Morality Crisis have christened their style “hard-riffing shitrock,” but that’s just a humorous blanket statement that barely begins to cover it. This Minneapolis trio cooks up a simmering cauldron of molten styles; thrash, punk, grind, doom, and stoner metal are just the start of what would be an exhausting list. While the band attacks with the heaviness of acts like Mastodon and Sleep, I still hear the unabashed rhythmic experiments of early Helmet, the snide attitudes of Big Black and the Melvins, and the aberrant psycho bass of Primus.
There are four tracks here, but it’s hard not to focus on the eponymously titled centerpiece of the release, as it’s a flawless amalgam of the band’s style, attitude, and approach. Clocking in at just over twenty-two minutes, “MASH” gives them plenty of room to stretch out and experiment, and they do just that. There are lengthy chunks where bottomless, doomy bass, thick with feedback, provides a dynamic, rhythmic backbone for bassist Jordan Koch-Engstrom’s angry bellow. He’s often joined on the mic by guitarist Pete Noteboom (an apt name) for combined vocal fireworks: aggressive growls that teeter on the edge of a death-grunt coupled with clean yet equally ticked-off shouts. Other sections seethe with rolling, churning riffs and sudden, satisfyingly jarring tempo changes. Everything is vaguely funky but still impressively heavy and mechanical, with Chris Woznicki’s diverse drum attack prevalent throughout. His beats are always precise, whether he is pounding out the heavy hand of doom or wiping the slate clean with syncopated blast beats or a country two-step from hell.
While it may sound odd, beneath all this thunderous weight and boundless experimentation there’s a really fun record. These gentlemen are obviously serious musicians, but they don’t appear to take themselves too seriously. “I went to space and bought / a bunch of useless shit” followed by a brutal verbal takedown of the state of Illinois isn’t exactly promoting the image of metal as “the Devil’s music,” but I get the impression that Morality Crisis is completely cool with that. They came to have fun, make fun of people, and rock out. And they do all that just fine.
01) Cannons Fall on Cannon Falls
04) Cowboy Song