'Centralia' - Car Bomb (6/10)
Often, my judgement of whether a piece of avant-garde, or experimental music is good or not relies largely on the implication of intention. In shorter words, that basically means that even if the music sounds random or jarring at first, if there is a code to crack, or at least that the things I am hearing weren't left up to chance. With that being said, may I introduce Car Bomb, a mathcore act from New York that builds their sound around random, jerky song structures. Running back to my first point, their album 'Centralia' is a work that could well have been one of brilliance, but their use of ideas passes me more as being thrown together, rather than something that was properly thought out and organized.
I acknowledge full well that mathcore is 'not by thing', and that this review is coming from someone who is more of an outsider to this sound than anything. Regardless, Car Bomb is a band that seems intent to throw as many different ideas and sounds into their relatively short album length as possible. Much of these ideas revolve to schizophrenic guitars, and harsh, throaty vocals buzzing around. Comparing them to more well-known acts, this is much like what a band like Psyopus or The Dillinger Escape Plan does, though Car Bomb's sound is arguably more eclectic. Although I cannot enjoy the dissonant, 'harsh' moments of this band too much- they sound jarring and thin to my ears- there are experiments done with the guitar that make them at the very least interesting. Guitarist Greg Kubacki is the star of this band, getting adventurous with distortion feedback, and making a host of strange sounds with his instrument by the time the album is done. Car Bomb also throws some mellow passages at the listener to break up the chaos. However brief they might be, the diversity by itself is interesting.
It is the eclectic, sporadic nature of the band that keeps the band most interesting. However, their strength is also their greatest weakness. While I enjoy the constant flow of ideas that Car Bomb keep assaulting the listener with, the actual way these ideas are structured is frankly underwhelming. A perfect example is with the few ambient post-rock moments that are scattered throughout the album. The chaos stops, and the listener is treated to some graceful atmosphere and quiet work that sounds like it is building up into something dramatic until- the same chaos again. Car Bomb almost seems too dedicated to the neverending madness that they forget to properly use a great idea when they get one. Instead of jabbing at the listener from as many angles as possible from start to finish, it would have been much more effective if 'Centralia' had featured even a few sections where they let a couple of these ideas flourish and be fully developed. Instead, what we are left with is a flurry of short, rhapsodic ideas that touch at excellence, but it never feels like any of this is organized properly.