PHYLLOMEDUSA — Spikeballs & Monklets (CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE Vs Phyllomedusa) (review)

PHYLLOMEDUSA — Spikeballs & Monklets (CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE Vs Phyllomedusa) album cover Split · 2017 · Goregrind Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
Vim Fuego
If a frog croaks in the swamp and nobody hears it, did it really make a noise at all? The answer to this slight rephrasing of George Berkeley’s 1710 philosophical though experiment is “fuck yeah”, but the more important question is if that croak was “Spikeballs & Monklets (CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE Vs Phyllomedusa)” would anyone really want to hear it?

There’s really only one reason most people would ever attempt listening to this split shared between CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE and Phyllomedusa, and that is to hear one of the oddest covers of Blondie’s “One Way or Another” ever recorded, distorted into a weird mass of grind, sludge, and noise. That comes later, but first, the rest of the album.

Catastrophic Blunt Force Intracranial Haemorrhage Fluid Leaking from Ruptured Eardrums, or CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE is actually a far more entertaining name than the music. Their contribution to this split seems to be their first release. “Removing the Limbs of Sacrificial Bodies, Displaying the Gastrointestinal Tract from Esophagus to Anus, Hanging in the Trees, the Skin Stripped from the Heads, Lifted Above the Leaves, Blood Dripping to the Forest Floor in Praise of the Great Beelzebufo” (and I’m not writing out that fucking title again!) is a nine minute song, of sorts. It has a comedy intro about toad breeding, before descending into a formless mush of pingy snaredrums, blown out bass, and gargled vocals. Sir David Attenborough even puts in a guest appearance. It seems like the performers are not in the same time continuum, so it’s a bit chaotic. Listening to the full track is something of a feat of endurance. If you get to the end, congratulations! You haven’t actually achieved anything, but at least the racket has stopped.

Pyllomedusa’s lone amphibiphile big frog regularly burps forth frog fancying anthems of wildly varying quality and genre, depending on the species of toad he’s been licking. A majority of his releases are noise for noise’s sake. There might be instruments, or even some element of performance involved, but who can tell. At his most awe inspiring, he spawns sludge so thick and deep it would swallow Mastodons and Iron Monkeys. And in between the two, he can be a one man grindcore battering machine. “Spikeballs & Monklets” falls somewhere between sludge and grind, a stinking swampy mess unique to Phyllomedusa. It is so DIY you can almost see the bent nails and hammer marks where big frog has knocked this all together by himself.

The biggest problem with big frog’s musical output is the lack of variety. The lo-fi recording process means the first song generally sets the tone for the album, and you are going to get several versions of the same song over and over. “Coat The Globe In Toxoid Calamity (Uninjurious To Lissamphibia)” is a thunderous sludge/grind monstrosity. So is “Spikeballs And Monklets (Ephippibane)” and “Browning Of The Bottom Right”, and the next two tracks too. Unfortunately, the tempo hardly varies, the vocals are throat-shreddingly awesome, but totally indecipherable, and the guitars too indistinct for it to matter if there are even riffs involved.

But then along comes the Blondie cover. “One Way Or Another, I'm Going To Kill You” (see what he did to the title there?) is instantly transformed from kitschy New Wave schlock rock into a psychopathic sludge serenade. The bouncy, poppy main hook of the song is hung, drawn, and quartered, becoming a mechanized torture device. Debbie Harry’s laconic vocals are replaced by the gargled, grunted roar of a t-rex with a throat infection. Forget fictional monsters like Godzilla. big frog is a real, live sociopath hell bent on the destruction of mankind for the sake of the amphibians.

This ugly, noisy mess can be listened to for free, and to be honest, it needs to be that price. It was also released on CD, limited to 50 copies, but it would be an extremely dedicated grindcore collector who shelled out for it. As a whimsical mud encrusted, distortion soaked curio though, it might be worth a listen for someone with half an hour to spare and a very open mind.

https://phyllomedusa.bandcamp.com/album/spikeballs-monklets-cxbxfxixhxfxlxfxrxe-vs-phyllomedusa
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more than 2 years ago
I'll have to listen to Blondie's version too then.
Vim Fuego wrote:
more than 2 years ago
The Blondie cover is worth a listen, just for the sheer wtf? value.
more than 2 years ago
I'm already of the mind that reading your review was much more entertaining than listening to this album would be. So, I'll just be pleased that I stopped in today and read this and move on with my life.

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