Posted by: Nick Walters | May 24, 2014

The Not-So Dangerous Dangers of Evil Blizzard

Evil Blizzard, yesterday. I bet they’re all accountants.

On first glance, depending on your musical mental age (mine is 14), Evil Blizzard look like either the best, or the worst, band ever to exist:  Four bassists. Song titles like Whalebomb and Slimy Creatures. Band member names like Stomper and Prowler. Slipknot-style masks. Theremins inside baby dolls’ heads. They notoriously supported The Fall and this is how I came to hear of them, from other fans on The Fall Forum. Though I didn’t get to see them, reports of their live sets sounded hair-raising and hilarious.  Something about Evil Blizzard makes me think they would be the perfect festival band, like Ozric Tentacles, and they probably make more sense live than they do on record, because – considering all of the above – this album is a disappointment.

I was expecting something akin to the Butthole Surfers at their most demented. The baby imagery they use is highly ‘Buttholian’ and the high children’s voice on the intro track ‘Here come the clowns!’ recalls the opening to Independent Worm Saloon. However, this album goes nowhere near the genius and profane glory that was the Buttholes at their best. There are cosmetic similarities but the music is far too clean and wholesome to bear comparison. What it does sound like is a strange mix of Hawkwind, The Fall and PIL. The singer’s Lydon-like vocals give the whole thing a quaint, reassuring, cosy English pub lunch malarkey feel. The music, though indeed extremely bass-heavy, is rather pedestrian and lockstep, only momentarily taking flight, content most of the time to lurk around the lower end of riffs even Beavis and Butt-Head would find boring. This can be a strength – I myself love repetition, when done well (and particularly when done  by The Fall), but here, it’s just dull.

Opening track Feed The Flames could have been recorded at any point between 1973 and now. Clones is livelier, but the album stops dead with the dull Sleep. Open Up The Red Box is the most reductive track, a pummelling ‘duh-duh-duh-duh-duh’ riff  that beats you into submission – except it doesn’t. Live, it probably would kill, but on record, it feels safe and pedestrian.

Slimy Creatures is far better, with its chugalug bassline and the singer crooning ‘Slimy creatures, ugly features!’ It’s about as threatening as a fluffy kitten, but it is great fun. The closing track, the titanic Whalebomb, is 19 minutes long, 19 minutes of the same moronic, thunderous riff being banged out with all the subtlety of a rutting Skarasen. It is brilliant and the best track here. Overall, though enjoyable, this album is far too clean and polished to merit its title. Sorry, guys! I must try to catch you live at some point, then you can beat me properly to death with your bass-mungous riffs.

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