Sunday January 21st 2018

Armpits – “Sweat Stains”


Armpits – “Sweat Stains”


Armpits stink. Naw, I’m not talking about this band. Just in general, but that’s where the pheromones arise from.

Back in caveman time, or even back in the late sixties, male and females had long hair and looked alike. So the smell was what differentiated, what was attracting to us or not, to do the wild thing.


Armpits – “Sweat Stains”
Wild Thing


Lots of parts of the (female) body smell but I don’t find that much of a deterrent. I like all parts. Except, of course, the elbows.

And nor should you be deterred, at least musically, when it comes to this band. That has the natural, unprotected, ticklish name of Armpits with an album named, “Sweat Stains.”

Their tag “black metal” put me off as that term conjures a rather arid, aroma to me- but their other tags- punk, crust, d-beat, grind, grindcore- all leave me with an expression as if I was smelling, sweet smelling roses. Or maybe, more precisely, Mexican food.

I think this band fits in nicely with the current crop of Boston grindcore or power violence bands that straddle the fine line of metal and hardcore with their brutal, sharp songs. Moving dexterously along with an honest, truth-telling punk attitude.

And though they play a rough, ominous style of music their lyrics, when they’re not commentating on societal ills, are not afraid to be funny or show a lust for alcohol and marijuana.

While I notify, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, (who looks like a chicken and surely, has the brain of such animal), of these facts- let’s listen to some sweat well spent:

“Spare No Expense” starts off with what sounds like an old subway train screeching against the tracks, grinding against the third rail. Once the rolling drums lead us in we’re met with a minor key, headbangin’ riff that growls along menacingly, until all hell breaks loose with the energy and excitement accelerating. “Power has gone out, road flares are lit. Forget these little kids, I have to take a shit. Chaos in the night, this stall seems safe and sound. Eaten off the toilet with your dockers on the ground.” This song bashes and crashes will a full frontal assault of extreme sound and volume with vocals that exhort and spew rage and frustration. Some powerfully, great, potent stuff right here.

After a brutal, three chord intro, “Beer Run,” really erupts when the vocals come in. “Friday night out of beer, closing time is drawing near. Grab my keys, I’m out the door. Running to the liquor store.” So starts this quaint tale of moral existentialism. “Oh sweet nectar, all I think. Praying for one last drink. Closing time is on the brink, for all brethren- one last drink!” This song does not have a happy ending but does have one pure, locomotion of sound and fury and guts and deserves a round on the house.

After a slow but slashing intro, “Purple Reign,” led by a barrage of rhythm, moves into grindcore land with bashing drums trying to keep up with the trilling rhythm of the guitars and bass. This song addresses the true “drug war.” “You don’t have to stick a needle in your arm, the doctors in America are doing all the harm. Big pharma says the pills are all safe and you’ll never get addicted…money is the problem when it gets you all you need, puts the safety of Americans behind the corporate greed, it starts in school when the kids succumb to any injury, medical heroin brings them to their need.” The rhythm switches from a “one hit to the beat” to an exciting, all barriers smashed and broken, hardcore thrash. Adding vocals that are growling somewhere between black and death and guitars short-circuiting in grunge/fuzz splendor. “And if it’s you, never be ashamed. The ones who curse you are to blame.” Great line there- yes, the politicians have sacrificed your health for greed. Great song, my favorite on the album.

“Lunch Break,” breaks out with a moderate rockin’ beat and fuzzing guitar until a bellowing “Fuck You,” rips a hole in the side of the universe. “Fuck you, I’m on my lunch break. I don’t care about the classes your kids take. I just want to be left alone, with my ham sandwich- mustard, cheese and bologna.” This song grooves and grinds with distorted Sabbath like chords and black metal venomous vocals. Near the end the pit explodes for a short time. Then- “Fuck it, I’m out.”

The daily toil of life has pain even if there’s no smell, has blood even if it doesn’t stain. It’s made antiseptic, it’s wiped free of germs, of living. Has no human feeling, no pulse or sense of being. While people feel it’s normal to move about as robots- afraid to show any expression, any weakness, any feeling of pain, or joy, or anger- that’s our “real life”, what we experience.

The band, Armpits, means to express what our current society seeks to banish. Truth, passion, guts, intense feeling and anything that goes against the grain. And this is supported by conservative fascists and liberal “PC” coddlers as well.

This is sweaty music, music made by exertion. That takes the will to survive and be. When you know what you have is of worth and the rest of the world has given up trying.

And this recording is excellent. You could say it’s like “a breathe of fresh air.”

Aw, but that’s only if your as corny as me.

How about, “enjoy this, ’cause it’s really great.”

I’ll stick with that.

(As my shirt sticks to my body, with sweat.)


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