“Where’s the money? Where’s the fame? I was told by now they’d know my name.” So begins the angry opening salvo of “Playing Poor”, the lead track of “Gold”, the remarkable new LP from Atlanta, GA power trio WHORES. Sarcastic and apathetic in equal measure, madman mouthpiece Christian Lembach’s ageless paean to the trappings of stardom hits a nerve (show business IS a hideous bitch goddess), especially attached as it is to this runaway train of Mudhoney-esque grunge mayhem. Remember when music could be this gloriously pissed off without descending into full on church burning black or death metal? WHORES does, and they’re more than happy to pound the concept back into your brain for you.
Lembach’s lyrical vitriol and glass fed rasp may be the main selling points here, but the super fuzzed (pun intended) out, Melvins on steroids approach reaches full speed thanks to the equally excellent contributions of his co-conspirators Casey Maxwell and Donnie Adkinson, forming a tight unit primed for destruction. WHORES’ previous EPs “Ruiner” and “Clean” were great, but failed to capture the sonic sludge tsunami of their live performances. This record, their first full length, distills that essence perfectly, with excellent production keeping the powerful, disparate elements of the assault un-muddled, especially in headphones. “Gold” sounds like something I should’ve had on a tape in middle school, in the best way possible.
It’s not all late 80’s/early 90’s worship though, the rollicking, Kiss aping riff that sets off two minute party starter “Charlie Chaplin Routine” being just one of this release’s many left field pleasant surprises, blasting into a doom breakdown that would make Tony Iommi jealous. An almost upbeat musical accompaniment powers “Of Course You Do”, lending even deeper credence to Lembach’s sinister tirades, the unease bubbling under the surface until it explodes into the pounding chorus. “Mental Illness As Mating Ritual” delivers the record’s most cleverly cynical sentiments alongside it’s most foot stomping jam, and “I Have A Prepared Statement” slams the door shut with one final sludgy, epic ordeal to endure. The whole thing just fucking kills, and make me proud to be a fan of aggressive music in 2016.
90’s nostalgia, alternative and grunge revivals, and noise rock bands in general are a dime a dozen nowadays, but Christian Lembach’s attitude, that glorious, fist pumping, righteous “fuck you” indignation, permeates this entire endeavor and keeps WHORES a cut above. With ‘Gold”, WHORES have created a timeless nihilistic masterpiece for the ages.