Road to Ruin
(Nuclear War Now!)
Leave it to the street metal scumbags of Villains to prove what a hopeless bunch of conformist pretenders most metal dudes really are. No offense to anyone who has health insurance and can actually pay the rent with their art but I’ll never understand why bands like Wolves In The Throne Room and Liturgy are practically household names and touring the goddamn world while a band like Villains can’t finance a simple two-week West Coast tour. The ultimate irony of course is that the creeping urban despair and genuine menace that characterizes Road To Ruin is actually more relevant to the crisis of modernity and far more worthy of intellectual analysis than any self-indulgent jams about livin’ on the land (hardly a new or radical concept, “eco-fascism” was taken up by myriad 1960’s communes as well as the lesser known but no less threatening MOVE organization of the 1970’s, a true “black kvlt" whose vermin infested home was literally bombed to rubble by the City of Philadelphia in 1985…but I digress). Their third full-length proves once again that Staten Island’s meanest are also the most honest born-to-lose survivors on the margins of the so-called underground. Heed my advice: this is a headphone record. And I’m not talking about your fucking iPod. Close the curtains and get yourself a heavy duty 20ft headphone cord so you can wander around the house kicking furniture and shoes while listening (or just vacuum the carpet like your lady asked). Opener Insult Inspiration is an immediately disorienting but surprisingly melodic jaunt through mainman Desecrator’s warped mind (and believe me, it ain’t a pretty place) with subliminal voices heaping unpleasant commands and ridicule galore. Things go from bad to worse when you find yourself in the motherfuckin’ Maniac Gutter (a nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there). Narc Violence is probably my favorite track on side one but I’m a sucker for a catchy chorus (note: see Midnight “review” earlier this week). Side two rips open like a virgin with the titular ultra-violent anthem Road To Ruin, a misanthropic manifesto and high note of hatred that perfectly echoes 2009’s Lifecode of Decadence. Acid Punk (a nod to Black Uniforms?) disintegrates into pig squealing horror until The Land Hag comes galloping to our dubious rescue with NWOBHM nuances that quickly spiral into yet another ugly vortex of cum-crusted chaos. I caught nods to Sodom, Infernal Majesty and early Mayhem in the vocals and graphic design but there are probably tons of more obscure references that I’m too much of a poser to identify. Prediction: 15 years from now anyone still into metal will be namedropping Villains as an influence (how many people actually cared about Amebix or Blasphemy during their respective heydays?). Everyone will have Lino’s artwork sewn onto the back of their vests and the band's ritual names will be uttered in reverent tones reserved for metal’s true elite (as opposed to, say, whatever populist bullshit is currently sponsored by a car company or garnering the most pages on some miserable message board thread). But don’t hold your breath. If Villains is right, there won’t be any life left in 15 years. Drink and be merry, pal.