It’s not exactly a secret that I hate you humanity and love King Apathy, so when I was presented with the opportunity to review the debut act of a band featuring Matthias S of King Apathy and ascribing to the same neo Cattle Decapitation lyrical teachings, it should come to roughly no one’s surprise that I squealed like a mildly surprised Kenword jumped at the chance to do so. This was a wish come true. I didn’t give a second thought to axioms or the faint sound of Treble Yell chuckling sinisterly in the background, I just gathered up the fruits of my wishes and ran faster than you can say “monkey’s paw.” Presume what you will, but my unsurpassed hypnotic prowess already has you trapped here, making what I have sewn yours to harvest as well. So come, yo. Reap.

Assuming your context receptors weren’t damaged by the hypnosis, you’ve likely gathered that CLEARxCUT sound a lot like King Apathy. At its core, For the Wild at Heart essentially plays like an experimental album in which the band utilized a different singer and did away with the peaceful post-metal passages almost entirely. To that end, vocalist  Sarah’s hardcore shouting goes a long way toward lending the band its own unique sonic identity, delivering every hoarse line with an audible sheen of honest disgust. However, where we’re discussing honesty I must also admit that her gravelly condemnations of society recall Thränenkind-era Groth, before his screams became more pronounced and refined, as do her frequent lapses into contemptuous diatribes, be they against our use of animals as resources (“Disgust,”) social inequality of women (“Break the Silence”) or humanity in general (For The Wild at Heart.) Songstress aside, though, more than anything CLEARxCUT consistently remind me of King Apathy‘s 2017’s split with Ancst, on which both bands applied their own signature sound to a cover of the other band; For The Wild at Heart largely embodies this concept, showcasing King Apathy scales set to Ancst hardcore hyperdrive.

While the tones and melodies may feel almost secondhand, Prince Indifference CLEARxCUT are nonetheless quite capable of crafting quality compositions of their own. Indeed, for all the familiarity to be found, there is a focused ferocity that fans may find to be fortunately foreign to the fluffier atmospheric features of King Apathy. “The Keys to the Cages,” for example, may wear the King‘s clothes, yet the dance it does whilst donning that musical garb is far more frantic and furious than anything the big brother band has ever unleashed, twisting and turning through tempos and chugs often enough to keep the listener engaged and the pervading sense of deja vu at bay.

By this point I’ve essentially exhausted my descriptive resources for this album, I’m certain of what I’ve heard but all kinds ov unsure as to how I feel about it. On the one hand, I basically got my wish for more King Apathy. Oh, it was different, and yet the same… and therein lies the beauty ov indecision. Do CLEARxCUT‘s undeniable similarities to King Apathy equate to a damning absence of creative identity, or do they instead testify to the strength of Matthias S’s own sonic signature and his ability to take his sound to (somewhat) new places? I wished for more King Apathy and essentially got just that, but with certain elements stripped away and without enough expansion upon what was already there to make ‘more’ feel like ‘new,’ is this a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare?

Either way I don’t wanna wake up, subjective-me really digs this and the part ov me that has to at least feign attempt objectivity looks at it as such: CLEARxCUT bear remarkable resemblance to King Apathy, yet at such an early stage in their adventure it would stand to reason that they would stick to the rivers and lakes that they’re used to before going and chasing waterfalls, and ultimately I consider For The Wild at Heart to be a strong and enjoyable debut, one which promises something special once the band has established and refined their own sound. There is earnest energy to every second of this album, no matter who it sounds like, and with plenty of talent and creativity at their disposal CLEARxCUT have the tools and experience necessary to start carving out a name for themselves, gaining compositional skills and growing into something greater with each passing album. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but sometimes those fuckers come trve, yo.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Catalyst Records and Lifeforce Records
Websites: clearxcut.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/clearxcut
Releases Worldwide: April 12th, 2019