Contrary to its apathetic title, Whatever Forever is Oozing Wound‘s most focused and sinister record yet.
The Oozing Wound I fell in love with back in 2013 were a playful bunch of chaps. On debut album Retrash, they brought stoner fuzz sensibilities up to a thrash tempo, perfectly willing to drag high-energy riffs out for minutes on end until they grew ripe on the vine and an earworm burrowed out from the rotten core and into your ill-prepared skull.
2014 brought us their second record, Earth Suck, where they weighed more heavily on the sludgy characteristics of their sound and got just plain weird. They tested both neck muscles and patience by ending the record with the same four 16th notes repeated over and over for THREE GODDAMN MINUTES while the drums only grow more sparse and primal. This album actually didn’t click with me for over a year after first hearing it, but I now consider it among my favorite heavy albums of the decade.
The possibility that this new record may be a “grower” weighed on my mind as I pressed play on this newfangled third LP, Whatever Forever, but NOPE, I loved it immediately. I listened to it four times in a row after the first go-around and only heard more layers I liked upon each successive listen.
What struck me first were the vocals – either the reverb has been turned down dramatically, or Zack Weil’s wailings have just gotten more desperate sounding. Either way, they sound far more vulnerable and just plain scarier than on previous recordings. The next thing I noticed was that there’s a lot more guitar parts with rung open strings forming chords I would describe as “pretty,” and they contrast beautifully with the bleak shouting. These two components are what make this record feel so much more evil than they ever have before – if previous Oozing Wound records made me want to throw a keggar in the woods with my best friends, Whatever Forever makes me want to crash that very keggar to slash my friends’ throats and burn the bodies.
I can’t shake the idea that Oozing Wound actually managed to accidentally make a black metal record without relying on any obvious tropes of the genre; at least, that’s what I hear when I absorb the misanthropic beauty at 3:50 of lead single “Diver” and the primal agony of the verse riff in “Weather Tamer”.
The bottom line is that Oozing Wound reinvented themselves without losing their identity and they still fucking slay. I’ll always have a place in my heart for the sardonic, stoned Chicago punk-metallers I knew, but I can’t wait to hear what this new vicious new phase of the band has to offer.
4 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Whatever Forever comes out this Friday, October 14th. Preorder it here and be sure to catch them on tour in the next month if you live in any of these cities.
Oct. 12 – Minneapolis, MN – Rathole
Oct. 13 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverwest Public House
Oct. 14 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
Oct. 15 – Hazel Park, MI – Cellarman’s*
Oct. 16 – Toronto, ON – The Baby G*
Oct. 17 – Albany, NY – Low Beat*
Oct. 18 – Providence, RI – Aurora*
Oct. 19 – Brooklyn, NY – Shea Stadium*
Oct. 20 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie*
Oct. 21 – Washington, D.C. – Slash Run
Oct. 22 – Durham, NC – The Pinhook
Oct. 24 – Winston-Salem, NC – The Garage
Oct. 25 – Knoxville, TN – Pilot Light
Oct. 26 – Louisville, KY – Kaiju
Oct. 27 – Athens, OH – The Union
Oct. 28 – Detroit, MI – UFO
* with Electric Hawk