1. Smoke Cat Hair and Toe Nails
2. Harmful Situation
3. Pig Funeral
5. Upside Down
6. Vermin Prolificus
7. Goat Brothel
100 Purple, 400 Black
100 Yellow, 200 Glow in the Dark
“Some heavy metal “rock” groups extol the virtues of drugs, and kids ‘worship’ these people.” -sample leading off Vermin Prolificus, the billionth record oozing out from Fistula, who I’m now convinced are the reason why Cleveland is so goddamned dirty.
FUCK this album crushes!! UGHHHH!!
Pardon the paroxysm, but I may have just discovered a new favourite band. Until I received this album in my box I had only heard of these guys in passing, which blows me away considering how neatly they fit into my own personal taste (not to mention their sheer volume of output over the last 15-odd years. Seriously, 20 something releases since 98?? How did I miss this?! I almost feel like apologizing to the band.).
The 7 tracks on this beast, which is due out soon on To Live A Lie Records, showcase an almost absurdly relentless, over-the-top scathing brutality that will have all you doomed-out sludge junkies waking up from your nod to kick shit off shelves and throw your television through the window, then race outside to make sure it’s still in good enough shape to pawn, burn all of your other records on a spoon and smoke your liiiiiiife.
I did a little research into past works before writing this to make sure it was no fluke, and it is clear that this is their brain on drugs. Opening with nauseous grooves on the somehow appropriately-titled “Smoke, Cat Hair & Toenails”, the first tune ends with an -almost comical if it weren’t depressing as fuck- repetitive sample of a girl affirming her love of drugs over her family…it immediately solidifies its position at just barely on the dark side of the bleakness/humour line. It’s funny, but you kinda feel like an asshole for laughing.
The obvious reference is Eyehategod but these guys have a sick tightness that provides an excellent counterpoint behind their seeming raw, out of control approach that isn’t just quite the same as that intentionally sloppy swamp-punk sound. You get the sense that whereas EHG came to the party to get fucked up, Fistula got high alone at home and came to fuck someone up.
Even in the quietest moments it is an ominous listen and the sheer weight of these riffs are punishing, but when it ramps up the speed you get the sense that this is where the tightness comes from. Furious, vitriolic, often well exceeding any hardcore tag and approaching the massively thick, viscous (viscous, not vicious!) post-grind of a good Nasum groove or Nails at their most chinese-eyed. Nowhere is this fusing of the fraternal twins sludge and grind elaborated on better than the true and obvious standout track on this thing, ‘Pig Funeral’. A hateful bog of slimy, soupy riffs over tense samples and surprisingly sing-song but ultra-negative lyrics:
“fuckin’ pigs, they’re all around
they run this shit, they run this town”
They run that riff into the ground and beyond, demanding constantly lower and harder head banging until you feel subterranean. A few minutes in and it accelerates into an almost thrash/punk sound that saves you from pounding your head into the floor, but after a brief shifting through various tempos and intensities, with slightly over a minute left, they tear off into a frenzied maniacal fastgrind demolition that holds strong until the track ends.
The song ‘Sobriety’ is 51 seconds long. Don’t let that mislead you; however, as the now ubiquitous anti-State sample/intro takes up nearly half the track. Lucky us, the remaining 33 seconds are face-melting shrieked powerviolence-tinged grind that deftly renew the pace that terminated ‘Pig Funeral’ before leading into the velocity-veering ‘Upside Down’. This one may be heavy enough to throw down with the rest of the album, but it never quite builds the speed or the sub-bpm crawl of the other tracks and therefore feels a little middle of the road even though taken on its own is still pretty far above the norm.
A lot more rock n roll and probably a lot easier to listen to for people that aren’t necessarily prepared for the level of bleakness brought by the rest of the tunes. Fistula’s dualistic nature comes complete with the final two tracks, the title cut bashing you into bedrock with a dogged hypnotic repetition until the rabid ‘Goat Brothel’ rips you apart with a thrash that turns on the burners until it wrecks itself against the end of the record.
This release is ludicrously heavy and spiteful, and you owe it to yourself to suffer through the entire thing. Repeatedly.
Review by: James Harris
“How strengthening to see – or rather hear – younger converts worship at the altar of my one true Savior, rock n’ fucking roll.
Little wonder, though, with seasoned sludge veteran in the war against poseur shit Corey Bing joined by members of the AxCx Anal-egion; FISTULA’s ‘Vermin Prolificus’ mops the fucking floor with other bands’ faces.
At once fist-shakingly infectious and a dark mediation on the zombie strip-mall opiates have made of American ‘culture’, ‘VERMIN’ bites down hard on the well-worn wanking ‘grind’ ‘doom’ and ‘punk’ have become, carpet-bombing clichés with the catchiness of good, hard motherfucking rock force-fed from this surrogate brotherhood of jackhammer-wielding degenerates.
The stutter/skip of ‘Smoke Cat Hair and Toenails’ kicks into a gallop down a screaming spiral of shimmeringly ugly cascades of electric guitar; the outro’s guitar tone alone surpasses earthly worth of the price of admission to this metal-crazed sadistically beautiful sideshow.
Harrington’s vocals lead the assaulting barrage like a gin and bongwater guzzling grandson of Lemmy screeching with the freedom of a sociopath released from rehab.
But it is the Linehan brothers’ rhythm section that separates listeners’ heads from their body at the onset: Sean’s bass is a concussive , skull-macerating machine; Nate’s audible, blissful bloodthirst on drums moors and pushes the controlled detonations of this terrorist team’s deadly audio deliveries, the joyous vandalism-inducing master-strikes of the finest drummer in Boston punk.
The album’s epic instrumental closer leaves me pummeled, humbled, and immobilized in awestruck surrender to the foreknowledge that I’ll be hearing this shit in my sleep. You need to fucking hear this recording.”
(Review by Robert Williams of SIEGE)