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Acid Bath let us know that on their full-length debut, there is something afoot, something sinister stirring when it comes to how the band present themselves. From the artwork of serial killer John Wayne Gacy, the Killer Clown on the front cover, to the incredibly demented lyrics that, quite frankly, you'd have to be at least a little insane to write, to the fuzzed out distortion effects on the guitars and savagely screamed vocals mixed with effect-drowned clean vocals. The whole album exudes this feeling of unsettling wrongness and a slow creeping on of insanity. Stylistically, it's one of the first few sludge albums put out with grunge and extreme metal influences tossed into the bloody bucket that is Acid Bath's sound. This is a low-down dirty and evil album and I mean that as a compliment.
The sound of this album is very rough, muddy, and drowned in effects and distortion. The guitar tone is extremely low with a large amount of bass complimenting it. Sludge metal is a more than apt descriptor for this kind of music as the guitars have their sound as if it was melting slowly, flowing, and bleeding out all over and covering as much as it can cover. Dax Rigg's voice is also a defining characteristic of When the Kite String Pops. He alternates between mournful, ethereal, effect-drowned clean vocals and harsh hardcore barks that sometimes twist into black metal screaming. This delivery of the vocals contributes to the prevailing atmosphere of insanity and derangement as he barks forth his incredibly bizarre and disturbing lyrics with the kind of emotion that you'd imagine serial killers have when closing in for the kill. Whether calmly contemplating his derangement through singing or furiously spitting forth his mad rage, Dax puts all of his effort into this vocal delivery that makes you actually believe a madman is singing these songs to you.
Insanity seems to be the prevailing theme throughout this release as the band members play off of all sorts of things that could seriously disturb you. From the aforementioned serial killer artwork to the incredibly dark and madhouse-worthy lyrics to the one music video for Toubabo Koomi which features the band members flipping out half-naked in the swamp banging their heads and making poses in a ritualistic manner, Acid Bath seems to want you to think they're genuinely crazy. I wouldn't blame you if you believed them.
The Individual songs on the Album all fare well with their own flavor and sting. Tranquilized relies on a heavily distorted rock and roll riff to drive home the point and get heads banging. Similar fast-paced, crushing smash anthems such as Cheap Vodka and Toubabo Koomi are also incredibly mosh-able and their violent tone only enhances the rage. Other songs go on more of a trudging pace and use this to build on their atmosphere while also adding a slow drive to the song to give it this "marching through hostile swampland" feel. The Mortician's Flame and Finger Paintings of the Insane exemplify these characteristics best. The songs that stand out most on this are oddly enough the two acoustic songs. Scream of the Butterfly, despite being acoustic has a distortion effect on the guitar play to give it this disturbing feeling that will chill and unnerve you as Dax lets the creepy imagery flow forth from his mouth while a creeping bass thuds in the background as if someone's sneaking up upon you. The Bones of Baby Dolls has an extremely ethereal and otherworldly sound to it as Dax's voice is echoed and distorted to the extreme. It is a mournful song with rhythms that could only be done effectively with acoustic guitars. The warped vocals plus the sorrowful sounds of the acoustic guitars deliver this incredibly rich, yet chilling song. Both of these acoustic songs are unnerving and give plenty of emotion mixed with the already present creepiness and absurdity. The songs on this album are definite winners, succeeding to go where they seek to go.
The lyrical content of this album is easily what is the most mentally distressed thing about this album. They are outright insane. The songs cover various twisted topics from messianic delusions (Finger Paintings of the Insane) to sexual perversion and violence (Cassie Eats Cockroaches) to reality unraveling (What Color Is Death?) to a woman performing an abortion on herself (Scream of the Butterfly). This album is, to put it lightly, pretty messed up. If you like your lyrics creepy and cryptic, this will satisfy your morbid curiosities.
When the Kite String Pops is one of the nastiest, dirtiest, craziest, most savage, vicious, and mentally crooked records out there; And that's all to Acid Bath's advantage. This unique take on the genre that would eventually become sludge metal combines the aforementioned crazed lyrics with crushing guitars, violent screams, and unorthodox beats and rhythms into one monstrous, sick, twisted hellride of massive proportions. It delivers it's sound with potency and savagery and will give you an experience of bizarre terror that will resonate with you for a long, long time.
When one discusses Acid Bath, one immediately must take into account how obscure this band truly was. The fact that an entire underground following began under their name is quite an accomplishment, given this band was never signed by a recognized label or promoted by a well known figure in heavy metal like their peers. Instead they released two albums on a local label, and spent most of their career in relative obscurity. It didn't really seem until later that they gained any form of attention, though nowadays have a recieved quite a bit of worship from those who know and appreciate the style they put forth on their short and rather limited discography.
Conventional labels often quote this band as a sludge metal act, which seems pretty obvious given the band was associated with the New Orleans bands of the early to mid 90's and hailed from the state of Louisiana themselves. Yet when one experiences either one of this band's two albums, the listener isn't really reminded of Crowbar, Eyehategod, or acts a little further north in Buzzov*en. Naturally there are some similiarities, but none of the aforementioned acts sported a vocalist as pleasant as Dax Riggs, nor did any of them really focus on creating a surrealistic, almost paranormal atmosphere. Most of the time sludge metal concentrated on oppressively heavy riffs and an atmosphere of oblique depression by which no mortal man could overcome. While that is on display somewhat here, it more or less appears on the heavier sections of the songs.
Indeed, this goes beyond the label of sludge metal and really beyond anything Crowbar, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, or Grief ever really came up with. It sometimes fails to conjure up the same sense of misanthropic aggression, and in some ways this album isn't as heavy as what those bands were often up to. Instead, this merges a mixture of styles from the blues, to heavy metal, a dash of Southern rock, and some gothic influence for good measure. The end result doesn't sound like it would be too appealing, perhaps too uneven stylistically but aside from this album's somewhat inconsistent pacing most things blend well.
The album begins with one of its better songs, "The Blue," which immediately floats a doom metal riff and conjures up that genre's infamous atmospheric tone. This eventually gives way to more hardcore sections as Riggs' vocals shift from soothing calm to something more akin to Mike Williams angry shouts but with more attention to the music going on behind them. The longer songs here often display a variety of change-ups, "Dr. Suess Is Dead" and "Toubabo Kooml" all being examples, as is the more sludge oriented "Dope Fiend." The album sometimes breaks away to exemplify one particular genre, such as the crust punk vibe of "Cheap Vodka," the more bluesy "Tranquilized," or the slightly thrashy feel of "Jezebelle" of course accompanied by its psychotic and often disturbing lyrics.
Yet the best song on here is reserved for the one that leaves out the sludgey riffs almost entirely. "Scream of the Butterfly" is a more mellowed out song, in which Riggs vocals take on that calming tone, despite the fact that the lyrics he's putting forth are quite grotesque, albeit far more poetic than most bands of this caliber. The song definitely carries an artistic feel to it, something I'm not entirely sure any of this band's peers were capable of, which in itself makes it worth hearing. Virtually everything positive about this band comes out in this one song, this is the sort of ballad most mainstream metal bands of today wish they could write.
As such, "When the Kite String Pops" is a hard album to talk about. Its an album that defies conventional logic in that it doesn't adhere to boundaries. Naturally it gets clumped in with most sludge metal bands and is one of the genre's more infamous acts, yet at the same time ventures into territories no one in Crowbar or Eyehategod would have thought to try. This alone makes it something worth hearing, as it doesn't allow the confines of genre adherence to interfere with the writing process. It is not a perfect album, however, at times the songs find ways to meander despite their menancing tone and can become repetitive. Its pretty obvious Acid Bath were not truly on their game at this point, as the next recording "Paegan Terrorism Tactics" was more consistent, mature, and superior in overall quality. That shouldn't deter anyone from hearing this album, as I personally couldn't stand it when I first heard it, but I can recommend this as one of those albums that will grow on you in time.
What an amazing album!
Acid Bath's first album is probably nothing like you have heard before. It is not entirely weird, nor is it revolutionary, yet it manages to create a whole world that is original and one-of-the-kind. In fact, it's even quite different, in a way, from Acid Bath's second (and last) album, which is another incredible album.
Maybe it's only natural that Acid Bath is as unique as it is, considering the singer Dax Riggs worships David Bowie and guitarist Sammy Duet worships Satan. The two dudes' interests are contradictory, yet the these core members are close friends who has mutual fascination with death, insanity, and darkness in general. Acid Bath is fascinated with themes more than a particular musical style, and that really makes them stand out from other metal bands. They are able to have a bluesy song ("Tranquilized"), an acoustic song ("Scream of the Butterfly" and "Bones of Baby Dolls"), a sludgy song ("Cassie Eats Cockroaches" and "Dope Fiend"), all in one album, and still maintain coherence and impact.
The whole thing is just nuts. It grabs your attention, grips your mind, and will surely poisons your feelings with negativity. Start off with album cover; even if you didn't know that the painting was done by serial killer John Wayne Gacy, it looks creepy and gives you a fair warning of what is contained within. Dax Riggs is a hell of a songwriter; his words are beautifully demented and imaginative. He is also a great singer that gives so much color and dimension to the album, whereas your average metal singer would've been disposable and predictable. Sammy's distorted backing screams are more sinister than any vocal work you heard on a black metal album. Sammy and co-guitarist Mike Sanchez, along with bassist Audie Pitre, cranks out some mean riffs and grooves that sometimes compliments each other and sometimes trades off with each other. The guitars make liberal use of squeals, pick scrapings, and feedbacks - you heard these tricks before, but here, these simple sound effects are somehow spooky... for example, the opening to "The Blue" and "Dr. Seuss is Dead." Audie and drummer Jimmy Kyle provides perfect complimentary support to evil vocals and guitars. The music is carefully placed to keep it balanced - I, for example, love the first 6 tracks and the last 4 tracks, which make the album easy to listen through. On top of all this, raw but effective production, mix of musical styles (like doom, blues, thrash, and even a slight touch of industrial??), and diversity in tempo and loudness turns an album into a perverted monster.
Bottom line, it kicks fucking ass, and any reviews you read will probably not do enough justice to the album. It's a true underground legend, a classic among classics that will surely survive through the test of time. Go buy it NOW!
When you think of Louisiana, what is the first band that comes to mind? For me, and many other sludge fans it should be Acid Bath. I must say, this is truly a dark and bizarre album. Specifically, this album is musically dark, and lyrically bizarre. Though, this is a sure-fire, 100% album that should be remembered through the years, and replayed many times.
As I said in the introduction, this album is musically dark. The use of acoustics helps add that depressive, melancholic sound to the music. A great example is the introduction in 'The Bones of Babydolls'. The acoustic guitar/vocal combo is very effective, and adds a touch of sadness into the song. It goes without saying that the guitar/bass work is very strong throughout the release. It sounds like Acid Bath spent a very long time writing their music. Though, the faster songs aren't as captivating, but are awesome nonetheless. They don't have the melancholic effect, but have a nice heavy sound and give you the ability to actually headbang to Acid Bath. The drumming isn't prominent throughout every song, but where it is used, it is great. The vocals can be described as nothing less than amazing. Dax Riggs has a superb clean singing voice, and it goes along very nicely with the slow, melancholic parts. His screams, like in the track 'Jezebel', are rough and sound relentless.
Throughout the album, I found myself very interested in this band. Once the last track had completed, I knew this would be an album I'd listen to a lot more in the future. Acid Bath had added a very significant touch to sludge metal, and I'm sure this album has influenced other bands. I'd recommend you check this one out, surely this was a major highlite for the year 1994.
This is one of the most diverse albums to ever emerge from the United States. I cannot pinpoint exactly what category musically to put Acid Bath in. I hear doom and death as well as black and sludge elements. Even thrash and melodic rock emerge at some point. Lets just say that Acid Bath were ahead of their time so much that they are revered as legends only 10 years after their departure from the metal world. Dax, for starters, is a very interchangeable vocalist. His range can go from extremely melodic to as extreme as screaming can get. This Jekyl and Hyde personae works well with Sammy's blackened screams and the rest of the bands different methods and tones.
When listening to songs like 'Scream of the butterfly' and 'Bones of baby dolls' the listener can become mesmerized and lost in the overall depth of the beauty. The melodies are very ballad like and quite overwhelmingly soothing. They are what sets them apart from the very aggressive ferocity of songs like 'Cassie eats cockroaches', 'Jezebel' (which when the song breaks down, gets calm with decipherable lyrics) and 'The Blue'. Overall each song has a different individualistic stance when it comes to pace, sound and story. There are no nuances nor mundane offerings.
This is for all listeners. Whether you prefer the doom/sludge aspects or the black and death alike. Metal aficionados who appreciate new territories explored and calculatingly executed will find at least one thing they like about 'When the kite string pops'. It Usually take 2 or more releases to give this much impression for just one album. Not to mention awesome cover artwork done by sadistic madman John Wayne Gacy (an author of death as a creator of art).
I highly recommend their follow 'Pagan Terrorism Tactics' for an album equal to brilliance. Compare
Acid Bath doesn't belong to one particular style or genre. There influences are many, but they are mostly reminiscent of doom bands such as Black Sabbath. Most of their songs are mixed with slow and speedy parts. The fast parts are mostly accompanied with a harsh scream. While the slow parts are put with a softer, melodic voice. Though, it is sometimes switched around.
The riffs are pretty good, but nothing spectacular. The songs are bass driven and Dax Riggs has the perfect voice for this type of music. The only downside is that the songs start to blend together at the end. The first six songs are great. They are heavy, slow, fast, and soft, it really is the perfect combination. Jezebel, Finger Paintings of the Insane, and The Blue are among the best on the album. They lead into Scream of the Butterfly, which is the climax of the album and fan favorite. Scream of the Butterfly is a soft acoustic song which puts emphasis Dax's voice. This song is great.
Dr. Seuss is Dead follows that, this song totally kicks your ass. After this song is when the songs start to get repetitive, don't get me wrong, there is not a bad song here but its kind of annoying when songs start blending together. Bones of Baby Dolls is the second acoustic song on this CD, it is not as good as Scream of the Butterfly, but good in its own right.
There really is no reason to not get this album, a fan of any type of metal should like it, the lyrics are sometimes poetic but sometimes they are bad and just trying to sound shocking. The band mixes so many things so well, its amazing.
The long-defunct Acid Bath played a variety of sludge doom metal infused with influences from their native Louisiana roots, resulting in something of a cross between the gritty riffs of Black Sabbath, the Southern anger of contemporary groove metal bands like Pantera, and even some moderate outbursts of death metal. ‘When the Kite String Pops’ is the first of only two albums the popular outfit recorded before the death of bassist Audie Pitre from a collision with a drunk driver in 1997, when the band respectfully called it a day and frontman Dax Riggs went on to found a number of ambitious projects.
Acid Bath’s music is really more suited to the pent-up rage of moshing teenagers than self-satisfied metal nerds like myself, but the doom influence keeps this album of interest to me for the most part, even if I resent it a little for becoming overrated in the way all American bands inevitably do, in comparison to their hard-working European equivalents. Ranging frequently from violent cacophony to reflective calm several times within each song, with a couple of exceptions sticking steadfastly to each extreme, ‘When the Kite String Pops’ is a generous offering of fourteen similar-sounding songs to entertain patient listeners for just over an hour, provided they can stomach the aural assault and Dax Riggs’ deliberately violent, occasionally gruesome lyrics. Perhaps in a further bid for notoriety with the kids, the cover art is taken from a painting called ‘Pogo the Clown #15/Skull Clown #171’ by incarcerated serial killer and cannibal John Wayne Gacy. Perhaps I’m inferring too much of the band; maybe they just really liked the picture.
The style of this album varies very little throughout its extensive playing time, based primarily on simplistic, extremely down-tuned and distorted guitar riffs usually played at medium speed, with occasional outbursts into a thrash assault. The late Pitre’s bass is a key ingredient of the already bass-heavy sound, accompanying Sammy Duet and Mike Sanchez’s guitars or filling in when they’re absent, while Jimmy Kyle’s drums get plenty of time in the spotlight when the rest of the band’s backs are turned, and he gets to show off his clicky double bass pedals in performances reminiscent of Pantera’s Vinnie Paul. Riggs’ vocals are an interesting feature, equally weighted between a distinctive Southern U.S. low singing and distorted hardcore shouting, occasionally broadening his range in the softer songs. The band isn’t about skilled musicianship as much as it’s about the release of hatred and frustration at the end of the weekly grind, never making proper use of its two guitarists and clearly not paying any attention to the commercial prospects that would doubtless come their way if only they calmed down a little. The introductions and endings of a number of songs are infected with serious guitar feedback, clearly left it on purpose and adding to the generally stoned and careless attitude the band succeeds in conveying.
Doubtless angsty youths will appreciate the mindless assault of songs such as the opener ‘The Blue’ and the other speedy swear-fests such as ‘Cheap Vodka,’ ‘Jezebel’ and a couple of tracks towards the end, but these really aren’t for me. I’ve polluted myself so much with this heavy metal thing that sludge bands’ anger sounds practically contented compared to the more violent excesses of Scandinavian scene, and their attempts to shock or provoke appear fairly tame when viewed alongside the disgusting themes, album covers and lyrics of their own country’s brutal death metal. Far more interesting are the songs like ‘Tranquilized,’ which fittingly takes on a slightly slower, truly droning tone and entrances the listener for several minutes with a more modern equivalent of the Black Sabbath sound, throwing out the occasional random, squealing and pleasantly amateurish guitar solo as Riggs sings in a gruff-but-soft tone similar to bands such as Tool. The lengthy ‘Finger Paintings of the Insane’ is even better, featuring some plodding, doomy sections that sound a lot like Candlemass, and based around some very half-hearted lead melodies that play a little bit of an Egyptian theme, but then can’t be bothered. It’s cool, and Kyle’s drumming is used sparingly and ominously in the slower sections to create a great atmosphere; the only problem is the slightly muted vocal performance towards the end, which sounds like it might be rap (and there was me claiming proudly that I didn’t own any), but might just as easily be Riggs mumbling on about something or other. The listener really isn’t supposed to be paying attention by now, as whatever they’re smoking makes them more concerned with flying, or whatever those drugs make people do.
Perhaps my favourite song is oddly the biggest diversion of the whole album, the fully acoustic ‘Scream of the Butterfly.’ Clearly aiming to be this album’s ‘Planet Caravan,’ the band refrains from leaping into all-out noise despite prominent heavy percussion from Kyle that oddly doesn’t seem out of place with the laid-back bass and acoustic guitar. Riggs’ singing takes on a more traditional sound in this softer piece, sounding similar to rock bands of the time such as Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains, and it’s a really nice, almost psychedelic release that thankfully isn’t spoiled by the next song leaping back into heaviness straight away. Although it’s soon back to the normal order, ‘Dr. Seuss is Dead’ at least begins with some slow feedback and an enjoyable bit of groove metal. The penultimate ‘Bones of Baby Dolls’ is the other acoustic song on here, but a bit more forced and less refined, surrounded by the heaviest offerings of the album in the form of the energetic ‘What Colour is Death?’, annoyingly reminiscent of System of a Down in several places despite predating that ridiculously popular band, and the final ‘Cassie Eats Cockroaches’ that sees the band pour all of its remaining force into a near-death-metal attack interspersed with distorted but relevant samples from films, opening with a line from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and ending the album with Riggs’ line: ‘they suck the meat from her bones.’ Just about sums it up really.
Acid Bath is a bit of a departure from the norm for me, but an interesting piece of nineties sludge-doom all the same. Although the annoying distorted shouting reminds me unpleasantly of later youth-angst bands like Slipknot, they suit the overall fuzzy sound of this release, particularly the droning guitars, and were clearly innovative at the time. Dax Riggs went on to found Agents of Oblivion, whose name begins with ‘Ag’ and will therefore clearly pop up in my review list some time in the near future. As for Acid Bath’s second album, I don’t think I’ll bother; this is all the Pantera-esque Southern violent doom I need in my life right now.
This band is just phenomenal; I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a chaotic, speedy, murky, and depressing sound. Also, the collaboration of the manic (Hardcore) and grunge-oriented vocals, with more heavy sounds and rock approaches (But still keeping that insanity displayed by more sludge songs), constitutes a very unique sound. Indeed, this is some strange stoner rock, sludge, and doom metal.
Furthermore, there are some other very interesting and worthwhile qualities about this band. I know many don't enjoy songs for their lyrics, saying "Lyrics aren't significant for metal - or in general" - but reading this band's lyrics gives more insight to the tone of the songs and understand between the more vigorous and slower songs. Personally, I believe that it's quite strange that such a slow, depressing-toned song could be conveying a message of only something a psychopath would attempt to disperse. Yes, a lot of the lyrics are building upon one another, slowly becoming more and more demented, along with one similarity - the killing and loathing of a certain "she." Perhaps the track "Jezebel" provides more of an insight?
Moreover, if you like some catchy riffs, manic screams and shouts, slothful-grunge vocals whispering spite and death - this may be an asset for you - which you should find to find somewhat of an appreciation for, that is, if you enjoy doom and sludge metal. For those not very much acquainted with doom/sludge metal, it may be a boring and even a chore to listen to at first - but trust me - the second or third just will confound and entrap you. From experience, the more you understand about the band, the more significant everyone becomes... Some usually unnoticed qualities just animate themselves, and become so interesting.
More about the band: be warned that if you do not enjoy some influence from doomy Black Sabbath, this may not come as so wonderful for you. That being said, some may not like post-death metal vocals or hardcore - or even grunge. Slow, stoner rock songs aren't always very interesting for metalheads, but past that - there is the alternate sludge that may compensate - and root more infatuation.
On any note, I hope this gave you SOMEWHAT of an idea as to what the band is like, and what to expect. Who knows, you might be more in for than you anticipated, or completely revolted by the band as a whole. Just remember, denying the placement of the head into the asshole will ALWAYS help one when present the habit of consistent critique.
I love this album. More than PTT, thats for sure. The riffs are great, the vocals are great, and this is a band that can play and arrange well. It starts off good with The Blue, a solid song and moves right into Tranquilized and its catchy as fuck beginning riff, changing to slower tempo through most of the middle, and drones off to finish. Cheap Vodka is really just filler, and next is Finger Paintings of the Insane. This album is full of amazing shit, and this is some of it. Starting off slow, and breaking off into a strange riff, after that breaking into a very black-metalish section, with keyboards and double bass. It eventually gets back to the main riff, and ends in a swell of mumbling and feedback. Jezebel is good, with a sudden intro to break the random feedback feeling. Then Screams of the Butterfly. Quieter acoustic song, which Acid Bath is talented at pulling off and placing. It creates almost a midpoint to the album. Next, Dr. Seuss is Dead, sparked a debate between my friend and I over stoner doom and how cool it is. heh. Dope Fiend opens with almsot the same feedback as The Blue, and you're almost waiting to hear The Blue's riff...but you don't. Mediocre song at best. Next is Toubabo Koomi, their only single they made a video for if i recall. It does have a very 'pop' feeling to it, but is good enough to not be a throwaway track. God Machine begins with a few samples from movies I can't quite place, and develops the main riff gradually, until vocals enter. It starts and stops tempo-wise for the rest of the song, and ends with a strange scream and clatter. Morticians Flame includes one of the catchiest riffs on the album, played by the bass, which is more prominent on this track. What Color Is Death seems out of place, with the singer screaming GO! repeatedly. It reminds me more of nu-metal, and doesnt flow with the rest of the album. The last two songs are Acid Bath classics, meant to kick your ass and make you love the album. Bones of Baby Dolls is another slow acoustic song, much better than the previous, sporting one of the coolest solos I've heard in a while. Cassie Eats Cockroaches is a fucking awesome song, starting with a detuned note over and over along with a Clockwork Orange sample, which goes so well with the lyrics. Samples that are random make the song suck. Acid Bath is a great band for not filling the second half up with shit filler, saving one of the best for last.