Mangled Whore Flesh – She Died Like The Whore She Was

Ugh. I’d say a solid 99% of the people reading this review can move right along from this. Mangled Whore Flesh could easily be the dictionary definition of ‘musical train wreck’ (though I mean that in the best way possible). Above and beyond merely being awful in traditional ways, this one-man project somehow invents new standards of quality to destroy with every track on ‘She Died Like The Whore She Was’. There are no redeeming factors to this music, even among those who would interpret such a statement as overwhelmingly positive.

So why can’t I slam this sort of thing?

I was first made aware of Mangled Whore Flesh through its connection to another southern death metal group, Meathole Infection. After a brief period of correspondance, Jeremy Hambrick was kind enough to send me the two Mangled Whore Flesh CDr LPs that were released October 2006 (all Mangled Whore Flesh releases are given away for free). The packaging was suitably bizarre: the albums were placed in a rather large package along with dozens of small photos of crime scenes and murder victims, each emblazoned with the Mangled Whore Flesh logo. After giving the CD a listen, I was beset with an association with Intestinal Disgorge: not in sound (though the noisiness of each artist fits logically), but instead within the gleeful disregard for anything approaching ‘good’ that these bands have.

Let me give you a rough diagram of a Mangled Whore Flesh song. Roughly one to two minutes long, ranging from around three to five very basic riffs. Alternating vocals between slimy growls and distorted, throat-searing screams, frequently double-tracked over one another. A drum machine which seems to have been recorded manually (i.e., not quantized; only the barest sense of rhythm is here) plays fairly typical rock beats or blasting sections, but with a bizarre accompaniment of low toms designed to accent the guitar riffs, resulting in awkward, cascading rolls spinning around every song. Production is understandably poor: like many southern death/grind groups these days, the guitar is recorded digitally, which gives it a deeply synthetic and sterile tone, and the high vocals rip through low-priced mikes like a rapist’s knife through his unfortunate victim.

The music seems very tenuously held together: instruments fall in and out of rhythm constantly, blurring together in their bizarre construction, as if Morbid Angel had been horribly drunk while recording ‘Blessed Are The Sick’. The album as a whole is far, far longer than it needs to be, and gets its point across (though what point that may be is rather mysterious indeed; most likely something mysoginystic) within the first half of the record. And yet, there is passion here. There is an unwillingness to compromise, a love of the music, an utter surrender to excess and indulgence rarely seen in a musical community rapidly becoming more and more obsessed with professionalism over honesty in performance.

Where Mangled Whore Flesh succeeds is within this ridiculous excess. The most distinctive parts of ‘She Died Like The Whore She Was’ are on tracks like ‘Urophile’ and ‘Sodomy Assault’, where the music devolves into an animalistic frenzy of destruction, where the riffs become even less coherent, the drum programming even more perverse, and the vocals even more hateful. It’s times like these where Mangled Whore Flesh perfects the atmosphere they aim for: that of total loss of control, of absolute, irrational violence against the world.

In all honesty, the propensity for someone to enjoy this on its own terms is very low. However, those willing to look at it as some sort of monument to anti-art might be more interested; either way, the albums are free, so you have nothing to lose. Hats off to Hambrick for creating an album that is at once the only thing I want to listen to and also something I never want to hear again.

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~ by noktorn on February 2, 2007.

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