Rhode Island’s Andrew Grant is back with another chilling chapter in The Vomit Arsonist. This one is a rather forlorn recording known as Only Red which seems to come with packaging and track titles that convey that feeling almost completely. The album begins with “Choice 7:24” as atmosphere scrapes up against metal, heading closer into the vile clutches of a machine. The title track “6:42” seems to meld horror soundtrack inspired synths in with thunderous dirges, which also convey the thunderous mechanical bellows of the frontman (truthfully, I’d love to hear a metal disc with this kind of vocal affront) as “Nothing Matters 4:55” comes into play with ghastly wails and further vocal instrumentation. Grant uses his mouth as an atmosphere, almost sounding like a mix between a man on a soapbox and a cybernetic call-to-arms. I only wish that I could make out exactly what he is saying (the distortion effect is so great that I can barely clarify his words) in order to be able to understand the concept better. I also need to add that the aforementioned is in all actuality a Hank Williams cover originally titled “It Just Don’t Matter Now.” But trust me; you wouldn’t be able to tell from the track alone. As far as lyrical content, all I was given is a rather thick Thomas Ligotti quote from The Conspiracy Against The Human Race which could basically be summed up as “everyone is a false pawn and a slave to their emotions, so you might as well just deal with it or die.” I guess I’ll have to research this guy a little more and see exactly what his life was like, and what he was on as far as drugs and prescription medications are concerned. These can be quite fundamental to the way a person thinks and behaves as they affect brain chemicals in a way that is truly not understood by science, yet claimed to be understood by science. It’s quite true that we wear a plethora of masks and hats, observing different personas and not actually discovering that which we really are. Most people do it, most aren’t aware of it and more than half of the world could probably give a fuck less about it. As long as they have that which they desire, or what makes them happy for a given amount of time, they’re content with their reality. We are a society of instant gratification, which is just a part of human life in this era. Get over it or jump off a building. But if you do, I hope someone records it. Instant gratification, as I said. Getting back to the album, “It Just Is 6:32” continues the mechanical and depressive onslaught, as “I’m Not Fine 5:13” takes us further into the misty depths of despair. There are slight twinkles amidst the chaos, but I’ll admit that Grant’s vocals are really grating on me now. “No One Can Help You 5:51” is the next track here, observing more atmosphere while making me think of the passing trains in a subway station. “Unwelcome Peace 3:55” proves to be my favorite track on the album, utilizing more horror aspects and some ghastly whispers. This is definitely more like it, as far as I’m concerned and I’d definitely prefer it over the harsh rants and raves I’ve been hearing throughout most of the disc. There are plenty of places to hear rants and raves online these days; the internet is literally chock-full of everyone bitching about everything. Its madness, simply put. Yet in all honesty, it could really be madness – people don’t sleep as well as they used to, they stare at screens all the time and are more antisocial than ever, not to mention the fact that they ingest several chemicals in the food, water and air. Think I’m joking? Newborns have been found to have been born with more industrial grade chemicals in this age than any other that has come before it. None of these chemicals are native to our genetic makeup, so there’s really no telling what they are and what they’re doing to us. So could the chemicals in my body, Grant’s body and your body be making us all literally insane? That’s for you to decipher. Nevertheless, I feel that all of this instant gratification and chemical talk goes hand in hand with the depressive madness that seems to be eliciting from such a record as this one. The disc closes with a redux of “Go Without” here entitled “Gw (Rdx) 8:00” which serves as rather lengthy finale for what is a truly horrendous and terrifying experience. The synths seem a little more eerie here than in previous tracks, and sometimes it even feels like a static scream is being uttered as the techno-laden roars of Grant continue to echo with the viciousness of massive flesh crushing mechanical gears. In the end, The Vomit Arsonist feels preachy and parallels the southern Baptist “fire and brimstone” sermon, except for the fact that Christ is nowhere to be found and instead an inferno of bloodshed and machinery seems to fill my ears with several screaming mounds of rhetoric that I really would like to understand. Perhaps he doesn’t release the lyrics for personal reasons, but the whole thing feels impersonal when I can’t understand any of it. Nevertheless, I would recommend Only Red to those of you looking for an extremely cold and ferociously virulent approach to industrial. It sometimes sounds like classic Skinny Puppet without the beat. It’s unrelenting, destructive and ultimately terrifying… but for some reason it sounds like a man screaming at a wall that doesn’t budge. But I digress and will admit that we all need our catharsis, just as I seek within my own musical outlet.
(8 Tracks, 48:00)