posted on 9/2012 By:
As I begin to solidify this review, what springs to mind is "progressive grind" — this is what Murder Construct has come to represent. Oddly enough, this site's take on their self-titled debut EP has a reference to that very term in the sole lash. Color me ignorant, but how many other succeeding acts can truly claim that label: Cephalic Carnage? Pig Destroyer? Something not on Relapse? (I kid… goat bless them.)
Read Murder Construct reviews anywhere online and the phrase “grind supergroup” will likely crop up. The big names make sense, but I barely had blips on my radar for Bad Acid Trip and Watch Me Burn. If you're into SOAD 20% heavier w/ amplified theatrics or disjointed sludge-vs-shredding madness, then there you go, but I think this is the best project that bassist Caleb Schneider (BAT) and guitarist Kevin Fetus (WMB) have aligned with. All things considered, most accolades are likely due to mastermind Leon del Muerte, who first conceived this project around the turn of the 21st century, and has been developing it ever since. Well, you know… between slinging axes in first Phobia and then Intronaut, plus likely prioritizing the refreshed (re-rotted?) Exhumed these days. Add to that formula drummer Danny Walker, who also mans the kit behind a couple of those groups, and you've got a complicated situation. At least they're all based in California.
So maybe I don't call this a supergroup explicitly, but it's hardly a throwaway side project. Ironically, the first thing I noticed before hearing a note of Results were similarities to the art on the first offering from Shrinebuilder. Both feature prominent pyramidic figures in their centers and are clearly drenched in symbolism. Josh Graham's warmly-colored skeletal structure surrounded by serpents may contrast with Murder Construct's grayscale landscape littered with bones and Benjamins, though both interpret stages of the death / rebirth cycle. Only… are those levitation lines or is the Eye of Horus crying?
Moving on to the reason most folks will listen: Cattle Decapitation's Travis Ryan on lead vocals. In my Monolith of Inhumanity review, I mention his evolution, but Results is remarkably more adventurous. Ryan discovers harmonies in his improving “clean” range (if that word can even accurately apply here) that display a level of control that only comes with time and training. He starts strong on “Red All Over”, but when “Gold Digger” moves into its second half, his delivery gets rabidly maniacal, opposite a glistening, frenetic riff. When I asked Travis earlier this year about how his throat was holding up, he admitted it was difficult, especially on the road. But he's never found nor held notes this well before, so kudos for making that happen; check out “Dead Hope” or “Feign Ignorance” for further evidence (dig Schneider's low end in the latter, too).
“Compelled by Mediocrity” is nothing short of a scathing condemnation of those “born with a MacBook Pro in [their] mouth” who are “bred to be the same”. While certainly a broad swipe, it's hard not to support the attack. Here's why: Taken as a whole, grind is not my favorite brand of heavy, but interesting music is what I look for, and there's simply a certain dynamism present in luminaries. Sometimes two minutes is all that's necessary when you're actually competent, and what I enjoy about the genre is the get-in / get-out mentality, but not unlike… well… Delta blues for example, you gotta take a basic framework and color it in different ways to keep that sauce spicy.
Danny Walker is the almighty anchor. When I interviewed Leon del Muerte, a key part of our discussion was devoted to his relationship with Danny. They've been buds for years and collaborated across several projects, each with an innate understanding of the other that shines through the music they create together. Take “Mercy, Mercy” …which ain't about the fucking ecology, I can tell you that much. At 1:19, it takes an abrupt detour, skidding over loose grooves before winding back to the well-ground path, and all the while Walker adds perfect flavors to the mix.
Maybe it's the umpteen times I've been through Results, but I remember nearly all of this monstrosity, anticipate my favorite parts, and uncover subtle nuances with each spin. This is a braver and more confident album than I expected, straight down to its epic conclusion in “Resultados” — further validating the “progressive” tag, as it spends the first four minutes in experimental expansion and the last two minutes invoking the Middle East before a humble piano outro. Forget raising bars, Murder Construct grabbed it, wrapped it around your fucking skull, and nuked the place for good measure.
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