Review: Love Sex Machine – Asexual Anger
Love Sex Machine’s self-titled debut album caused quite a stir in the metal community upon release in 2012. If you weren’t already curious about what they were getting at with song titles like “Killed With A Monster Cock” or “Anal On Deceased Virgin”, then listening to their music certainly would’ve sealed the deal. And that music was some of the most vile, crushing sludge to have been put on wax. What would they do for an encore?
For the uninitiated, Love Sex Machine plays a style of sludge pioneered by the likes of Iron Monkey and The Abominable Iron Sloth. Expect screamed vocals coupled with thick as molasses riffs on a mission to pound you to dust by way of slow, calculated erosion that are spewed from a corroded pipe that the Environmental Protection Agency ordered shut down years ago.
Starting with the title track, the first thirty seconds will give you a glimpse into what the band has added to their repertoire in between albums. An almost tribal drum loop comes in after some feedback quietly fades in. Hovering around is a quietly strummed riff that registers higher on the fretboard than fans of Love Sex Machine’s debut are familiar with. After the moment of calm, the monolithic steamroller of riffing that you thirst for comes crashing right in to remind you that they are still out to dispose of you through the use of heavy force. It’s those almost melodic riff accompaniments that Love Sex Machine uses throughout the album to build up to those moments when the inevitable avalanche of crud awaits you. “Black Mountain” makes great use of this tactic as both a low end riff and a melodic riff compliment each other before flipping the switch on you and letting the drums provide a prelude to the knock out blow riff that makes it all come together. Tracks like “Devolution” do this as well by turning the melodic atmospheres on and off at precisely the right moments. Closer “Silent Duck” is a doomy number that slowly stomps you into the ground with measured blows that sink you deeper beneath the earth with each successive shot. The band moves at the speed of glacial pace and is very capable of doing so while playing at the speed of slow and slower. Slow and heavy wins the race for these Frenchmen. Every song features a riff that will worm its way into your subconscious long after you’ve finished listening and will creep up on you to invite you back for another spin. These tracks do not fall into the trappings of the typical sludge/doom act, however. Songs are long enough, but they never overstay their welcome, and this shows how the band have matured in the songwriting department.
Recorded by the band themselves, the production is a shade more pristine compared to the first LP. The light coating of polish is most prevalent on the drums. It is by no means the trigger happy, annoying clicks that would cause distraction from one’s listening enjoyment, just a slight bump to provide some extra punch. The guitars sound like someone is plugging away at a thick four-foot long rubber band that is drenched in a landslide quantity of muddy guitar tone. The drums hit the crash cymbals hard when Love Sex Machine reach the climaxes they build toward in each track while the low end bass rumblings fortify the backbone of the attack. Having the misfortune of being dropped in a canyon with little to no prospects of survival is bound to make someone give it one last shot knowing that the odds are against them. And the sound of the vocals on this record is a fair representation of what it would be like to be that person. Distorted screams soaked in echoes aren’t up front in the mix, and they don’t need to be because they are acting as the fifth instrument in Love Sex Machine’s arsenal.
With Asexual Anger, Love Sex Machine have authored the slow march to one’s death by way of execution. The victim has already resigned to the fact that their demise is assured. The anxiety of not knowing when this will be over is what troubles them more. Love Sex Machine will take their sweet time slowly and methodically, agonizing you. They will wait with Zen-like patience to strike at a place and time of their choosing. The anticipation is what’s killing you; the finality of it all doesn’t seem so bad. You’re begging them to put you away, but they just won’t do it.