Down with the Sickness: Black Fucking Cancer, Reviewed

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I really hope I’m the first to use this title.

In heavy metal it’s pretty easy to assume what any given band will sound like based solely on their name and logo. Toxik just sounds like a technical thrash band, Cemetery Filth is pretty clearly a death metal band, and Machine Head is so painfully just the sound of bleaching hair. If your name to sound association skills are up to par then it should come as no surprise that Black Fucking Cancer (what a name!) play a truly acidic brand of black metal.

After hanging around for what seems like ages, the band is readying the release of their eponymous debut, due out on Graceless Recordings and Osmose Productions, and it delivers exactly what you’d expect based on their 2011 demo Summoning Aural Hell. Things kick off rather ominously with a gentle reverberating tink, like a forge hammer lost in time and trying to be heard over the ever present growl of bass. Any hope to hear its cries are soon lost, as guitars quickly take over the duty of hammering away, drums not too distantly behind. The only pause in this aural storm is merely to set you up for the heart of it. Guitars quickly swarm in sounding like every angered bee in existence buzzing all at once. In the background the bass guitar and bass drums provide an almost indistinguishable rumble. This proves more of an annoyance the further you get, but in the moment it adds another layer of chaos to an already frantic burner of a song. It slows again briefly, perhaps just to make sure you’re still alive, only to kick back into overdrive and assuring you that it doesn’t particularly care one way or the other.

Sounds like one hell of a way to kick off an album, doesn’t it? I assure you that it absolutely is, and the start to the next track, “Acid ocean,” is no slouch either. It starts out banging and rarely lets up on that pace, all while working in some bouncier riffs that may offer more groove than you’re accustomed to in black metal. Now, you may have noticed that I said “the start of” this track. Well, that’s because the back half of this twelve minute track slows down to a funeral doom crawl of tremolo notes and hellish soundscapes. A minute or two could have closed out the song while setting an eerie atmosphere, but at 6 minutes it really just kills the momentum. “Blood Stained Whore” opens with a much more measured pace than the previous two songs but doesn’t take too terribly long to get back to the band’s usual speed, only to get into the most headbangably sludge riff on the album.

This all culminates in a pile of feedback that bleeds into “SinnVoidRitual,” the first four and a half minutes of which are also feedback. At this point is where the album stumbles a bit. Four songs and ten minutes of feedback in you’ve no doubt heard a handful of similar riffs or ideas across multiple songs. Perhaps it’s just the nature of noisy, caustic music such as this that it will begin to blend together the further you listen, or perhaps the riffs are intentionally similar. Regardless, it begins to feel more like a vigorous trek than a delightfully hellish journey to make it to the standout moments like the chugging triplet section of “SinnVoidRitual.”

The final three tracks pretty much keep up and remix what the four prior have done, to similar results. There are some really great moments presented here, and when everything falls into lockstep it feels as powerful and destructive as anything in the world, it can just take a while to get there and doesn’t make the best use of its downtime between songs and can harp on said songs’ slower moments. The highs are pretty high, though, and mostly make up for the lows on a sometimes frustrating listen.

3.5 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

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Black Fucking Cancer’s self titled debut is out on Graceless Recordings and Osmose Productions on June 24th. Song stream courtesy Decibel Magazine

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