Fight Liar with Fire: Ripping you a new one for a good cause
Let me tell you about a project I’ve been working on for a while and why you should pay for it.
The week of November 6, 2016 was a rough one. I had to take my sick cat to be euthanized. Leonard Cohen, a personal hero, died. And an archaic electoral system allowed an incompetent con man to become president.
Feeling angry, sick, sad, and impotent, I tried to think of anything I could do in the face of the utter absurdity of this incoming kleptocracy. Perhaps it wasn’t the most creative concept, but I soon formed plans for a DIY release that would feature politically motivated songs from multiple bands and raise money for a couple of the organizations standing in opposition to this new regime. Initially, I was thinking of a split featuring three or four bands. But when I put the word out about my plans, that number soon grew and eventually landed at nine different acts.
It’s a varied assortment of tunes, including several bands that have been featured on the Toilet in the past. My own group, Nequient, contributed two tracks of metallic hardcore. Then Rhode Islanders Tovarish lower the tempo with their disturbing brand of droning, noisy doom. The Iowa-based grind/hardcore quartet Closet Witch throw down hard with three absolutely vicious songs (featuring my favorite bit of studio chatter on the album – you’ll know when you hear it). “Richardson” Richardson, a duo from my old stomping grounds in DeKalb, IL, synthesize their stripped-down setup of drum machine, bass guitar, and vocals into a hardcore punk anthem. The Portland, Maine feminist digital hardcore group Phallus Über Alles provides the most hopeful moment on the record with a folky punk song welcoming immigrants across the border. Then, Quad Cities crusties Tong Po return us to brutal territory, warning of impending nuclear devastation and looking to assign culpability for the election. Bone Machine brings an experimental, improvisational, and spooky approach to metal over the course of two haunting tracks. Nashville’s HellThrasher (featuring our best-known contributor, the former guitarist of His Hero is Gone) lets loose with three songs of blackened thrash. Finally, Those Darn Gnomes out of San Diego wrap things up with a raw, avant garde metal epic that takes its lyrics from a poem by Sylvia Plath.
If any of that intrigues you, I hope you’ll check out the record and consider donating. The album is now available for streaming and download at the Sassbologna Records Bandcamp page, and the individual bands will have physical copies for sale on CD. All proceeds from digital sales go to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, two groups actively standing up to attacks on civil rights, whether from the Trump administration or local authorities.
I put a lot of time and effort into this project, and so did a bunch of other people. Most of the bands wrote and recorded entirely new material for the occasion. While that created no end of logistical issues, it was extremely rewarding to hear those new songs gradually rolling in. Further, some of the band members went above and beyond to bring the project together. Metro from Tong Po volunteered to handle art and design. Cory from Closet Witch made the album available through his label, Sassbologna Records and took on the brunt of the PR effort.
Another person who really stepped up is a friend I’ve known since I started high school but not seen and scarcely communicated with in the past 13 years. Graham Butler, who has the dubious distinction of being my first drummer, does production work in LA these days and put out an impressive prog rock record of his own a few years ago under the name Dread Fascination. I was really happy to have him lending his ear and skill to mastering this comp.
Putting out a compilation of metal and punk songs and donating a small amount of money is not much in the face of threats that I think could genuinely threaten the long-term survival of the human race (abandoning even vague gestures at trying to stall the effects of global warming or reduce nuclear proliferation do not strike me as promising signs, for instance). Nonetheless, here we are, so give it a listen and send us some money.
Download the record and donate here.