Top Dead Celebrity S/T
Accidente Exotic Payday
Diesto Isle of Marauder
Like Edward Norton in Fight Club, I’ve never been in a fight. However, I assume getting punched in the face is pretty similar to listening to these three albums from Utah-based Exigent Records.
Honestly, how many good metal albums begin with faux-wind sounds? It should be a metal prerogative—warning listeners of the audio-apocalypse that cometh. Still, no amount of warning could prepare you for Top Dead Celebrity’s brutal assault. After a brooding intro, singer Jeff Anderson kicks it out with a blood-curdling scream on the aptly titled “Lucifer’s Hammer.” And the album never lets up. Between fist-pumping verses and heavy breakdown-choruses, each song on Top Dead Celebrity finds new hells to throw listeners in without sounding monotonous (a rare feat in metal). While many of their counterparts are happy with growling vocals, Anderson isn’t afraid to sing high—which makes a song about dinosaurs extra threatening (“Hey little miss dinosaur/ what do you think of my asteroid?”).
If a bunch of insane mathematicians were given access to a recording studio, the end result probably wouldn’t come close to the mania of Accidente. Part punk, part metal, part bodily fluids—Exotic Payday is a schizophrenic palate of some of the most eccentric music in Salt Lake City right now. Vocalist Peter Makowski literally spews words over Josh Asher’s complex guitar riffs, never skipping a cue during the numerous time changes. The lyrics also match Makowski’s beautifully repulsive delivery (what did he say he wants to put in my ear?). Highlights include “American Tourist,” a four-minute mini-epic that’s simultaneously menacing and frightened, and the album closer “Sexy Space Bitches”—a big eff you to metal-hating parents everywhere. Bonus points for cover art by local Sri Whipple, who accidente-ly went uncredited.
A friend once joked that a drummer makes the best metal guitarist, but listening to Diesto makes me think that there’s some truth in the put down. The Oregon band trades speed for volume to produce the most abrasive of the three Exigent releases—banging their instruments like Slipknot never went out of style. With many songs well over the seven-minute mark, the trudging distortion becomes tedious and monotonous—often taunting the listener with false ends. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer my sludge-core breakdowns under five minutes; I can’t listen to a whole album of them.