There are precious few weapons that fathers can use in the brutal and unwinnable war of parenthood, but the gods have seen fit to provide one method of quickly, if only temporarily, turning the tide in verbal skirmishes with small humans: the dad joke. Cherd hides his immense adoration for my skills when he mocks the way I lob pun grenades into the middle of serious conversations in our backchannel communications, but that’s only because he hopes his dad joke skill is up to the challenge of his avatar ascending into todd
lerhood. When I saw Rank and Vile in the bin, I couldn’t resist the beautiful play on words in the name. Just look at how “Rank” is doubly punned — genius!1 Add the fact that they hail from Portland, Oregon, that they have a deliciously fun EP, and that said EP features one of the more notorious people to emerge from my neck of the woods, and it was settled: Vile this one away under “Holdeneye!“
Redistribution of Flesh. is the debut “full-length” from the band, and in the promo materials they claim to be influenced by Rotten Sound, Magrudergrind, Entombed, Gatecreeper, Black Breath, Sunlight Studios, and the Boss HM-2 pedal itself. It’s eight tracks of exactly what you’d expect after that list of influences: short grindcore-esque songs played through a Swedeath filter. I’m generally not a grindcore or powerviolence guy, but the buzzsaw Swedeath riffs did an excellent job of pulling me close so the “killdozer.” could roll in and finish me off. Like a bunch of humans thrown into a meat grinder to form a delicious burger patty (or Pat, or Patrick), each aspect of Rank and Vile‘s sound contributes to redistribution of flesh.‘s eighteen minutes landing like a short and sweet kick to the groin.
Since I’ve already mentioned “killdozer.,” I might as well start there. Rumbling bass drives a blasty intro before the song slows down to into a groovy riff. The short hardcore breakdown encapsulating Theo Spence’s blurting of the track’s title is quality stuff, and it’s forced me to make room in my lifting playlist garage so I can park my “killdozer.” next to my “Deathhammer.” “omb.” is the album’s long epic clocking in at 3:22, and it uses a nice sample of The Donald to kick into a crusty rhythm punctuated by -core grooves. Speaking of samples, the embedded title track uses a short “tasteful” little number to kick into what is probably the best example of how Rank and Vile‘s sound comes together with its grindy, powervilency first half and its rumbling buzzsaw finish.
The production is loud but suits the music really well, and it allows Leon West’s bass work to play a central role in the proceedings. James Cox is machine-like on drums, and Matt Oien fills the short record with an astounding number of riffs, breakdowns, leads, and squeals. I generally like short albums, but I wish there was another track or two or three to put redistribution into the 20-25 minute range. As it stands, the whole thing is enjoyable but it ends when things are just getting good and can blend a bit with the constant grind/chug/death flow. When it comes to standout tracks, “redistribution of flesh.,” “killdozer.,” and “the grigori.” are ranked highest in my book.2
My love of dad jokes may have brought me to this human sausage making party, but Rank and Vile‘s approach to music is deadly serious. redistribution of flesh. is the sort of album that demands to be cranked and vialed for immediate injection, and I can think of worse ways to spend eighteen minutes — like listening to half of one of Cherd‘s beloved funeral doom songs. Anyway, I’ll leave you with one final word of profound wisdom: KILLDOZER!