

            the complexion of a bro is very region specific I think. Here in rural new endland a bro has his own landscaping LLC and pulls his dirt bikes on their lawnmower trailer on weekends.

          • W.

            I live in a west Texas college town. The bros and rednecks have all inbred here, spawning a bizarre hybrid.

          • Xan

            I have failed you. I read that in a Patrick Stewart voice.

          • CÖÄL RÖLL FRÖM THE TÖILET BÖWL

            these folks you describe here are what I would define as douchebros

          • Howard Dean

            Ah, I see. Then it is the douchebro with which I am most acquainted.

          • Elite Extremophile

            there is a box in the fridge at this very moment, as a matter of fact

          • Elite Extremophile

            He’s a brobilly

          • CyberneticOrganism

            It’s definitely a fine line between bros and rednecks; they can co-exist and combine into many nuanced levels of loudmouthed dickheads.

          • Xan

            There are far too many in the south. Bros and rednecks swarm in the millions. I’d bet 1/4 of the population here couldn’t spell gnat correctly.

          • Stockhausen

            I want to torch his side of the room with the fury of a thousand dying suns.

          • Elite Extremophile

            As do I. But his side also has the fridge and the microwave.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    I’ll listen to this as soon as this Enslaved album ends, I promise.

    • oooh oooh, which one? is it the one with ROOTS OF THE MOUNTAIN?!?!

      • Howard Dean

        Dude, that’s a great track. Riitiir was a great album. Byah! Also FYI: they are working on a new album, release date TBD.

        • Fry: When will that be?
          Glurmo: Soon enough.
          Fry: That’s not soon enough!

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            ………….

  • Metaphysical Anus

    This is nice.

  • I swear by the end of next year I will have spent more money on bandcamp than on itunes or anywhere else.

    • God

      That’s why I love bandcamp. I know the money is going directly to the artist.

      • Tyree

        Amen

      • CyberneticOrganism

        bandcamp is the shit, I just wish I could make music more quickly to post there

        • Stockhausen

          Seriously, Bandcamp rules my music world.

          • Howard Dean

            I’ve started using bandcamp some. I just wish all the bands that used it had their music for sale on CD.

          • Virgil the Ghost Poet

            Yes ×1000000. I even email bands to release it on CD. Some do (Alas Moths one amongst the weed fields) and some don’t (Crocked Necks). Fuck I want some Crooked Necks.

          • Stockhausen

            I agree. I like downloading and streaming, but I also love owning the physical copies.

          • Tyree

            It’s great to get laid there.

        • Xan

          Bandcamp is the bomb. I wish I could make music, period. I have good vocals but I don’t know how to play an instrument and I only know a drummer.

          • Howard Dean

            I would listen to a rhythm-only band consisting of a sick drummer laying down insane beats with growls placed appropriately over the top of it.

          • Xan

            I did an interesting (to me) project a while back where I just made some ambient music on my keyboard (the instrument, not the typing device) and had my friend do some drums for it. I tried doing vocals for it but they sounded to abrasive for what I was going for so I ended up leaving them out. I think the files are still on one of my old computers.

          • W.

            That would be cool. Did you check our Radiation Blackbody? Just drum and bass.

          • Tyree

            This drummer right?

          • Xan

            I wish. I’m positive that this drummer could kill you with the shockwave of a single hit.

          • Tyree

            Daaaaamn!

    • good. this is the way it should be!

  • Elite Extremophile

    Also, I found these guys on bandcamp yesterday. If you like this, you’ll probably like them.

    http://enablermke.bandcamp.com/

    • W.

      Enabler slay. No jive.

    • HessianHunter

      Ha, Enabler and Blue Ox actually shared a guitarist for a little bit. I got to open for Enabler recently and they’re no joke.

  • God

    This album is so punishingly heavy that my balls grew balls

    ….I have been informed this may be an std.

  • Thanks for linking back to the original source, Steve! May you continue to rock as hard as always.

  • Tyree
  • God

    So with chimaira gone, do we get DAATH back? Seems like a fair trade.

    • Elite Extremophile

      Sure as hell hope so. I just started feeling competent as a musician again, it’s time for Emil to put me back in my place.

    • The true Chimaira has been gone for a while.

      • God

        Amen

      • Elite Extremophile

        Chimaira died when Rob Arnold left.

    • Howard Dean
  • This really mashes my potatoes.

  • Mother Shabubu III

    HessianHunter with another winner.

    PS: Logan Kelly! A Dead To Fall alumn.

    • HessianHunter

      Also one of the funniest motherfuckers alive. I love that crazy sumnabitch.

  • Howard Dean

    A little OSDM-styled hatred for those who need it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkPtBQPqQPQ

  • Howard Dean

    OSDM-styled rage for those so inclined. Byaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkPtBQPqQPQ

    • IronLawnmower

      I fucking need this shit after the week I had.

    • Scrimm

      What the fuck is wrong with posting this twice? Dismember members worshipping Autopsy? I’ll take two.

      • Howard Dean

        Agreed. Byah! P.S. I hope they get together and make a new album. That would be sweet.

  • IronLawnmower

    Flushers who have entered the adult world:Please tell me it gets less shitty after secondary school

    • Metaphysical Anus

      It depends. If you decide to go for an art degree, no. But on the positive side, you’ll never be lonely. Taxes will be your friend!

      • IronLawnmower

        I’m doing BTEC performing arts (acting) and ICT (Computers but the course is a fucking joke) and the school is run by puritans.

        • Metaphysical Anus

          What are you planning to do with those?

          • IronLawnmower

            Performing arts would probably be stage type stuff. ICT I want a job in IT support or possibly web development.

          • Metaphysical Anus

            Interpretive dancing?

          • Howard Dean

            “I like to picture Jesus as a figure skater, and he’s doing interpretive ice dancing of my life’s journey.”

          • IronLawnmower

            May as well with the shit I’m learning from my IT course. “Do a power point on the components of a computer” WE ALREADY DID THAT 5 YEARS IN A ROW YOU LANKY CUNTPLATOON.

          • Metaphysical Anus

            Why would they teach you that? What kind of ICT course is this?

          • IronLawnmower

            A shitty one. It’s A-Level ICT. In the other classes we’re “making” websites on wordpress and making leaflets in publisher on employability.

          • HEY, didn’t I tell you to use wordpress.org the other day? You went with wordpress.com. You damned lazy kids.

          • IronLawnmower

            They’re making us use wordpress.com. Damned lazy IT teachers. We already did it in 3rd year anyway. It’s literally just a repeat of stuff we already did.

          • Xan

            That feels like most of the history classes I’ve taken. I don’t think there is a year that goes by where I don’t learn about Christopher Fucking Columbus. I’m going for a degree in Creative Journalism. Expect to see my fine publications on the finest dead media formats you’ve ever seen!

          • IronLawnmower

            You americans really love that guy don’t ya?

          • Howard Dean

            He’s an integral figure in our mythos.

          • IronLawnmower

            King Billy is an integral figure in our mythos but I didn’t even learn that shit in school.

          • Howard Dean

            Countries and cultures will revere those they want to revere, and forget those they wish to forget. That’s their prerogative. It happens everywhere.

          • Xan

            I think he a fucking dick head. Moron came over here and starting killing people and then refused to believe that North America wasn’t India when smarter people figured it out. He is not a person I aspire to be.

          • IronLawnmower

            It kinda seems like what north korea is doing with the Kim family then and making him seem like this amazing mythical figure.

          • Xan

            It isn’t too far. I find that a lot of United States history makes most historical figures that were on our side out to be almost god-like when in reality most of them were horrible humans too that just decided to do something they believed in. An example of this would be Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both came up with a method to decide how many representatives a state ot in the House of Congress. They both devised methods so that their preferred state size (Adams for big states, Jefferson for small states) would always get more votes. Both were corrupt politicians even before the country was a decade old.

          • IronLawnmower

            Makes me wonder why you revere your constitution so much when it was written by corrupt scumbags.

          • Xan

            Well, there isn’t anything wrong with what’s in it. As far as I know there is nothing horrible in it. It needs to be updated greatly. There needs to be, as corny as it sounds, an “internet bill of rights”.

          • IronLawnmower

            Just don’t make it so every idiot thinks he’s entitled to pack heat.

          • Xan

            Yeah. Though I enjoy guns and shooting them, I wouldn’t be butthurt is they decided to ban them. That amendment was written in a time where everyone needed to protect themselves because there was no police and many people, particularly in the countryside, still hunted for much of their food. There’s nothing wrong with owning a gun if you are a responsible adult. The problem occurs when sum psychopath decided to buy as many guns as he can and go on a shooting spree. They need to actually be difficult to obtain.

          • Howard Dean

            This is such a loaded question. I’ll answer only by saying “I’ll take my corrupt scumbags and the constitution they birthed over the corrupt scumbags who birthed other such documents of laws and guiding principles elsewhere in the world.”

          • IronLawnmower

            I didn’t really intend for it to be a loaded question. Sorry.

          • Howard Dean

            That’s every country in the world. Everyone has their own history, and they portray things in a light that is most beneficial to them. Countries do it, states do it, businesses do it, and individuals do it. That’s human nature.

            Countries always hold in the highest esteem the men and women who helped shape their social/political/legal/economic landscape. That’s called “great man” history, and is what you will be fed in most schools and by most textbooks. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had their dark sides (pun intended for TJ), of course, but you can’t blame them for looking out for their home states, and acting in their best interest. Everyone did/does that shit. Egalitarianism has never been a tenet of American democracy.

          • Xan

            I can’t blame them for looking out for their own state. I’d do the same damn thing. It has always fascinated how different civilizations have raised their founders and great people to god-like status. I think that’s one reason I enjoyed Bioshock Infinite so much.

          • Howard Dean

            The accelerated decimation of the natives and the rapid stripping away and destruction of the “New World’s” culture has always fascinated me. It’s also incredibly sad. It’s amazing that something of that magnitude was perpetrated hundreds of years ago, and that it was so rapid and complete.

    • Mostly!

    • Howard Dean

      No. The world gets harder, but you also get the free will (or determinism, however you are inclined) to make your own decisions, make your own options, make your own way, and make your own happiness. It’s not always easy, but you just got to do it.

      • IronLawnmower

        My parents have to go to the principal because I fell asleep in the sixth form room. (Dude I had like 4 free periods today I had fuck all to do what else could I do?) I suppose working hard is better than taking the easy way out and becoming one of those basement dwelling NEET otakus. Is long hair really as big a job killer as they say it is or is it only certain industries? Because the IT guy at my school as a long ass ponytail.

        • Howard Dean

          I’m not sure, as I have short-ish hair and I don’t work in IT. I have to assume it’s probably not a huge deal, as most IT guys are “behind the scenes,” though I’m sure some HR people/bosses/hiring committees don’t like it. However, I do have a beard (I trim it when I have important meetings and the like), and I haven’t had trouble with that thus far (knock on wood).

          • IronLawnmower

            My long hair isn’t even really that much of a “Dude I’m so metal” thing it just suits me and I look dumb with short hair.

          • Howard Dean

            I can’t really predict how your future potential employers will view it. Many expectations are industry-specific, and you are from a different country than I (I’m in the States, you live–and I presume, will work–in Northern Ireland [according to your disqus profule]). It’s even different regionally in the U.S. – if you work in finance in a place like New York City, for example, you are usually expected to be well-groomed on a daily basis(clean-shaven, neat and tidy hair), and to have a tasteful wardrobe (if you dress like shit, they won’t like you). However, someone holding the same position on the West Coast of the U.S. would likely encounter much more lenient expectations for dress/body image.

          • IronLawnmower

            My wee country has a weird mix. In belfast you’ll see clean shaven balding men in suits working in giant glass buildings but also younger “trendy” people operating small businessess and probably being more lenient.

          • Howard Dean

            That’s how it is everywhere. Younger people running newer startups are usually more tolerant and “hip,” and the larger, more established businesses have a older employees and are more conservative.

          • It’s pretty much this then: If you work hard, you have undeniable skill in your position, and you’re not a total weirdo you’ll be fine.

          • Howard Dean

            I can second this wholeheartedly.

          • IronLawnmower

            Define “total weirdo”

          • Can you carry on a polite conversation with someone you have nothing in common with for ~30 minutes? Is your hygiene adequate? Can you go an entire working day without making someone feel uncomfortable?

          • IronLawnmower

            1)Yes if they aren’t a twat. 2)Yeap. 3)Yes I can.

          • Howard Dean

            1) You will meet a lot of twats. You will need to learn how to tolerate them.

          • Most of them will be your bosses.

          • IronLawnmower

            Any advice for tolerating twats?

          • Howard Dean

            Use reasoning and risk assessment (which admittedly are high-functioning skills that not everyone possesses) and ask yourself: what’s at stake if I tell this guy off or make him mad? If I tolerate him, and use restraint, will it make life easier? Is there anyway I can avoid him? And if you must interact with the twat, you need to tolerate him. Limit your exposure to the twat if you are feeling your blood start to boil, steer talk into a direction that won’t incite fire inside of you, and never take your eye off of the prize: I need to tolerate this guy so as to not upset the balance and get myself into trouble. It sounds pussy-ish, and in a way, it sort of is, but it’s a survival skill for adult life.

          • IronLawnmower

            Thanks. I’ll remember this always.

          • Howard Dean

            Good luck. I think what Joe said earlier summed it up perfectly, so I will quote him: ” If you work hard, you have undeniable skill in your position, and you’re not a total weirdo, you’ll be fine.”

    • W.

      I’m a PhD student in his ninth year of indentured servitude, so I get the worst of both worlds.

      • Virgil the Ghost Poet

        What are you studying?

        • W.

          Traffic engineering.

          • Virgil the Ghost Poet

            Wow. Good for you.

  • Stockhausen

    A tour of these guys, Brain Famine, and Secret Cutter would give everyone in a four mile radius a rage-induced aneurysm.

  • Xan

    This is so fucking heavy! The warning almost wasn’t a joke. I want to destroy things now.

  • MoshOff

    I was recently trying to remember the name of that awesome band that @HessianHunter posted on metalsucks.

    Just bought it, thanks HH!!

  • I think this album is unknown by many, if you like getting curb stomped as part of your listening experience, this is the ticket.