Mosh Lit // Fatuous Rump and Party Cannon

Hello and welcome to Mosh Lit, our monthly deep dive into storytelling in heavy music. While most of us have spent the last couple years binge-watching and doomscrolling (or maybe

2 years ago

Hello and welcome to Mosh Lit, our monthly deep dive into storytelling in heavy music.

While most of us have spent the last couple years binge-watching and doomscrolling (or maybe that’s just me), bands around the world incubated new projects while waiting for in-person events to safely return. For many, it was a chance to double down on their sound. The end result: their heaviest, most intense expression yet. As a die-hard brutal death metal fan, I found that few bands better exemplified this trend than Taiwanese goremongers Fatuous Rump and Scottish party-slammers Party Cannon, both of whom were kind enough to share their takes on slam, humor, and songwriting for this monstrous, two-headed Mosh Lit.

Fatuous Rump closed out the year with a new album, Perceptions of the Dark Ornaments. Released December 17th with Lacerated Enemy Records, the album is exactly what you’d expect from a seasoned slam band: gore, guts, and gutturals. The band’s lineup includes the prolific Larry Wang (Facelift Deformation, Coprocephalic, Virginity Fraud, Maggot Colony, Gorepot) on vocals, guitarist Hank Peng (Karma), and drummer Kane Peng (Maggot Colony). If their name wasn’t already a dead giveaway, a quick scan of the song titles makes it clear that Perceptions refuses to take itself too seriously while also packing some serious firepower. The first single dropped from the album features Angel Ochoa, the vocalist of famed slam bands Abominable Putridity, Cephalotripsy, and Disgorge, as well as the rather nonsensical title “Tang don’t lol to Chang.” Other song titles range from the benign “The Rush is Worth the Risk” to the Carcass-esque medical dictionary bingo stylings of “Eosinophilic Meningo-Encephalitis.” The latter, incidentally, has Clayton Meade from Implements of Hell, Scorbutus, and Umbilical Asphyxia as a guest vocalist.

Fatuous Rump//Lacerated Enemy Records

Three months after its release, and I’m still listening to Perceptions on a near-daily basis. The album takes the core components of slam, turns them up to eleven, then layers in samples that range from religious drums to interviews with serial killers. It’s shatteringly intense and very, very brutal.

The sound is no surprise, given that Larry Wang is Fatuous Rump’s vocalist. Though he’s been part of multiple metal bands throughout his career, every project channels his love for IQ-lowering slam. His passion for brutal death metal results in a creative process that’s simultaneously analytical and entertaining. Armed with a new lineup that included Hank Peng and Kane Peng, Fatuous Rump began working on Perceptions of the Dark Ornaments in February last year. From the very beginning, Larry says, the writing process was different:

“Before [Perceptions] I would just freestyle the tracks and put in whatever pops in my head. This time since we got a new drummer and new guitarist, I would lay out the tracks with the simplest riffs and drums, then pass them to Kane to have him move things around to see how he would like it, and since the fillers and stops are done, Hank would have a better idea of how it would work to have multiple layers of flavors in different riffs. Overall it was a super fun experience.”

The more collaborative process produced a subtly more technical and more hard-hitting sound throughout Perceptions of the Dark Ornaments. It’s no doubt a slam album, but a wide range of influences and samples join forces with rapidfire tempo changes to create a surprisingly complex and devastatingly heavy record. The sound, as it turns out, is the result of drawing inspiration from the band’s own listening preferences: guitarist Hank leans toward technical death metal bands like The Zenith Passage, while drummer Kane is a fan of Ingested and Analepsy. For Larry, however, drawing inspiration from outside music altogether is often the most useful.

He noted in his responses that regardless of genre, every band is in the entertainment business. Comedians like Seth Rogan and genre-bending films like “Dale and Tucker vs Evil” are more likely to give him focus or inspiration than any particular musician. Experimenting with the band’s sound, voice, and personality shapes how Fatuous Rump connects with their fans. And a quick glance at any social media account demonstrates that philosophy: posts are written with a humorous voice that refers to fans as “boss” and usually signs off with a signature HIHIHIHIHIHIIIIII. The whole point is to have fun and try something new, hopefully surprising the audience in a positive way.

Of course, I couldn’t talk to Larry about humor and songwriting without asking about Gorepot, his long-term brutal death metal project that’s been dubbed “memecore” in some circles of the Internet. Though he didn’t reject the label altogether, Larry noted that the association was purely accidental:

“I’ve never tried to start a memecore band, I’ve always love random videos that you make go WTF and I want the audience to feel that musically. I personally love memes but as the memes go viral, it’s harder to find the really good ones, the meme culture sure does make people start doing more memes, but most of the time the unexpected/unintentional videos are still the best. And no, meme culture does not shape the way I write, I’ve simply been like this since I was a kid.”

Incidentally, turning WTF moments into songs might the most accurate way I’ve ever heard anyone describe slam. Some people like heartachey ballads, some people like poptimistic bops, other people like weird jokes turned into eardrum-crushing screeches. Music is a wildly interesting way to tell stories, no matter where the plot takes musicians and listeners alike. Since Larry has also been part of sci-fi projects like Facelift Deformation and gore-filled slam bands like Fatuous Rump, I asked how different motifs change how he approaches the creative process:

“These themes changes completely on how you would arrange the song structures. For sci-fi, you need a lot of tech fillers on both guitars and drums; for gore you can do either fast tempo or slow tempo, but there needs to be slow parts and fast blastbeats. For humor…. You have to reduce your IQ all the way and have goofy parts. Usually for me the humor ones are the hardest because as you get better, it’s harder to sound dumb hihihihi…”

Take a look at the album art for Perceptions of the Dark Ornaments, and I’ll let you guess where Fatuous Rump falls on that spectrum. To Larry’s point, however, there’s no better contrast to underline the violent energy of the album than “Tang don’t lol to Chang.” The track opens with cymbals from a Taiwanese temple parade with a clip from an interview with a Chinese serial killer. Just as you settle into a sense of eerie wariness, the band rips into a slamming rage. The moment is carefully created, well executed, and extremely br00tal.

Traveling approximately 6,000 miles or 9,656 kilometers, we meet Party Cannon. Even if you haven’t listened to any of their glitter-infused slam recently, you’ll recognize their distinctive bubble-lettered logo that occasionally helps a festival poster go viral:

The self-described party-slam band makes no bones (or skulls, or innards) about being a bunch of dudes that love to party and love to rage. Whatever you think about their brightly-colored logo, you know who Party Cannon is, and what they’re about. But there’s a practical side to the unorthodox branding; as natives of Dunfermline, Scotland, the Party Cannon lads all have heavy Scottish accents. Bassist Chris “Clankenstein” noted that had the group chosen a more “conventional” death metal name, audiences outside the United Kingdom might not have discovered the band as easily. As a tour-centric band, Party Cannon figured less phonetically dense name would help them stand out at international festivals. To their credit, no one can really argue otherwise.

Party Cannon released their third full-length album, Volumes of Vomit, in January this year. Like Fatuous Rump, the pandemic offered an unexpected pause that allowed the band to refocus their writing process. According to Chris, the real novelty was that Party Cannon actually had time to write as the world shut down.

“We’ve been around for almost ten years now, but we’ve toured so much that we’ve almost never had time to really concentrate on creating new music. We had this pattern of releasing EPs, then rushing off to go on tour. The pandemic was the first time we could really sit down and focus on the details.”

The result was a raw, pummeling album that manages to turn goregrind tropes on their heads and splatter them with neon paint. The minimal finesse of Volumes of Vomit‘s production keeps the touring spirit of Party Cannon alive throughout – it’s not quite the same as being in a venue watching a pile of sweaty people smash into each other, but it’s pretty damn close. And after years of watching shows get delayed or cancelled, pretty damn close is a welcome sound.

Chris shared that the extra time to focus on writing Volumes of Vomit in no way produced a more accessible sound. If anything, Party Cannon embraced the more chaos even more so than on their previous music. For the first time in years, the band could collaborate and reflect on what they really wanted their sound to be. And what they wanted was even more slams. Influences of Devourment, Gorgasm, Dying Fetus, Exhumed, and Disgorge can heard throughout, though no one will accuse Party Cannon of simply imitiating their favorite bands. Underneath the tongue-in-cheek energy of the album, Volumes of Vomit contains complex songwriting that showcases the band’s talent as much as their sense of humor. It’s one of those records I can’t listen to in public because my head inevitably starts banging along to the endless parade of riffs, squeals, and blastbeats. It’s relentlessly catchy and blisteringly fun. Plus the samples on the first track, “Tactical Chunder,” make me laugh every single time. What can I say? I’m here for Party Cannon’s weird, goofy brand of slam.

Despite being recorded throughout alternating waves of national and international shutdowns, Volumes of Vomit is a tour of the world’s best-known names in slam. Guest appearances by Ross Sewage (Exhumed), Don Campan (Waking The Cadaver) and Andrew Lomastro (Cerebral Incubation) add range to an already wild ride. The gruesome addition of Ross Sewage, a notable influence on Party Cannon’s sound, was a surprise even to Chris and the rest of Party Cannon:

“We basically just sent him a message asking if he’d be interested in working with us, not thinking he really would. But he responded pretty quickly and within a few days of sending him the song, we had his vocals. It was very low key, and very cool.”

The miracle of remote work, who knew? A few clicks and a legend of the goregrind/death metal scene can make an appearance from thousand of miles away.

The number of guests on Volumes of Vomit simply serves to emphasize what Party Cannon has been about all along: this weird, global community of slam partiers that stuck together, even through the horrific events of the past few years. Like their famously bubble-lettered logo, Party Cannon didn’t come back a changed band, they came back a deranged band. Volumes of Vomit is for the people that get it. Chris concluded our chat with this comment on how the album pays a final tribute to those weirdos:

“Keeping with our tradition of intellectual avant-garde art work, the album cover and sleeve is made up of over 200 pictures of our fans throwing up/partying. We wanted to include our fans in the album as a thank you for the overwhelming support we received during the pandemic.”

Presumably, readers of Heavy Blog Is Heavy are the kind of people who have turned to music to get themselves through these strange, often sad and scary times. Even if you’re not naturally a brutal slamming death metal fan, I can’t recommend checking out Perceptions of the Dark Ornaments or Volumes of Vomit enough for the kind of punishing, sometimes bizarre, music that helps listeners escape reality for a little while. It’ll be wild ride, to be sure, but unquestionnably fun and interesting.

Bridget Hughes

Published 2 years ago