Feed Them Death Takes Death/Grind to “Negative” Extremes (Early Album Stream)
What especially stood out for me on Feed Them Death's previous release, last October's For Our Culpable Dead EP, was its unpredictable duality: what starts off as oppressive death-grind launches into eerie and abstract noise halfway through, demonstrating an unusual knack for combining sheer destructive power with chilling and alien sonic textures. Though all of the UK experimental death/grind band's albums have featured plenty of whirling riffs and anger, they've increasingly tended towards bolder, more complex integrations between that and less conventional ways to express the discontent that seethes at the core of the project. Given this trajectory, I was curious where the next full-length would land—and in Negative I have my answer: the band's new album is more disturbed, scornful, and demanding than ever before. Step into a realm of dark thoughts and chaotic gnashing now with our full premiere:
Within the confines of Negative, there is no light. Like blood squeezed from a capitulating stone, all traces of melody, joy, and humor have been bleached out: all that's left is undiluted, resentful disgust. Although the dial has been nudged a little further away from the pure, blasting death-grind of their earlier work, Feed Them Death still relies on the style to properly convey the required levels of rage and derision, and here it takes on a level of malice that's also inhuman. In fact, while listening to tracks like "Eulogic (Negative Dialektik)", which sounds like grindcore crossed with doom metal crossed with someone speed dialing an elder god, it's hard not to feel an unearthly, glowering presence behind it all.
As harsh and bleak as it is, it's also engaging: ferocious drumming lashes everything together with enough variety to make each song recognizable from rhythm alone. The disparate elements here—percussive growls, whispers, guitars, piano, and less identifiable noises—are able to exist together and retain meaning: vexing harmonies combine with atonal riffing into interesting patterns that the mind can follow, if not reckon with. There's a lot going on, after all: spidery riffs crawl across blast-beats and time signatures, never quite playing the notes one would expect, while the insidious leads they birth shudder and fade away without resolving.
With Negative, Feed Them Death's bitter and driven approach to death/grind has escalated further into swirling darkness, ever fueled by philosophy and an acute awareness of the absurdity of existence.
Project creator Void issues the following statement on Negative:
I like to think that Feed Them Death makes negative music for Anti-positivist thinkers – aimed at the disenfranchised, as in those deprived of the safety cushion of positivist logic, and willing to accept doubts in life as well as experimentalism in art.
“Negative” borrows much of its narrative from the writings of T. Adorno. Although it is not a concept album per se, it does link things together and points to a theoretical synthesis.
The album tackles the concept of the commoditization of art as seen through the prism of the effects it has on society.
“Superficialibi” is a song about how being superficial with our choices provides and alibi for keep consuming (and producing?) more of the same things all over again.
“Minima Moralia” poses the question as to whether it is still possible to live a moral life in a society where our values and sense of morality have been corrupted.
“Displeasure in Pleasure” laments our inability to perceive pleasure and joy, to the point of even feeling abused – and especially in those instances that seem to have been artificially built for our amusement.
“Eulogic (Negative Dialektik) is a play on words between Eulogy and Logic, meaning the death of logical thinking.
In “Our Cruelty to Reality (Evokism IV)” I use various excerpts of an interview to M. Foucault where among other things he said, “The universality of our knowledge has been acquired at the cost of exclusions, bans, denials, rejections, at the price of a kind of cruelty with regard to reality”.
“An Objective Tragedy” is a song about how society unwittingly regards acquiescence as a virtue and a new form of gentle modesty.
“The Underworld Unveiled” talks about the liquidation of individuality that occurs especially in those art forms that are supposed to be countercultural, such as some underground music scene.
Finally, “The Idiotic Yearning for more (Barbarism of Perfection)” links most of the above points together and talks about how we all idiotically yearn for more and more of the same things, seeking for perfection as means of positive reinforcement.
Overall, “Negative” poses one question: how did we get to a point where even something theoretically countercultural - like the underground music scene for example, has resolved the dichotomy between niche and mainstream, and went on to show the same adherence to the production / consumption paradigm of pop music?
But there are also tales of quality, both in playing music as in writing about music, and I am truly and immensely grateful to Invisible Oranges for streaming “Negative” in advance of its official release date.
Negative releases May 7th, 2021 via Brucia Records.