Album Review: Love Sex Machine - 'Asexual Anger'

7 March 2016 | 11:00 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Trying really hard to headbang, when your head is in concrete.

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It only takes one look at the lyrics for the title track of ‘Asexual Anger’, the second full-length album from French merchants of doom Love Sex Machine, to quickly realise that this band aren't really down for your typical, muddy-riff fodder about wizards, peyote trips and easy riders: “human meat plates/crispy fried penis/cheese stuffed testicles/for happy hungry men/foreskin salad/scrotum pizza." And sure, this is probably lyrical mastery worthy of a Bloodhound Gang B-side, however what Love Sex Machine understand, and what you will too upon listening to this record in full, is that lyrics only mean so much when they can be surpassed by sheer, uncompromising walls of industrial deafness. Who really cares about your perceived lyrical depth, when the recipients of your sonic surgery are writhing in pain and suffering under a miasmic cloud of thick, sludgy goodness?

The short answer is no one. Love Sex Machine make the kind of heavy for heavy’s sake, drone inspired, in-your-face music that combines all the best elements of sludge, doom and post-whatever metal, to strike a comfortable balance between frightening and formidable. ‘Asexual Anger’ might be a relatively short (if not bludgeoning) record, with a mere eight tracks and just over 40 minutes in running time, but behind the twist and turns of each lumbering, gigantic riff lurks subtle and expressive nuances that allow the songs to gasp and exhale at random, like an almost subconscious trauma reflex.

Black Mountain’ sports a nice, atmospheric crescendo between some stark, mid-way tempo changes before rolling back over your corpse with Guillaume’s throbbing bass notes, the occasional melodic lead and Yves’ caustic, bowel-rupturing vocals. Stand-out track ‘Aujeszky’ performs like a chimeric Deftones-meets-Isis beast that’s somehow gorged itself into morbid obesity, and is now resigned to throwing up all over itself in pain and sadness. A sentiment that strangely seems to be foreshadowed by the album artwork and shared by Yves when he utters the line, “blood will flow for you, fat guy/consciousness is safe,” just before the music drops to a charging guitar riff and Xavier’s skins combo, that builds up the bile before wiping it away with a massive, head-bang worthy stomp. ‘Infernal Spiral’ leaps headfirst into some weighty chugs that seem to be tailor-made for destroying basement stages, and upon its swift conclusion, one of the shortest tracks on the record finds itself being the most diverse and unique of them all. Closer ‘Silent Duck’ rounds out the record with some truly monstrous, hell-fire vocals and instrumental layers that pervade and linger like an Old Man Gloom fan’s wet dream.

Playing riffs in the world of sludge and doom can be an exercise fraught with peril, namely when the greatest bands of the genre are 'great' because they forged a path that future bands of that ilk are loathe to deviate from and destined to tread into dust. Love Sex Machine might not be reinventing this wheel with ‘Asexual Anger’, but the strength of their compositions and the worthiness of repeated listens, shows that they've successfully cultivated a record that can stand the test of time AND be relentlessly entertaining. This is funeral dirge music for those who are already comfortably dead inside.

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1. Asexual Anger

2. Drone Syndrome

3. Black Mountain

4. Aujeszky

5. Devolution

6. Atrocity

7. Infernal Spiral

8. Silent Duck