Oozing Wound - Whatever Forever“Tipper Gore’s worst fears incarnate. A horrifying concoction of apathy and malaise wrapped in a delectable sheet of hatred, drowned in a bath of contempt represented here by club sauce. Great for parties, ask your caterer for details.” —Zack Weil, geeter and screamees

The most insufferable of people are those that tend to take themselves too seriously. You know the type, the infinitely self-absorbed, the unjustifiably snobbish, and intolerably holier-than-thou.1 The same maxim rings true when music and art in general are concerned. Without self-reflection and the ability to look at one’s own work critically and with humor, artists are bound to fail. But taking things to the other extreme, injecting frivolous toilet buffoonery into art, reducing whimsy to a series of cheap gags, can be equally detrimental. It’s a rarity, then, for a band to find the perfect balance between these two edges, and among them Chicagoan power trio Oozing Wound stand the tallest. They indulge in a balancing act between cynicism-imbued music, cartoonish aggressiveness and a real, grim social commentary. Supported by raucous, buzzing guitars, punk-like character, and incisive wit, they make nasty concepts and everyday situations that much easier to swallow. Whatever Forever, the trio’s third release to date, finds them at their best with a freshly discovered sense of progression in their pugnacious, unrelenting approach.

While in the past their style urged the listener to instantly utter the word “thrash” — especially the frantic début Retrash — Whatever Forever shows how far removed Oozing Wound are from such simplistic categorizations. Drawing from influences that thrash itself fed upon, their music takes the fused form of a variety of ferocious styles and genres, from proto-punk and hardcore to stoner, doom metal, and even drone. Whatever Forever is thus as much Big Black’s rowdy rock and Killing Joke’s rolling, socially involved post-punk as it is Napalm Death’s politically-outspoken grindcore or D.R.I.’s muttish crossover punk. Clues that these guys play whatever feels (in)appropriate are scattered throughout the record. On “Everything Sucks, And My Life Is A Lie,” for example, the downer, melancholy lyrics are surprisingly contrasted by a passive-aggressive, but quite catchy accompaniment.

While expanding upon the basic MO of “loud fucking guitars and screaming and shit,” their signature unpolished, in-your-face attitude remains alive and well. One has to look no further than potent romps such as “Deep Space” and “Tachycardia” for proof, but these are now cut with unexpectedly long slow burners, varied in their constant delivery of manic vitriol. “Mercury in Retrograde Virus,” “Weather Tamer,” and the lead single “Diver” are tumultuous tunes, shifting with breaks through wheeling themes and start-stop sections while also serving as unashamed headbanging invitations. All in all, there’s nary a low or overwrought element here, with all the songs fitted together into a whole that, even if significantly longer than their earlier releases, feels concise and to the point.

Oozing Wound 2016

To top it all off, Oozing Wound emblazon their sonic attack with absurdist, at times outright bizarre lyrics that in reality deal with heavy themes. As if implying there really is no other answer other than laughing off even the worst of problems. On the brighter side of things, “Deep Space” marks a return to their sci-fi influenced themes that featured heavily on Retrash and acts as a tribute to the best episode of Star Trek.2 If I had to point out a minor niggle that troubles the record, it would have to be the relative lack of bite on Zack Weil’s seesawing riffs and screams, Kyle Reynolds circular, spastic drumming, and Kevin Cribbin’s distorted, wobbly bass. While it’s clear that the mastering and production values have been tuned towards a booming and warm sound to support longer songs, tracks like the searing closer “Sky Creep” made me miss the shriller, upfront mix.

When I wrote about Oozing Wound’s debut a few years back, I noted how their crude, no-nonsense music would never be cool enough to reach year-end lists. Today I say: fuck it, I won’t let that happen! Whatever Forever’s going to be on mine. This is a great album that has it all. Or, in Weil’s immortal words: “You want fast shit? We got it! You want slow shit? We got it! You want weird shit? Fuck yeah, you do.”


Rating: Great!
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Thrill Jockey
Websites: oozingwound.bandcamp.com | oozingwound.com | facebook.com/oozingwound
Releases Worldwide: October 14th, 2016

Show 2 footnotes

  1. I wonder if it takes one to know one?
  2. Can you guess which one? Can you have a fight about it in the comments?

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  • That video is like a window into the AMG offices.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      And the artwork is a picture of the AMG compound’s indoor garden.

      Edit: Wait a second…. is that HMG’s skull?

      • Ignore that!

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Nice cover art. Didn’t see that space dude at first. I’m sure I’ve seen this artist’s work before. The band’s bandcamp page isn’t much help.

        • Artist’s name is Sam Nigrosh, I’m pretty sure.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Thanks Leperkahn!

    • Roquentin

      Wait, we have offices? I didn’t get the memo.

      • Secret office, secret memo.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I guess that’s a step up from living in cages in AMG’s backyard.

        • The Zoning Board put an end to that, unfortunately.

  • Reese Burns

    This sounds like great fun. Gotta remind myself to take a listen.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    The Phantom Menace?

    • Reese Burns

      I’ll say it once and only once. That movie is underrated. Darth Maul, man.

      • Eldritch Elitist

        Star Wars The Phantom Menace was the most disappointing thing since my son.

        • Reese Burns

          Ouch man.

          • Eldritch Elitist

            Go find Red Letter Media’s Phantom Menace review on YouTube, you’ll understand in the first five seconds.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          The Phantom Edit makes it more palatable.

          • Eldritch Elitist

            I’ve been meaning to check that out. Isn’t that the one Topher Grace did where he edits all three prequel movies into one?

          • Monsterth Goatom

            No, it’s the work of Mike J. Nichols. Basically, he cleaned up a lot of stuff that made fans roll their eyes. Hence, he practically removed Jar Jar from the entire movie. It’s very well done — not hack work. This article is as good as any on the background: http://www.salon[DOTCOM]/2001/11/05/phantom_edit/.

            I’m a big fan of such edits. If you like the Phantom Edit, check out the work of Harmy. He edited episode IV to remove all the crap Lucas added in the special edition (like the Han/Jabba scene), fixed some oddities, and kept some good things from the special edition. Once again, an article on this: http://www.theatlantic[DOTCOM]/technology/archive/2014/08/the-star-wars-george-lucas-doesnt-want-you-to-see/379184/.

          • Eldritch Elitist

            Oh neat, the Despecialized Editions are great so I’ll keep the Phantom Edit in mind. Thanks for the heads up.

        • Bart the Repairman

          That moment when watching movie review on Youtube is 1000x more entertaining than the movie itself…

          Mr Plinkett is the man. I cried with laughter for HOURS.

  • Haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole thing on record yet, but they played a ton of it at Kyle’s last show a few months back, and it sounded like a huge leap forward from an already great band. TJ represent.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Huh.. That sample sounded surprisingly excellent. Like a badass grindcore track played at 0.5x speed (that’s a compliment btw). Very intrigued to check this out.

  • Ferrous Beuller

    There’s a song about Tribbles…?

    • Roquentin

      I should have foreseen this. No, it’s one of the episodes from what’s the best Star Trek series, not the second-worst.

      • Ferrous Beuller

        Now, I just KNOW you’re not talking about Deep Space Nein…

        • This made my day.

          • Roquentin

            You’re letting one of the noobs mob me. I shall speak to my union rep about this! And HR!

          • Because he amused The Provider, there shall be no punishment.

          • Ferrous Beuller

            Hear, hear.

  • Westpaceagle

    Hell yeah. These guys are sick. Earth Suck is outstanding. Expecting big things from this new record.

  • Kronos

    THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES.

    • Roquentin

      NEIN!

      • Kronos

        I BEG TO DIFFER!

  • tomasjacobi

    I love Deep Space Nine and “In the Pale Moonlight” is a great episode. Not to sure if this band is my kind of thing, though.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Mutoid Man’s back, eh?

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Wow, was that ever bad. Actually a challenge just to get through two minutes of it. It’ s my air conditioner trying to sing.

  • Treble Yell

    The embedded track is straight up Mastodon with a bit of Converge. Not really getting a Thrash vibe. Is the rest of the album like this? It’s actually a pretty good track, just not what I was expecting.

    • Roquentin

      Their style is pretty varied, but Diver is a good showcase of what they’re about, yeah.

  • Great Embedded Track Should Check them out Really Surprisingly Awesome.

  • Stuart Stratu

    I played this embedded song five times in a row then ordered the CD. And that cover is fantastic! Thanks for the review!