Meth. remove their white belt to deliver visceral emotion on their dissonant second album Shame.

Release date: February 2, 2024 | Prosthetic Records | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

The four plus years that have passed since debut album Mother of Red Light seem to have been tumultuous for Meth., eventful and in some cases shameful. Before I delve into the worldwide pandemic and its political under and overtones, the world Meth. have been inhabiting is a much more introspective and personal one. Before the band was ‘dressed up with a fictional veneer’ but they’ve left all their vulnerabilities bare on the resulting Shame. While Mother of Red Light sounded like a 911 call – ‘help, someone has blackened my white belt and now it just holds my pants!’ – Shame has eschewed the false grind for a much more serious and visceral sound.

The seven tracks on offer vary in terms of loudness, heaviness and speed but the intensity remains constant. It’s an overwhelming barrage of human emotion, dissonant guitars and rampaging rhythms. “Compulsion” encompasses much of the feeling, even the seemingly slower parts have mysterious rumblings and chaotic spikes of feeling littered within the space, like the sound of a forest at night. Vocalist Seb Alvarez seemingly gives into ripping apart his throat, as he feels his world has caused him across the personal journey he’s been on leading up to this, fighting with addition and a bi-polar diagnosis. The result is a visceral one, he feels relatable in the purity of his wailing despite the power in which it’s delivered.

Title track “Shame” gives the clearest look into Alvarez’s feeling and mindset, while here trading uncomfortable clean vocals with the torturous shouts he gives across the rest of the album. It reads like the story of a relationship broken down, looking both outwards and inwards. Outwardly, ‘you are no flower, you are a fraud, you are no master, you are the void’ as their seeming perfection gave way to lies and a nothingness. Inwardly, ‘I am the weight of my hands, I am the knots in your voice, I am shame, I am the guilt that feeds you’ as their body feels heavy and burdened, put down by their partner causing feelings of shame and guilt which only seemed to embolden them.

“Blush” is where Meth. really start to heat up musically on the album. Alvarez’s focus on lyrics and theme allowed the rest of the band unit to delve into their influences and talents for the music. While the noise, chaos and atmospheres of their previous outfit is still there, what has been added is almost remarkable. At times it sounds like a different band entirely, harnessing the thrilling wonky death metal that I love. The quality of the band is astounding, they manage to be reaching a level of death metal feeling akin to the unbelievable sounds of Pyrrhon in what’s as much noise rock as it is metal. The atmosphere, dynamic shifts and discordance also have the feeling of recent Ken Mode albums, while that death metal sound consumes it as it crumbles into a vacuum of madness. “Cruelty” is another look into the Pyrrhon stylings as dissonant guitar melodies lay over unstable bass and breakneck blast beats. The pace drops but the complexity remains the same, the awkward metallic style stays at the forefront, sometimes giving way to blows of deep grunting before bursting back to chaos.

The genre influences have completely switched since that debut album, where the chaotic dissonance instead resembles false grind and metalcore bands such as Now, it is instead the bass rumble and guitar atmospherics typify much of what you hear, underscoring poems of Alvarez’s struggle rather than mathy chaos. On “Give In” he repeatedly screams ‘it’s brewing inside’ over a growing sonic intensity across almost 8 minutes of tension. Overwhelming tension, brings the album to a close as over eight minutes of “Blackmail” takes hold of the listener, tightening its grip until the last sinews of the album drift away. It slowly takes hold, uncomfortably building up while drifting into a last few moments of brutal noise before it begins to crescendo. At its climax a deep rumble ensues, repeated for the final 2 minutes, slowly releasing that vise grip from the start of the song and closing the album.

Shame is an evolution of a band who have looked inwards to create the most real piece of art of their young careers. While looking outwards has brought in a set of exciting new sounds, Meth. have built on their sound to create a completely new outlook on what they were already doing. The dissonance, chaos and noisy atmospheres are in place just as before but presented with a new stylistic outlook.



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