Sometimes while you’re waiting over two years for a band to release some new music, they come along and release it with another band who you’ve also been waiting for music from, but for five whole years. What do you do with this new material? You listen to it a bunch and then spend more time writing an intro than anything else in the feature, that’s what you do. 2018 extreme math metal or, mathcore as it’s most sensibly referred to (is this mathsplaining?) has two names glowing in violent strobe lights. Arms and Seizures summon thee. And I.
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As it’s been half of one decade, Seizures go first. The Sanity Universal was a vast expanse of vicious, slashing metalcore and digitally altered waves of nightmarish noise. Well, the new tracks are just as divine. “Boreality” teases with nearly a minute of glassy cleans before a rush of blood starts the familiar gnashing of Seizures’ hardcore jaws. They grind through more restrained moments in no time, pulling all of the plate-shifting math motifs into play around one another, ripping through the calm but pulling everything back from the edge of devastation. “The Yellow Queen” feels more violent and manic but always maintains a balance: the band never piling riffs on top of riffs for the sake of being noisy. The transitions that pull the track to its close would be jarring and distracting if done by anyone else. Seizures slide from haggard to smooth in one smooth stroke, like a brand new razor. Or Devil Sold His Soul.
Arms play confrontational music. Every compound measure of the panic-inducing math metal the Floridians fire out a cartwheel-on-fire in the face of someone holding a grenade. The short-fused “Pentigroid Alcheum” is a sneering example of how to structure a song out of a hundred wild ideas; the distressed clean singing ready for comparisons with the genre’s recently departed godfathers, Exotic Animal Petting Zoo. Just kidding, I think they’re still a band. A brief but devilish cameo from Chad Kapper (Frontierer, A Dark Orbit) rounds off a wholly mental aural attack, ringing out kindly into the twinkling keys and Thom Yorke slurring of “Junk Witch”. The track cuts off at the cusp of an emotional bad trip – right into the back and forth of a young band turning discord and disarray into diabolically anthemic music. The chaos is conscious. Self-aware. Maybe even sentient.
Both Arms (ha) and Seizures will be taking part in the first ever Mathcore Index Fest at St Vitus on the 14th-15th of July. The bands joining them are unreal, with mathgenre heavyweights Car Bomb the cherry on top of a weird, dissonant, devastating and, ultimately, undeniably stacked lineup. A small but dedicated portion of the Internet collectively shit their britches when it was announced, and quite rightly so – anyone remotely involved or interested in this weird, often misconstrued area of music should be itching for a ticket. If you see my friend Ernesto there, thank him for me, for the fantastic title of this post.