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Metal Mulligans: Ofghost – Audiocorpse

A lot of great metal came out this year — too much for mere mortals to catch all the good stuff. Even those who make it their business to chase down killer riffage sleep on worthy specimens sometimes. Thus, during the month of December, we will sometimes call Metal Mulligans on albums that we should’ve written about earlier, but didn’t. You can read last year’s inaugural edition here.

Over a decade of exposure to heavy metal has left me inured to its extremity. The grunts and screams that so put off the uninitiated and register as anger or rage no longer do so for me. I process In Flames as melodic, poppy music, as if a shrieking Swede were somehow comparable to Abba. Some albums retain their sense of fury. Jane Doe is still punishment, as is Vision of Disorder’s Imprint. The same applies for the first three Suffocation albums.

Ofghost‘s Audiocorpse sounds angry to these inveterate ears, very angry indeed. Cathartic too, and that mattered greatly to me in early November. My daily professional existence involves babysitting a pride of baby boomers. It seems that senescence, wealth, and outdated expertise are the clay from which arrogant adult children are formed. From this toxic brew sprung four days of white-collar hell, and without stuff like Imprint on my phone, I found myself queuing up Audiocorpse. It would’ve been strange listening to Jane Doe at the time, because I desperately want to divorce these people.

My apologies at this point to any boomers reading this piece who are not of that ilk, but also to my homies in the nursing home industry. Yours will be a tough field to till, and I won’t mind if you forget to water a certain few plants.

As for Audiocorpse, it’s a balled fist held behind your back, frustration compacted white hot, never to be unleashed. It’s like screaming in an empty room instead of screaming at the impetus. Modern metal, modern music in general really, typically has a hypercompressed mix. Audiocorpse has a brutally loud mix, everything on top of everything and turned up to ten, but it might be an artistic choice. Combined with the molten-magma guitars, it works. The riffs are drawn from death metal standards, so bits of Gateways to Annihilation or any era of Vader abound. There’s no relaxation in the guitars or drumming. Sickly wisps of piano and synthesizer hang over the pummeling, but they are disquieting rather than comforting or relaxing. The Amenta seems a reference here, consciously or unconsciously, if not an outright influence. Some humor dwells amidst the rage: “Grey Metal” and “Plug Me Out” are standout song titles, and it doesn’t get more blunt than “Life is Shit, Then You Die”.

As with my previous Metal Mulligan piece and those not yet posted, Audiocorpse is a stand-out effort worthy of notice, and could’ve made my Top 20 list. You need not be angry to enjoy Audiocorpse, but it’s the ideal mood in which to experience it.

— Richard Street-Jammer

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