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After the near flawless debut “When the Kite String Pops” gave Acid Bath a distinct name for themselves in the death, doom and stoner metal realm. “Paegan Terrorism Tactics” went above and beyond their instrumental and song writing achievements on their first album. Although the dark and disturbing subject matter and lyrical content is still strongly featured here, the overall tone and vibe seems a lot less somber and ominous. With the first track “Paegan Love Song” having almost a feel good and carefree opening riff, the aggressive and adrenaline packed vocals and guitar riff attack would make any headbanger go absolutely insane. Despite being quite underrated as a whole, Acid Bath are definitely one of the greatest, original, artsy and diverse bands in metal despite being quite short lived with only two full-length albums to be released. They use many different aspects and styles of metal at once to create their own recognizable and unique sound. Such as the acoustic ballads “New Death Sensation” and “Dead Girl” which are quite sonically captivating and enchanting but at the same time are overshadowed by the bleak and poetically disturbed lyrics.
Every member plays a crucial and singular role to the band, whether it is: Dax Riggs’s profoundly deep and dark lyrics along with his powerful and ever changing vocals, Sammy Pierre Duet’s torturous screeches and menacing guitar riffs, Audie Pitre’s threatening basslines and Jimmy Kyle’s robust and consuming drum fills. All of this is evident on the most distinguishable track on the album “Venus Blue” which sounds as though it has the potential of being recognized outside of the metal community, with a chorus that sounds larger than life joined by lyrics packed with themes of desolation, hopelessness and despair. The album covers that Acid chose on both their debut and predecessor, such as the painting by serial John Wayne Gacy on their first album, embodies the overall dark and disturbing lyrical themes portrayed by Acid Bath. The whispering mantra “Like Murder” on the grandiose and epic “Graveflower” allows the listener to enter and experience the grizzly and deviant thoughts of a disturbed mind. Furthermore, the two poems written by Dax Riggs that are featured on the album such as “New Skin” and “Ode of the Paegan” are a testimony to the twisted yet beautiful world that Acid Bath depicts.
Every single track builds up in strength and variety as the entire album progresses, therefore demonstrating “Paegan Terrorism Tactics” as Acid Bath’s ultimate masterpiece and an absolute gem in metal. While it is unmistakably influential and impressive, it is an album where it’s cult status continues to grow. Every time I listen to this exceptional album, I am constantly amazed of how Acid Bath emphasizes and executes each detail delicately and perfectly, whether it’s through the musicianship, art and lyrics. No other band in metal can better depict the southern imagery of swamps, dirt roads, pecan trees and vast forests and rivers than Acid Bath. They are band that are still sorely missed because they had a style and sound that is still unparalleled. After the truly unfortunate death of Audie Pitre, the remaining members decided to end the band, as they could no longer to continue without one’s of the band most creative driving forces.
As Dax Riggs is busy working on many folk and singer/songwriter collaborations and projects and Sammy Pierre Duet has become a constant member of the New Orleans death metal Goatwhore, it is unlikely that the group will ever reunite despite many rumours of them getting back together. Despite this, Acid Bath have obtained a legendary status and continue to be worshipped and praised by many devout and loyal headbangers. It is quite fitting to say that Acid Bath have gone in musical directions that no other metal band has gone and still stands alone to this day.
Acid Bath are one of the many bands that are hard to pinpoint to belonging to one genre. While sludge is always present in their music, so is grunge and southern metal. You could easily make a case for there being a bit of death here too. Some people say that there's a bit of black metal here but I don't hear it. Really though, in the end, it doesn't really matter what genre they are, what matters is if they're good, and yes they are.
Paegan Terrorism Tactics expands on the sounds of their debut "When The Kite String Pops", but with more focus on melody. In addition to this new focus on melody, the production is very warm and full. Not that When The Kite String Pops had poor sound quality, but it pales in comparison. The guitars roar, the soft parts are extremely atmospheric, and each instrument stands out distinctly from the rest. Also, they don't overuse stereo! Not that that's a major deal, but I've been listening to old Beatles recently and dang they loved stereo just a bit too much. Basically the album has great engineering.
Musically, the songs are all over the place. There is a reason there is such debate over what genre they are, because they do so much of everything. Some songs are fast and in your face, some are atmospheric, and some are slow and sludgy. This is a band who really have their own sound and it's hard to compare them to anyone. Sure they have sludge but they aren't Crowbar, sure they have grunge but they aren't Nirvana, sure they have stoner but they aren't Sleep. It's impossible to pinpoint. What brings them together is their dark feeling and very melodic overtones. Despite the multiple genres, the album is more focused than many bands who stick to one genre. They also occasionally get trippy like on "Graveflower". Really, it's hard to summarize anything here other than that the instrumentation is great.
The vocals are awesome. Singer Dax Riggs has both an incredibly powerful singing voice and top-tier death growls. Like with the band's genre, the vocals jump between styles often. He also never seems to overuse one style, bouncing back and forth when the music calls for it, not when he feels an urge to. His voice is also put higher in the mix than the instruments, and while I almost wish they were lower, they're still fine and I'm glad the focused on the vocals instead of something else.
Lyrically, the album is pretty dark and sinister. They are very well written, and would be great even without the spectacular vocal performance. With such an incredible performance behind it, the lyrics really feel very emotional and powerful. Death is what this album is about, and while I wouldn't call it a concept album really, the lyrics all do have that one central focus. It can be a tad annoying to listen to nothing but this one lyrical style, especially since the music around it changes so much in comparison, but the music always fits the lyrics well and the lyrics are well written so it isn't bad at all really. This is really one of the albums stronger features, its ability to perfectly match the tone of the music and tone of the lyrics.
If you like grunge, doom, sludge, death, or southern metal this album is worth a listen. If you like more than one of these, you really MUST listen to it. If nothing else, listen to "Bleed Me An Ocean", which which is probably one of my top 5 favorite songs ever. Paegan Terrorism Tactics is a masterwork on all levels.
Acid Bath are listed as Sludge/Doom metal, but they are so much more than that. Their style encapsulates elements of hardcore, thrash and death metal as well. The difference between them and many other bands that try to incorporate varied sounds is that they sound absolutely coherent. With this album (and the one preceding it) they have created a beautiful, unique dark monstrosity. The riffs run the gamut of metal sounds and emotions. Take the first song, for example. Paegan Love song begins with a rocking sludgy riff that it's almost impossible not to headbang to, seamlessly transitions to a chuggy riff, comes back to the main riff (now with variations), goes through many more tempo changes, before ending with a very doomy, drugged out riff. Almost every song is like this, except they even throw in beautiful and tragic acoustic songs. After hearing this album, one is led to wonder what happened to Sammy Duet? His music with Goatwhore is enjoyable to an extent, but this here is near perfection.
Jimmy Kyle's drumming is truly hard hitting. He adds so much to every song, rarely sticking to straightforward rhythms. Making the slow sections feel depraved and the speed frantic. You rarely hear him abusing double bass, he executes restraint when it's needed, and his fills are impressive. His tone is very pleasing. The bass drums aren't clicky and the snare is suitably sonorous. It's too bad that after this band fell apart due to so much drug abuse and the death of Audrie Pitre (their bassist), he became a born-again Christian and never recorded more music. Who knows how he would have developed?
Speaking of Audrie, I think his presence on this album answers the question I posited about Duet. He is felt behind every riff, not always following the guitar, dragging the sound into the depths of hell (or in this case, Houma,Louisiana.) In the softer songs like Graveflower, he's just as loud as the guitars, thumping away quite melodically. Many people make the mistake of stating that those insane high shrieks in certain sections were emitted by Sammy, but they were actually Audrie. Rarely have I ever heard such spite in harsh vocals.
And now we get to Dax Riggs, the centerpiece, in my opinion. Simply put, the man is a genius. He was a genius here, and he continues to be a genius to this day. Turning everything he touches into gold. His vocals go from a deceptive and soft croon, to grunge influenced inflections, to passionate higher pitched vocals, to harsh screams. His tone is quite unique too. His lyrics are some of the most genuinely dark out there too. They are twisted to an extent only reached by the likes of Pig Destroyer. They are in perfect synergy with the music. That's what makes this album so impressive, perfect synthesis of every element. It's like they either channeled the music from some great beyond or painstakingly jammed every song a million times until their fingers bled and they couldn't handle any more drugs. The way Dax delivers certain lines like ''she asked if it would hurt, I smiled and said no. The lie ran down my chin like embryo." in Dead Girl, or his repeated screams of DEVOUR in Locust Spawning sends chills down my spine every single time. But nearly every line is classic, really.
It's quite a long album, but I've never found that to be a problem. It might be annoying for people who don't enjoy having an erection for over an hour, but I'm okay with that. I'll never be dead bored with these deathless blues. Almost anything you're looking for, this can provide. You want a really agressive, murderous song? Locust Spawning. You want murder ballads? Graveflower and Dead Girl. A hypnotic beautiful song that will take you to another world if you've been hitting that bong? New Death Sensation.
I love this album. The ONLY reason I'm not giving it 100% is that I'm not always in the mood for the spoken poetry tracks (even though they're obviously very well written) and I just personally have something against perfect scores. Maybe this album could be improved, but I don't see how.
The sound of the ocean is dead, it's just the echo of the blood in your head. So listen to Paegan Terrorism Tactics instead.
Acid Bath is one of my all time favourite bands, they’re just incredible! From the lyrics, to the vocals, to the guitar and the drums, everything works amazing together. Acid Bath is not a very technical band, both their CD’s are similar, in that they use each element of music together to create a solid, dark and killer atmosphere. Entrancing you with haunting vocals, as well as screams, Acid Bath are, in my opinion, one of the top sludge/doom bands, up there with Eyehategod, Crowbar and the many others.
This CD “Paegan Terrorism Tactics” is a definite classic. The melodic sludge and doom draws you in cuts you into pieces and then puts you back together in a new form. Dax Riggs has a gift for creating some of the darkest lyrics ever, and not cheesy dark, just plain serial killer dark. He takes you on a journey through a drugged up psychopaths mind and man he does it well. Not only are his lyrics insane, his clean voice is fucking incredible and he can scream as if he were being murdered, he is relentless. Alongside him, Sammy Duet, now of Goatwhore, is able to compliment Dax’s vocals and screams with his own haunting screams. They are just as intense and just as necessary as anything inside of this haunting album. All musicians: Jimmy Kyle (drums), Mike Sanchez (guitar) and Audie Pitre (bass), are amazing, they all grew up in similar slum areas of the South, building their influence of Southern fried sludge.
Now on to the songs! The CD starts off with “Paegan Love Song,” a sure crowd pleaser. It has a very groovy and intense riff to start off the song, as well as the CD. The whole song is put together beautifully, and it is quite simple, but gives off an energetic rush. Dax screams, sings, screams, sings, as the tempos increase and decrease in a melodic manner until the slow droning breakdown that really grabs your attention. Dax’s voice shines at that part! It is a killer song, but next is one of the highlights, “Bleed Me an Ocean.” This song starts off slow and basic and Dax’s voice, once again, shines above slow sludgy music. But the song picks up and gets faster until it gets to a bridge that is nice and slow and hits you with Sammy Duet screaming in anger. It then picks up again and a very catchy riff comes out with Dax singing his ass off. Fuck that song’s amazing!
Next is “Graveflower,” a simple song with trippy and cool melodic chords. This song is one of their bigger hits. There is no screaming, just a stoner like vibe through the whole thing. It’s actually a very beautiful song and shows off Dax’s voice and the bands ability to be melodic and beautiful and still maintain their dark vibe. “Diab Soule” is next, this title is Cajun French for “Drunken Devil.” Just from this you can see how badass the song is. It really is cool starting with bass and drums that turn into a monster of sludge driven riffs, in turn, making you feel drunk, in the best of ways of course! This leads into “Locust Spawning.” This track is pure sludge and heaviness, and pretty much all screaming. This is one of my favourite tracks, its fucking badass and heavy in so many ways. The ending is superb, it trails off with Dax screaming his ass off, “DEVOUR!!!!” It makes you cringe and feel like you want to kill someone, but not actually do it, of course.
The rest of the songs are all amazing, there is nothing bad at all in this CD. “New Death Sensation” is a slow ballad, but is not a regular one. It is very hypnotic and entrancing and fuck is it beautiful in the most demented of ways. “Venus Blue” is another more commercial sounding song, but that doesn’t mean it is bad, it’s got a very depressing vibe about it and it shows off the bands ability to give off a shitload of emotion in their sound. The chorus will give you chills, it’s haunting and unforgiving, plus the song has an amazing melody. “13 Fingers” and “New Corpse” are fast, heavy and sludgy songs. They are fucking brutal and strong. They have killer hooks and riffs and the band works their ass off to prove to the listener how fucking intense and crazy they are. “13 Fingers” is one of my all time favourites. Last but not least, “Dead Girl” is a beautiful ballad that makes you feel like you’re in pitch black stuck in a graveyard. It’s got one of the most depressing vibes ever, again this band gives off a fucking unbelievable atmosphere of darkness and drug enhanced melodies.
Yes, there are two “fillers,” but I enjoy both of them. “Old Skin” and “The Beautiful Downgrade” are both poems. It is Dax reading poems in a weird voice above a very weird, industrial sounding background. I love them for their ability to add to the bizarre sounds of this album and compliment this bands beauty in darkness. The poems have some amazing lines, and if you like lyrics a lot, check them out. But they are not actual songs, so don’t get your hopes up, although, I think they’re awesome!
Anyways, this is one of my all time favourite albums, and it should be an amazing experience for anybody who actually knows and enjoys music. This is a must have! I mean that, these guys were just fucking incredible, as close to perfect as it will ever get! So check these Southern psycho’s out!
Highlights: “Bleed Me and Ocean”, “Locust Spawning”, “Venus Blue”, “13 Fingers”, “New Death Sensation” and “New Corpse”.
"Paegan Terrorism Tactics" is one of the most solid musical entities I've ever experienced. I say experienced because of the sheer gloomy aesthetics of this monstrous progressive sludge work of art.
Acid Bath takes the best aspects of 90s alternative hard rock in the vein of Soundgarden and Alice in Chains and injects their 90s alt influence with 100% metal steroids. The addictive qualities of "PTT" are akin to heroin. The vocals are quite possibly my favorite part of the brilliance which is Acid Bath: the clean, emotive strung out vocals are accentuated with a demonic hardcore antagonist which adds dimensionality superseding any alternative rock album ever in pure vocal talent alone.
Whereas "Where the Kite String Pops" featured a predominantly hardcore influenced stoner/metal amalgam, "PTT" adds a severe dosage of doom to give the overall impact a very unique mix of hardcore/sludge/doom/prog metal bliss. The guitar tone is gorgeous and the guitar playing is equally gorgeous, every riff, every chorus, every lyric, every note is perfect. I've never experienced a doom/sludge metal album near this perfect with the sole exception of some of Neurosis' output.
The vocal performances cannot be understated. Equal in perfection is the production with is as brooding as the music itself: the artwork on their albums is done by serial killers: that's kind of the fucked up feeling "PTT" will give you. This is something you have to listen to dozens upon dozens of times to truly appreciate, though contrarily it will captivate even the most casual listener upon the first listen.
Acid Bath's Paegen Terrorism Tatics is a blend of most true types of metal. It's classified as Sludge/Doom Metal which is a good interpretation, but a big Stoner influence is also shown, no doubt. In the album they go from Doomy Sabbath material all the way to a Death Metal Sludge much which sounds a lot like extreme thrash (borderline death) with a heavy punk influence (hence the Sludge). The Doomier side of Acid Bath shows melody and good songwriting skills, songs like Bleed Me an Ocean, Dead Girl, and New Death Sensation tend to stick with you long after the listening. The lyrics are dark and depressed and give off a psychotic mood throughout the whole album, and are graphic and detailed. Dax Riggs is a very able and talented vocalist and consists of the core and soul of the album, along with the rest of the band have great chemistry.
The album starts off with Paegen Love Song, a heavy sludge/doom number that chugs along with a good chorus and sets the tone of the album. From there it gets out of contol, Bleed Me an Ocean is a classic Doom song. Dark, slow, and of course depressing. Graveflower gets a shot of melody and keeps the slow pace and doom that was used on the last song. Diäb Soulé picks things way up, one of the most extreme Sludge songs on the album. It's face paced and for the first time (and not last) we hear the harsh death metal like vocals used. Locust Spawning doesn't pussy out or get any slower, it just builds on from the last song. A great fast riff drives this one, mixed with a heavy bass backing. Old Skin is odd, like poetry, and is demented. It's weird enough to make you listen every once and awhile. New Death Sensation is one of the, if not the best song on the album. It starts out acoustically with melodic vocals, it gets out the beautiful suicidal message encoded in it. The song eventually switches from it's acoustic vibe back to electric, but keeping the pace and mood. Venus Blue leaves off where New Death Sensation stopped, but gets heavier and adds more power to it. The chorus is amazing on this song too, again showing the song writing ability of Riggs. 13 Fingers and New Corpse are heavy Sludge, almost pounding the record to a close. Before it can though, the acoustic song Dead Girl shows up and just about steals the album. The song's only about seven minutes and twenty seconds but the record keeps it on until the 24:08 mark and then we hear an odd outro, like Old Skin and it ends.
This album's great for anyone that enjoys any kind of extreme metal, who knows where these guys could of been if it wasn't for Audie Pitre passing on in that car accident. Acid Bath capture a dark and dry depressed sense, and do it almost perfectly. The two inserts (Old Skin and The Untitled Track) are really not needed but are unique in their own way, and are good for a novelty every now and then. If you like true extreme metal, then Acid Bath probably will do something for you.
As with many bands I listen to, one of Acid Bath's songs passed me by on a web radio station and it was unique enough to grab my attention immediately. I was really surprised that I'd never heard of the band before, although their unfortunate break-up might have something to do with it.
I see several terms bandied about when people are trying to describe the band's sound. Sludge, 70's rock, Sabbath-influenced, stoner, doom...you could make a case for all of them. I'd say they have a definite grunge influence as well. Their singer would make an ideal grunge vocalist, but don't go running away just yet if you hate Nirvana. His voice is very tough to describe, but it's absolutely amazing and perfectly suits the atmosphere of the band (which I'll get to in a minute). He screams as well and does it quite skillfully. The guitar riffs are murky but discernable and remind me a lot of Black Sabbath, especially the one at the end of "Diäb Soulé".
Acid Bath create an atmosphere that's fairly unique in metal. Instead of another jaunt the land of elves and battle, we're treated to a truly bizarre and macabre journey into the dark underbelly of the American dream. (I probably stole that phrase from Hunter S. Thompson or somebody, but oh well) This album seems to live in a world of serial killers, late-night TV, and chemically-induced stupor. The lyrics are very disturbing, but not in a "break out the medical textbook" or "let's watch a slasher movie" way like a lot of metal bands. They seem geniunely committed to living the twisted thoughts of a serial killer like the one who designed their debut album cover. It's a very interesting approach.
The album comes to a head with the amazing "Dead Girl", which is simple song with just vocals and an acoustic guitar. This puts the morbid lyrics and powerful emotions of the album on full display. This is the stand-out track from the album, but the album is high-quality throughout. If I had to pick a few favorite songs I'd choose "Venus Blue", "Diäb Soulé", and "Graveflower". "New Corpse" is so raw it begins to sound like a black metal song.
It's tough to say "If you like styles or bands x, y, or z, then buy this album" because this band is so unique. If anything in this review sounded appealing to you, then I'd recommend picking it up. It's a travesty that this band isn't better known and that they're not making music any more, but hopefully a new generation of fans can enjoy them.