This January, the Angry Metal Gods saw fit to bless us with multitudes of favor during what strange, countless aeons of headbanging have typically proven to be the darkest of times for trve believers, and we all say thank-ya. February it may be, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to say goodbye to Jørnuary tidings, and it’s definitely not time to stop saying thank-ya. By the deity-defying powers of Muppets, France, and procrastination, let us bask in the revitalizing glory of 2018’s expectations-shattering induction for just a little longer. Friends, meet Viscères, the second full-length by Bind Torture Kill.
By all means, keep basking, but be warned: there is nothing peaceful or pleasant here. Any such notions dissipate with the deceptive fog of “Fléau” as the creeping intro violently gives way to “Au fond du trou,” and the nature of Viscères is revealed: this… is… Hardcore! Well, post-hardcore. Or crusty grindcore. Or blackened Converge-core. Hmmm… Perhaps pinning an identity on BTK isn’t so straightforward after all, but I’ll tell you what: it’s fucking brutal. “Perte et Fracas” alone is almost more than the neck can handle, tearing through some grimy grooves sprinkled with mini Mastodon moments before building into an absolutely unhinged explosion that simply begs for live play. Viscères is 34 minutes of such merciless violence, a vicious assault spearheaded by spastic guitars and the kind of pummeling percussive performance that makes you feel sorry for the drum kit. Throw some truly murderous blackened hardcore screams into the arsenal, and BTK have everything they need to keep things at 11 at all times.
This, apparently, does not include a bassist, as only 3 people are responsible for this killer racket and none of them do bass things. Guitarist Yann Alexandre does an excellent job Converge-ing spaz-core rhythms and rowdy riffy bits sans friends in low places, and drummer Benjamin Garçon certainly doesn’t need any help blasting the songs into surgically precise bits of synchronised explosive glory. Interviews with the band reveal that a custom amp setup assists Yann in maintaining a sonic balance, an experiment that pays off remarkably well and testifies to the creative headspace of BTK. To hear the overclocked, apocalyptic crust of “Chacal” and know that that sonic death-storm, all that noise, is made by just two musicians, presumably human… praise be to Jørn. Moreover, the thoughtfulness of the songwriting is of far higher quality than one might expect from a young act specializing in such discordant fare. This somewhat surprising command of writing is what makes “Pestilence” work so absolutely fucking well, harvesting Converge and Slugdge bits and patiently (but brutally) assembling a crusty, raging monster. It would be no small feat for Jacob Bannon himself to top or even perform over this over-the-top performance.
However Converge-ant BTK‘s instrumental section may be, fellow countryman Mathieu Nogues of Eryn Non Dae. is vocalist Olivier Alexandre’s feral spirit animal. The two adorn their respective bands in near identical screams of passionate hardcore wrath, and Olivier’s seething delivery augmented by BTK‘s higher paced instrumentation makes a compelling argument for Olivier wearing the pipes better. Irrelevant comparisons aside, everyone’s’ performance here is frighteningly intense, and the collective bloodlust pays out in every song. Each frenetic burst of strings and skins is somehow able to breathe amidst its own carnage, and the similarly balanced vocals work as part of the instrumental pack rather than attacking as standalone jackals, allowing every moment of mayhem to coexist and coalesce into something colossal and incandescent from start to finish. Whether they’re petitioning a hardcore sky, rabidly consuming crust or doing anything else in that loud and filthy vein, these lads know how to write engaging songs which (surprise, surprise) combine to create a very engaging album. There is no filler here, even the intro and the Soothsayer-y segue track “Maelstrom” serve a function and maintain the listeners attention, providing some of the only breathing moments allowed on Viscères and making everyone else who pulls such moves look bad.
This type of metal, with a few notable exceptions such as Gaza or Heathen Beast, is not typically renowned for its artistic maturity, and hearing such in the midst of all the other Jørnuary blessings was almost more than this Muppet could take. Viscères is something BTK should be proud of, and something that you should be ashamed of yourself for not having already if you’re among that unfortunate camp. It could be centvries before we are blessed with another January is bountiful as this, don’t spit in the Angry Metal Gods’ faces by leaving this psychotic stone unturned.