CONTRITION “Broken Mortal Coil”

By Lord Randall

Sometimes I miss the days of buying albums blind because you had no choice, when often the only way you had of knowing who was in a new band was if there’d been a magazine article you stumbled across or the most reliable way, word of mouth. Looking at the lineup of Chicago’s CONTRITION, the now-familiar “current and former members of” tagline bearing such as NOVEMBERS DOOM, NACHTMYSTIUM, COBALT, YAKUZA and so forth, you almost feel set up for a fall. Can such a strange blend deliver?

Haphazard, grotty and sordid in that basest, best of ways, ‘Diluted’ is unconcerned with genre, tossing fierce Jeff Hanneman leads atop d-beat apocalypse, not letting up, not ever. ‘Amped’ lives up to its name, and one begins to see already how integral the drumwork of Garry Naples is to CONTRITION’s sound. Not in an overbearing way, mind, but remember how Dave Lombardo could seemingly morph the entire tempo of the song by changing his? That way. I’m not sure if gorillas are indigenous to Chicagoland, but if they are, Jerome Marshall has some silverback in his lineage based on the vocalizations throughout “Broken Mortal Coil”. ‘Nihilistic Right’ is rumbling, approaching an even more pissed off “Wolverine Blues”-era ENTOMBED, while ‘For Misery’ blasts burl and brawn around the room like a sonic IED.

Thus far, this is very, very much an album filled to the brim with machismo in the sense of “2: an exaggerated or exhilarating sense of power or strength”. Don’t get all gender-politics on me, that’s Merriam-Webster talking. Of course, as soon as I open my mouth, ‘Desolation Star’ arrives, an ambient piece evoking an outer space vibe that’s maybe not as “we come in peace” as once assumed. ‘Without Guilt’ brings to mind VARUKERS, the much-missed HELVIS and FISTULA in its unbridled ferocity. Oh, yeah, and there’s a NIRVANA cover at the end.

Can such a strange blend deliver? Yes. Clocking in at right around a half-hour, “Broken Mortal Coil” is not for the faint of heart.