When people look back at this particular era of hardcore, metalcore and experimental music with extreme dabblings, the last few years will show bands like Couch Slut, He Whose Ox Is Gored, Ascend/Descend, Full Of Hell and perhaps even a band like South Wales’ upstarts Continents (who have had support of more mainstream labels but pushed their sound further regardless without aping Bring Me The Horizon) were some of the real standouts in quality and long run importance.
Couch Slut return with a quite anticipated sophomore release after a much debated and uncompromising first record. The first album was good in a certain raw and pure sense of purpose stage setting way, certainly with some very worthy moments. Contempt is a step up in that the band sound like they have really benefited from playing more live. There is a sort of synergy in the performances – especially the clobbering and discordant “Company Picnic With Dust Off” you hear a lot on some of the better Am Rep and Touch And Go releases by Tar, Helmet, Jesus Lizard or Today Is The Day where you know the bands were really breathing their material, living in it and running shit a lot. Who knows? Maybe Couch Slut just party and don’t need to rehearse a lot, tapping into the well of unquenchable radness from which Ronnie James Dio (who has been rumored to have not needed vocal warm-ups to ride the tiger and be master of the moon) drank from.
The mix is great and the tones compliment one another, chunky but with some room. I really like Theo Nobel’s drum sound and how it pads out the mix. The snare is driving but you feel like you are in the room with the band, despite good tones nothing feels over processed and front rager Megan’s vocal sits within but not massively above the mix, more akin to older hardcore records. It frankly sounds like a loud punch in the head in a pissed off traffic jam at times, in a good way. Contempt was recorded by Couch Slut’s Kevin Wunderlich and former member Amy Mills. It was mixed by Caley Monahan-Ward (Extra Life, Voice Coils) and mastered by James Plotkin (Leviathan, Sumac). It sounds like Plotkin knew just how much to boost everything.