There are some pretty weird band names out there in the world of metal and extreme music. Gay Witch Abortion almost always is the first one that comes to mind when I’m thinking about these things. That name is pretty much unstoppable and untouchable. I always found Speedwolf a strange one. Aren’t all wolves relatively speedy? Killer band, though.
Then we get to today’s entry, the sludge-doom, weirdness trio from Denton, Texas, called Terminator 2. Yep. Like the movie. I can only imagine the Abbott and Costello-style conversations that’ll go on when someone is trying to explain the band, or even let other people know it exists, and when it comes time to dropping that band name into the conversation, the looks of bewilderment. “Wait, you mean you watched ‘Terminator 2,’ not listened to it. Are you stupid?” No. Not blind. It’s a band. Never mind. I’ve already had a similar situation happen over text message about the band. The other person thought I meant the movie soundtrack. Good times.
But all band name hilarity aside, Terminator 2 are as formidable and brutal as the movie itself. Their music is heavy, muddy, and abrasive, and while there’s a playful side to what they do as well, my guess is you’re meant to walk away bruised and bloody from this collection, being sent into the world by Handmade Birds, one of the most inventive, creative labels in extreme music. Oh, and the packaging of the cassette is pretty out there, too, with the case slipped inside a laser-cut slip cover, and a section that contains the lyrics on a fucking scroll. Come on, now. A scroll. That rules.
T2 is comprised of three dudes, as noted, that being vocalist/bassist David Saylor, drummer Ben Scott, and noisemaker Rob Buttrum, and they sound like they’d be a perfect late-night addition to a fest like Roadburn, where so many people’s minds already are in outer space that having these guys come in and devastate you in your oblivion could seem both cruel and welcoming. The eight songs on “Part 1” (originally self-released last year) were perfect fodder last week when the world was crumbling on itself, and every visit I have with this thing, I discover something new and unsettling. That’s a good sign that a record is going to stick with you, and this one has.
“Revival” opens the package on an eerie note before it detonates and begins burning brightly. The track is all instrumental, and it goes deep into outer space and slips into crushing doom and cosmic zapping that sound like shots of light blazing out of control. “Hollow Earth” begins with slowly tapped drums and noise squalls that lead the way for thick bass, harsh shrieks, and sludgy gruffness that ends on somewhat of a grungy note. “Methodic and Serpentine” is the most punishing track on the record, with harsh throaty vocals and a pace and atmosphere that reminds of the glory days of Prong and Ministry. It’s cement-truck heavy. “No Teeth” is a little trickier, with histrionic guitars and some weirdness that makes me think of Suicidal Tendencies, and some of the gang shouts go down the hardcore avenue.
“Mathematics” brings back that hardcore-laced finish and mixes that with instrumental wackiness that would make Primus scratch their heads wondering what these guys are on. The melody lines are scratchy and noisy, and the bizarre presentation makes me think a little too much about formulas and integers. But I like a challenge, so that’s a good thing. “I Am God” is pulverizing and meaty, throwing down against “Methodic” for the most destructive cut on the record and making you realize these lunatics can beat the shit out of you. “Ancestralcide” is built by mucky bass, hellish shouts and screams, and overall ill intentions that spit poison in your eyes. The 12:42-long closer “Mortar and Masons” begins slowly and takes a while to get its foundation set, but once it does, it delivers tidal wave upon tidal wave of sludgy doom aimed to bury and suffocate you with force. It’s a pretty killer way to bring this off-setting, odd, metallic gem to a close.
So yeah, they’ve got a strange name that’ll make you think of the German guy who banged his maid and made a weird-looking kid, but maybe hearing this music will instead make you turn your head toward nasty doom and industrial-weighted heaviness. They have a lot lumber to unload and more than enough muscle to do so, and this first record is an undiscovered gem, at least right now. Go check out this fucker, and maybe we can get them on a bill with Gay Witch Abortion before it’s all over.
For more on the band, go here: http://terminator2band.blogspot.com/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.thrilljockey.com/thrill/Terminator-2/Terminator-2#.UUOKuRn1c98
For more on the label, go here: http://handmadebirds.com/