Out of the working-class chill of Windsor, Ontario, the last thing one might expect would be an extreme music outfit the likes of Fiftywatthead. Yet this unspeakably vicious metal quartet has emerged from the Canadian city, slugged on the peninsula near Detroit, to deliver a total assault on the eardrums.
Heavy as shit, deafening as hell, and lethal as all living fuck, Fiftywatthead’s Fogcutter, was released in November 2008 and has been cracking the ice ever since. Its speaker-rattling panic, deep rumbling doom, broadly-textured guitars, and maddeningly-crushing percussion all combine as one horrendous fiend, ferociously intent on destroying you and eating your relatives.
But I’m sure they’re all really nice guys…
Clocking in at just under 45 minutes with eight tracks to speak of, Fogcutter is a succinct gust of metal, sludge, doom, and all-around heaviness. The record bends distortion around each instrument and cranks the volume so that your stereo’s controls no longer matter. This is one record that will possess your speakers and break them wide open.
These songs themselves are mammoth, led by Jason Drummond’s guitars and vocals. Stacked with crusty chords, diabolical riffs, punching bass, and hammering percussion from drummer Kevin Patrick, Fiftywatthead’s Fogcutter has no mercy to show you.
The record, which is a follow up to 2004’s Rock ‘N Roll Killer, thunders from the get-go.
“White Out” stomps into being like a beast roaring to life from the sea. Guitars annihilate buildings, while the ruthless vocals call out warnings to a fleeing public. Throughout it all, the band who brags on their MySpace page that they don’t even know what an acoustic guitar looks like, throws it down with blood-spattered belligerence and solid blocks of pure sadistic volume.
The title track winds into place with a spatter of guitar turned way low. As though channelling spirits of torment, the sounds reach down and get mucky. And “Iron Clad” storms through a minute of misshapen sludge before launching into a riff-heavy echo that satisfies, without ever getting tedious.
Fiftywatthead’s mission here is to be uncompromisingly and unreasonably heavy. Fogcutter finds them pulling out all the stops on their way to the aspiration; winding down paths of little else but volume to create a loud, intense, devastating, exhausting record. At times it is very good, but sometimes their fascination with volume gets excessive and little attention is paid to much else.
Nevertheless, Fogcutter marks a remarkably ear-splitting and enticingly severe entry in the compelling world of Canadian extreme music. Fiftywatthead is certainly a band to watch…and go deaf from.