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We Cater To Cowards

Thrill Jockey
Thrill-567 - 2023

Oozing Wound are both a subversive force in heavy music and key players in Chicago’s vibrant DIY warehouse scene. Their albums gleefully defy categorisation, delighting in contradictions and delivered with self-aware humor that sets them apart from their peers. No one is safe from their scathing gaze, not even themselves. Self-described as “a rock-band wolf in metal sheep’s clothing”, this disparity has brought accusations of the band “not taking this seriously” in the deeply serious business that is entertainment. Beneath the blunt- force of the trio’s music lies a deep-set dedication to sonic experimentalism. Catalysts of Chicago’s underground, the trio of guitarist and vocalist Zack Weil, bassist Kevin Cribbin and drummer Kyle Reynolds are champions of irreverence, experimentation and unrelenting volume. Their impact on Chicago DIY can not be overlooked: Cribbin lived in and ran legendary performance space Situations, while Reynolds’ Rotted Tooth Recordings was home to many of the scene’s essential artists. On We Cater To Cowards, Oozing Wound push their music further by turning metal into itself and with their scathing social observations they have produced an album that is devastatingly fierce and undeniably addictive.

Oozing Wound’s self-deprecating humor here reveals something surprisingly honest lurking beneath the veneer of nihilistic detachment. We Cater To Cowards' lyrics often revolve around anxiety, fear, and the terror of modern existence. Persistent intrusive thoughts are given form in “Old Sludge”s noxious eruptions of noise. “Hypnic Jerk” mirrors 2020’s incessant waves of bad news in the track’s relentless onslaught and churning groove. “Chudly” channels the feeling that you’re the last of your kind, fighting a fight that no longer exists. Just when the listener thinks they know what is coming, the band’s dark layered humor rears its head, as on “Face Without Eyes”, (beyond being a play on the Billy Idol song of a similar name) a song based on the Ray Bradbury character the Lonely One. These heavy doses of unabashed honesty are less metal and in a myriad of ways closer to TAD, early Nirvana, and the heavier elements of the late 80’s Seattle Sound.

We Cater To Cowards builds exponentially on its predecessor High Anxiety’s experiments with dynamics and unusual instrumentation. While songs start with Weil’s arrangements, they mutate in the practice space when the monstrous rhythm section of Cribbin and Reynolds forge the pieces into grotesque new shapes. From the complex rhythms of “Crypto Fash”, to the Beethhoven-inspired slabs of sound of “Total Existence Failure”, the arrangements are inventive and unexpected. Horns from longtime friends Thyme Jones and Bruce “Hesh” Lamont add depth and texture to Weil’s rippling distortion throughout, at times subtly blended into the mix only to erupt into a full skronk solo on “Old Sludge”. The complex arrangements and unexpected sounds elevate and enhance the group’s searing sonics without losing its focus.

We Cater To Cowards is the band’s most daring and devastating album; it is a refreshing and exhilarating mutation of genres forging Oozing Wounds’ own distinct path. As Weil aptly puts it: “we don’t care about propriety or the sanctity of TRVE METAL or any of that bullshit.” Thank God they don’t. For those who do care to dig a little deeper, We Cater To Cowards is a deeply rewarding pummeling good time.

Tracklist

00:00:00

  • 1 Bank Account Anxiety
  • 2 Total Existence Failure
  • 3 The Good Times (I Don't Miss 'Em)
  • 4 Hypnic Jerk
  • 5 Crypto Fash
  • 6 Between Cults
  • 7 Chudly
  • 8 Midlife Crisis Actor
  • 9 Old Sludge
  • 10 Face Without Eyes