Hey kids! Do you like having a really bad time? Well, meth. are here to grind your face right down into the dirtiest pit of despair (or possibly drag you down into the pit of despair they already found themselves in). And they look like such a carefree bunch in their promo photos!

Shame (Prosthetic Records) the band’s second full-length record, gives fair warning via the album’s opening, malevolent pounding, screaming assault, that comes out like a junkyard conveyer belt, built to remorselessly crush everything that slowly (but inevitably) falls into its gnashing jaws. 

The album provides the kind of metal-hardcore-noise-industrial-adjacent sonic landscape you might find yourself in with modern, feel-bad, sonic-oppressors like Primitive Man and Body Void. The meth. experience is no less emotionally harrowing, though feels altogether more caffeinated (with bursts of speed perhaps reflective of vocalist Seb Alvarez’s struggles with addiction and bi-polar disorder, which he reportedly grappled with during the making of the album).  

Survival instinct says you better get the hell out of such a place, but there’s something just so damn hypnotic about the band’s raging brutality. Groovy? Absolutely not. There’s not even a drop of funkiness to be squeezed out of this bleak, metallic contraption, but is it compelling? Oh yes, indeed it is. 

Shame deploys skull-splitting, repetitive, percussive assaults. These gradually build in complexity (and sometimes in speed) all in the name of auditory violence. Guitars are like a blast furnace of noise walls; the bass drags your intestines out of your anus; Alvarez and guitarist/ vocalist Michael McDonald scream like banshees in the wind. 

Midway through third track “Blush” provides the album’s first moments of ambience, just for a few moments of sweet, sweet oxygen before flames and toxic smoke fill the room again. For the most part though the band is on a visceral attack. Drummer Andrew Smith has a gift for laying down drum lines that are seductive as a snake charmer, even amidst the noisy, panic-inducing attack. (See “Give In” for a prime example).

While truly metal associations come and go amongst the noise rock tones, the album is certainly very abrasive and in your face. At times, such as on zigzagging explosiveness of “Cruelty”, and the above mentioned “Give In” the band does give off vibes of ultimate experimental metal masters Today Is The Day. 

The title track (an album highpoint) gives the strongest references to industrial metal godfathers Godflesh. The vocals here meanwhile are at their most Steve Albini evoking, the soundtrack appropriately enough also giving off vibes of Albini’s old industrial-noise-rock pioneers Big Black, with a nasty rhythmic pound that has me asking myself a pertinent question: am I being fucked by a machine? 

The album’s closer “Blackmail” emphasises how well the album has been put together, being the longest and possibly most gruelling track of the album. At this stage though, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve found a way to pick out the joy from being tarred and feathered and dragged down a path of jagged rocks. 

In a way my ears and senses really do feel violated by a remorseless, screaming, industrial beast. Nevertheless, I’ll be back for more. 

Buy the album here: 

8 / 10