It’s not to often that punk-derived genres get to fly the ‘progressive’ banner, but if forced to name a modern prog-grindcore act, Fuck the Facts would be the first words from my mouth. The Ottowan group’s devil-may-care attitude towards stylistic unity is something of a treasure in the grind world and their constant shuffling between deathy prog-grind and grindy prog-death, all whilst collecting the refuse of a half-dozen other genres, is a joy to witness. Last year’s excellent Abandoned EP saw them treading new ground somewhere in between Converge and Dissection, and after such a powerful showing, I saw great things in store for the upcoming Desire Will Rot.
For better or worse, this album, the band’s tenth full-length after nearly 20 years in the scene, is not the continuation of Abandoned that I hoped for, and it is, in typical Fuck the Facts fashion, something completely different. While the strangeness we’ve come to know and love is still there, it’s being explored in new ways – something truly commendable for a veteran band such as this. Take for instance “False Hope,” which features an extremely diverse percussive palette, ranging from noise hits to tambourine shakes to clapping to cowbell – and all in addition to very laid-back drumming from Mathieu Vilandré. The song is one of the album’s most interesting, and introduces a finishing suite of weird, atmospheric tracks that are both excellent and unexpected. While “False Hope” roasted a dissonant guitar motif in with southwestern flavors a la Bird Eater, the following “Circle” is all ice and no spice, sounding like a split track between Locrian and post-black metallers Downfall of Gaia.
All of this oddball end-of-album experimentation of course has to be juxtaposed by more typical songs in the beginning of Desire Will Rot, which is a bit less than excellent. Throbbing with violence and typical Fuck the Facts odd-time riffing, it’s a lot more representative of the band’s style in Stigmata High-Five and Disgorge Mexico then the latter half of the album. Though the style is certainly not stale, there are a few songs that miss the mark; “Shadows Collide” can’t decide whether it’s by-the-numbers grind or a tribute to ’90s death and ends up being a sub par example of either. Next up is “The Path of Most Resistance,” which is disappointingly pedestrian, especially as a predecessor to “La Mort I” and “La Mort II” which carry some of the album’s best guitar work.
The album sounds as usual, although much less low-fi than Abandoned which many will appreciate. The guitars are lively but lack a little personality in the tone department and Mel Mongeon’s vocals remain very throaty and shouty, even for grindcore. Fuck the Facts takes a little getting used to, but for longtime fans there won’t be any hang-ups with the record’s sound.
If you’re already a fan of Fuck the Facts, Desire Will Rot won’t disappoint, and it’s not a bad starting point for newcomers who want a taste of the band’s idiosyncratic grindcore. While imperfect, Desire Will Rot is worth a listen, especially if you’re the kind of grind fan who, for some arcane reason, doesn’t still have The Anthropocene Extinction on perpetual repeat.