OK. I’m challenging myself with this one. Taking twelve minutes to write about a twelve minute debut EP can and will be done. Just watch me, I don’t back down from a struggle, even if it’s with hate filled morons on the Internet who wanna send empty death threats to me. Mate, you’re a cunt and I hope that something heavy lands on your head. Something as heavy as this. Not so much grind today but this definitely gets my gears working. Hard. And it’s Scottish too. Moist.
Dark Habits are a new-to-this-world band from Glasgow, my favourite part of the country; even with its sheer amount of blind loyalist hate, junkies and pishy streets that don’t quite make the tourist board promo materials, it’s always going to be my favourite. It’s this wretched landscape that has helped produce a debut so nasty, it might require you to wash your arsehole after listening to it. With building blocks of black metal, powerviolence and industrial noise, Cave Paintings is as primal as the title suggests. Nails and Trap Them might be the big names about town with Vermin Womb hanging around the street corners, but Dark Habits can swing smashed bottles of Buckfast alongside them. Don’t believe me? Fuck you. Listen first and then give me your opinion, minion.
Before I bore myself by talking about the guitar tone, let’s just call it grade A fuzz. We all know what pedal is being used (or emulated, I don’t know enough about the recording process to make that call) and we all love it. Driven with stabbing d-beats and nail-shredding downstrokes that Hetfield himself would get wide eyed at, “Black Tabs” and “Porcelain Dreams” are ragers. Totally smothered in hate and distortion. The kind of heavy you need when some fucking joker tries to get in your grill over nothing, leaving that sour taste in your gob. You better believe there’s severely nasty bass too. Gnarled like someone’s teeth being scraped along the pavement in front of you. Everything on Cave Paintings is geared to make you feel things. Uncomfortable and unpleasant things.
Formerly an industrial giant, Glasgow’s skyline is grey and angular with it’s streets full of needles. “Self Exorcism” and “Wishful Thinking” are angular as hell, sure, but they forego the needles for more head rattling feedback and severe, tortured vocals. Digital and mechanical noises mash with more blackened vocals and glitch out just enough to throw you into a trance. The kind of trance one might find themselves in taking acid and walking along the Clyde at night. Zone out to this at your own risk because there’s more violence round the corner. Not the tracksuit wearing, dole reliant kind though. Just savage as fuck riffs and beats. Nothing fancy. Just fantastically hostile.
“Wildwood Spires” slows everything down like human traffic in the city during an Old Firm fuckfest, trudging with all the menace expected from a Glaswegian extreme music act. Blastbeats roll into more shrill stabs and the barbarity seemingly rolls to a stop. Much like the unease of wandering home on your own at the weekend, hearing sirens and glass smashing in the distance, “Pity” pulls up to a close with dread soaked notes and grim white noise. Catch a breath and take in what you’ve just experienced. One of the darkest, nastiest offerings from Scotland’s culture capital (fuck you Edinburgh).
You’ve now successfully survived a night in Glasgow, soundtracked by Dark Habits. Congratulations if you made it through without stabbing someone. High fives if you called a few people cunts on your way.
Fuck, I miss Glasgow.