Boy, where to even begin. If you’re a regular AMG reader and wondering why I’ve been reviewing the albums everyone expects to be catastrophes, it is in fact not due to my impending sacking. Rather, I’ve challenged myself to outpace the frankly worrying rate of Steel Druhm reviews for a month, and since brutal death metal is thin this time of year and we “employ” about fifteen writers who aren’t me nowadays, I have to subside on albums like Therapeutic Destruction. Nate Bohnet is apparently in another band you’ve never heard of and plays all of the instruments, sings most of the songs, and by the looks of it, did the cover art for his here debut album. And if that cover isn’t a harbinger of poor quality I honestly wouldn’t know one.
Here’s the rub; Therapeutic Destruction is obviously a very personal project, and I definitely respect Bohnet‘s determination to see all sixty minutes of it through. At the same time, it would be deeply unfair to him and all of the other bands I cover for me to call it a good album; in fact, it is an absolutely terrible one. Bohnet is a competent guitarist and harsh vocalist, but that only covers about half of the closet full of hats he furiously exchanges across the length of Therapeutic Destruction. To make things worse, when he does outsource talent, he pulls in musicians who are just as laughably deluded about their talents as he is. What this album has in spades is ambition – what it lacks is execution.
“Breaking Through the Walls” puts a scowl on your face and a squint in your eye as Bohnet rings out an arpeggio with the least appropriate guitar tone he can muster and taps a few stilted drum hits. This introduction is mercifully short, and the song quickly plays closer to his talents, riding a simple thrash beat while he rasps and riffs. Yet when his unpracticed wail makes an appearance it becomes clear that this will be a painful listen. Follow-up “The Sensation of Falling” leans pretty heavily on his singing as well, which resides somewhere down the street form acceptable.
Therapeutic Destruction barrels full-tilt into terrible choices with “The Infinite Struggle Ft. Tokey and Pete Mercer,” a song that nearly killed me from shock upon first listen. In fact I actually thought I had somehow turned on a Mizmor song until Bohnet‘s guest vocalist started rapping and it went all nu-metally. Like pretty much all other rap metal, “The Infinite Struggle” is awkward, but blissfully, it is not painfully so; in fact, I’m surprised to report it’s one of the album’s better efforts, mostly due to a measured delivery by the guests. Did I mention that this album has a list of guest spots so long that it puts the last Vulvodynia album to shame? About a dozen other vocalists drop in and out for a diverse and extremely confusing second half, featuring highlights (I use this word in a very loose sense) like Bohnet and his guest rapping and yelling over Amorphis riffs (“My Liberation Ft. Kelson James”), and some butt-rocker yarling and snorting the phrase “To become a dick” (“Silence Falls Ft. As a Vessel”).
I’m going to go ahead and gloss right over the wildly uneven production here and continue to inspect the incredible diversity of poor performances and decisions that this album has to offer. Penultimate track “Homeward Bone Ft. Micah Kutzley” not only holds the power to throw me into stitches every time I see its title, but is also rendered barely listenable since the guest’s competency in the singing department – what a surprise – only barely outpaces Bohnet‘s. Possibly the most frightening aspect of this entire mess is that predictability in quality. The songs for the most part follow very simple verse-chorus structures, so even after one of these singers blunders through a chorus and is blissfully replaced by the next tired core riff, you’re on edge waiting to suffer through the next repetition.
I wanted to not absolutely hate this album. It all seems so earnest and the ransom-note like lyric sheet sent with the promo makes it obvious that it’s a deeply personal project for Nate Bohnet. So I’ll end here by appealing to the man himself; Nate, you obviously have an immense passion for making music and seem determined to do so. This I respect. My hope going forward is that you use that passion to practice, improve, and edit. Therapeutic Destruction is as amateur as they come, but it looks like you’re a young guy with plenty of life ahead of you, and it would really be best for everyone involved if your next project displays a lot of growth. Some people are their own harshest critics – I hope for your sake that I am yours.