Secret Cutter - Self Titled - (8/10)
Published on August 4, 2014
Genre:Sludge / Grindcore / Noise
This just in: metal band names can be dark and offensive.
Some, like Eyehategod or Impaled Nazarene, mock religion; others, like Cephalotripsy, Necrophagia, or Vulvectomy, use obscure scientific terms; and then there’s Dying Fetus, Begging for Incest, Short Bus Pile Up, Prostitute Disfigurement, or Anal Cunt, bands that are/were a little more blatant in their attempts to make things just a little awkward when your friend’s parents ask you what racket was just blasting in your 1996 Honda Accord.
While the name Secret Cutter may not be as perverse or as extreme as the above or, say, Cock and Ball Torture, it has an understated sadness and desperation that simply resonates on a subconscious level, whether you took a box cutter to your thighs or not. And their full-length debut, Self Titled, well, that should also resonate whether you enjoy oil-stained grinding sludge misery…or not.
Featuring members from bands Orphan Donor and Oktober Skyline, Secret Cutter are from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a city with a rich and storied history of ship-building and steel production, and one that’s apparently the ideal breeding ground for a trio of malcontents entirely malcontented on the current goings-on of our beautiful and bleeding world.
Wrapped in a charred sludge-grunge foil and stuffed with mouth-tearing vocals and a variety of tempos that shift from tempestuous doom to incendiary blasting grind, concrete-jungle angst is set to a broil on Self Titled. Already analogized to bands like Converge and Eyehategod and Buzzov*en, Secret Cutter’s knack for ugly groove and startling violence fits snug alongside other sludgecore acts like Bird Eater, Biipiigwan, Love Sex Machine, Black Sheep Wall, or the now defunct Gaza.
Although trios are no rarity in metal, the concussive impact delivered by Secret Cutter, a band that utilizes a bare-bones guitar-drum-vocal attack, is quite awesome. The eco-conscious “17.5 Dead Air” is a punishing beat-down of a track with a slick drumming performance that recalls the swing-energy of Deftones’ Abe Cunningham, “Deformed Eye” wields a plodding dead-set pace with a killer muffled guitar-tone during the middle section, and the sub-two-minute instrumental “Vow of Poverty” showcases just how aurally destructive two instruments can be.
It’s a real wonder what a little word-of-mouth can do for a band, and then, even more so, what it can do for your intrepid metal fan who’s always on the stakeout for the next heavy thing. Self Titled by Secret Cutter is one hell of a ruthless debut that should cater to fans fed up with the status quo. Grit your teeth and get on board.