"Dead End Town"

By Dr. Abner Mality

ASBESTOS WORKER is the most aptly named act I've run into in a while. That's because Josh Stever, the dude behind this one-man band, actually IS an asbestos worker. He's a working class guy from St. Paul, MN who has come up with a sludgy, catchy kind of noisy rock that is utterly in your face and often funny as hell.

This is pretty simple stuff. Stever plays everything on the record and admits he uses the music as therapy. And man, he needs a lot of therapy. "Dead End Town" is dedicated to his home town and as a guy from a decaying Midwest metropolis, I can relate. It's packed with 11 short tunes based on really elemental and groovy riffs, with no lead guitar or unnecessary frills. As for Stever's vocals, he sounds like a Neanderthal that just got thawed out of an ice block crossed with a guy doing a life sentence in the pokey. His super gruff but not death metal vocals are just as often spoken as "sung" and are the perfect method to convey the super blunt and often extremely negative lyrics. Something about this guy's approach makes me grin. "Defeatist" talks about what it's like to be a modern day internet troll, "Let's Take This Outside" tells the story of his confrontation with a very angry co-worker, "The Definition of Asshole Is A Picture of You" is a bitch slap to alt-right goons like the Proud Boys and "Resting Bitch Face" finds Josh talking about his own ugly mug, which I got a pretty good look at in the PR material. It's harsh but somehow his complete lack of pretension makes these songs appealing.

It does get pretty monolithic, with a lot of songs sounding kind of the same, but the album really flies by. It's like a really sludgy, working man's version of CLUTCH with overtones of KILLDOZER and HELMET. I'd say this is a lot of fun and if you see it, pick it up.