In Case You Missed It: Deth Crux — Mutant Flesh
Toilet ov Goth™
A lot of great goth records were released in 2018, and Mutant Flesh by youngsters Deth Crux was undoubtedly one of the best. Why didn’t I write about it? Well, uh…seasonal affective disorder, I guess. The record came out in December, right about the time I was beginning to wonder — apropos of absolutely nothing — if I even liked music anymore. Basically, I couldn’t be arsed to review it.
Two months later, I can finally be arsed. Although I did try my best to dislike Mutant Flesh. I might have succeeded in writing it off if not for the saxophone. Appearing on two tracks, the sax is not a primary feature of Deth Crux’s modus operandi, but its application here is certainly emblematic of their aesthetic bent.
I Am Talking About SLEAZE
Yes, each of the ten tracks on this Los Angeles death rock band’s debut drips with sleaze, from the lyrics and vocals to the distortion and the scandalously pelvic beats. Tales of paranormal sex, Satanic sacrifice, and alleyways glistening with uncouth fluids in the night are orated by a melodramatic and never-quite-in-tune baritone voice that oozes occult libido. Punkish riffs covered in gutter juice gesticulate in thrall to the voluptuous throb of the drums. Alluring synths dance atop it all, at times with hit-single catchiness, while playing coy at others. On the two tracks where the sexophone appears, “Chrome Lips” and “Yellow Sky”, the sleaze-factor pushes into pure delirium, conjuring images of vampiric bacchanals, orgiastic seances, and compulsory cannibalism.
“We kill for you, it is our pleasure.
‘Till no living thing remains.”
I was going to try to get through this without blurting the words loud guitar goth, but I just failed. Like many of their contemporaries in the ongoing goth revival, Deth Crux liberally borrows aggression from hardcore and metal traditions. That said, they never quite tumble into cloak n’ roll or wartrock or whatever the cool black metal kids are doing these days. At heart, they remain loyal to the paths first blazed by deathrock pioneers like Fields of the Nephilim and Sisters of Mercy. And yet just disloyal enough, most notably in their unabashed embrace of B-level horror, to spawn their own mutated bloodline.
“Leather gloves, red lace
Leather pants, no face.
Let the Devil in, let the Devil in, let the Devil i-hin.”
Sleaze can be a bit of a tightrope for any band to walk. It’s risky to have fun while playing dark, Satanic music and to sound like it too. Camp is never far behind. Kitsch, an ever present danger. Deth Crux avoids these pitfalls by playing with infectious conviction — by packing their maiden record from wall to wall with short, punchy goth bangers that’ll make you want to dance, fuck and kill (in an order of your choosing). Oh, and hey, they played a show at a strip club once.
“And if you’re gonna end your life
I am the knife.”
Mutant Flesh was released on December 7th, 2018, by Sentient Ruin Laboratories.