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Today's review is from a group I've been gushing about for a while. While Raspberry Bulbs is currently a full band, it was the solo project of He Who Crushes Teeth from Bone Awl when this album was released. Issued on both vinyl and cassette last year, this album is the first full-length release after three intense and brilliant demos. Departing from Bone Awl's sheer aggression, Nature Tries Again maintains a solid balance of fuzzy blackened punk and memorable melodies more commonly associated with more "accessible" groups in the metal genre. By no means is this a feel-good affair, but Raspberry Bulbs does a good job keeping things listenable throughout without getting too pretty and kitschy or lost in the static.
Opening things up is the insanely catchy "What It Is Between Us." This song sets the standard for the album to come with its addictive guitar riffs and its highly confrontational lyrics. The production throughout the album is dense and at times it feels as though the drums are a bit low in the mix, but it doesn't damage my personal enjoyment of this album. My personal favorite track, "Center of the Earth" displays that even the lo-fi black metal aesthetic has room for some meatier riffs. I find a lot of bands in the black punk genre either eschew bass entirely or mix it into oblivion in their albums. While the bass isn't a dominant force on this album, it's nice to know that it's there.
Raspberry Bulbs has a tradition of presenting all their releases with a black on pink color scheme. While this goes against the grim black and white standard of most black metal groups, I feel it's very appropriate for this album. The music feels very personal, so I find it fitting that the insert reads more like a DIY fanzine than an actual sleeve. I envision the band's sole member wandering into a Kinko's (R.I.P.) and printing multiple copies of his cassette inserts in the same fashion I used to go print out fliers for upcoming concerts in my hometown. It's always really exciting for me when I can tell a musician has put time and thought into every aspect of their album rather than just commissioning outsiders to finish the release after they've recorded their tracks. From what I gather, even the label that released this is run by HWCT himself, which is a pretty massive undertaking.
-Originally written (with slight alterations) for http://blackmetalandbrews.blogspot.com