When it comes to most things, though particularly with music, I have a great appreciation for that which is epic, that which is deliberately encompassing, that which is and carefully designed. Of course, there is also something to be said for that which is a little more straight to the point; that which is short but sweet. Clocking in at just under ten minutes, Skinny Lizard by Providence, Rhode Island’s Savage Blind God—released this last September on Funeral Party Records—is one such release reflecting this “short but sweet” sentiment, even if sonically it isn’t particularly the latter in its more traditional sense.
This short tape is comprised of five mid-tempo, unapologetic, grimy, post-punk-tainted deathrock songs played by musicians that have probably listened to a fair amount of D.C. hardcore in their lives. Most notably with “The Skinny’s Baptism” and “Salting Thee,” Savage Blind God do a great job of creating the sort of disquieting eeriness one would expect from anything remotely post-punk and deathrock, but they also present the listener with an element of hardcore punk to drive the whole of it along. It is this cohesive aggression that noticeably sets this band apart from a lot of other contemporary projects attempting to create dark music that is heavily influenced by goth bands from the eighties. It also doesn’t hurt that their guitars occasionally create uncomfortable sounds like those you’d expect to hear coming from alien spacecrafts invading Earth, all while their vocalist sounds a bit like a slowed down, lower-pitched version of Nick Blinko (though his voice is still distinctly his own) as he steadily half-sings/half-shouts with a gravelly air of tormented belligerence through each track. Furthermore, I also enjoyed that they did a cover of Blue Öyster Cult’s “This Ain’t the Summer of Love,” though made it their own by making no attempt to change their musical style or vocals and renaming it “The Night We Ride” (per part of the original lyrics).
If any of the aforementioned descriptions are things you enjoy, I would suggest taking the ten minutes out of your day that is required to listen to Skinny Lizard. While I have no qualms with the resurgence of interest in deathrock and post-punk and don’t wish to see that enthusiasm fizzle out any time soon, there is still a lot of it to sort through and, inevitably, there’s a fair amount of disappointment in the cull. Fortunately, Savage Blind God’s more aggressive take on this musical trend is a refreshing one indeed, and I look forward to hopefully hearing more from them in the future.
01) Barking Hymns
02) The Skinny’s Baptism
03) The Night We Ride
04) Salting Thee
05) Reptilian Rite in Immortal Night