Feels so Good When You’re Gone (Man’s Ruin)
by Scott Hefflon
These girls deserve all the hype they’re getting, lemme tell you. I’ve taken two wise pieces of advice to heart: Public Enemy’s stuttered “Don’t believe the Hype” and Wesley/The Dread Pirate Roberts’ quip “Life is pain. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.”
On a gut feeling, I caught Bottom when they came though town (saw the dirty club show, thanks. I avoid huge outdoor shows like the disgusting, over-commercial amateur’s big outing they are. Like going to an amusement park filled with annoying little fuckers running wild like they’ve never been outta whacking-reach of their parents), and it was worth sweating my balls off. First off, it’s good to see ugly, hairy, dirty-ass rock motherfuckers still exist. Ya watch too much MTV or VH-1 and everyone starts to look really Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray and the prick rockstar in Father’s Day), and ya forget about the gutter rock subgenre, like stoner rock and, well, rock, like the Hellacopters and Glucifer and shit. And while most stoner rock corrodes my brain (literally, I drift off and stare into space and have to snap out of it every so often so I don’t drool on myself – duh, it’s called stoner rock!), Bottom actually has powerful melody and dynamics and push’n’pull and all that visceral shit that pussy radio rock totally lacks.
Shit, listen to the slow, quiet palm-muted whispering intro of “Got Meth?” (live, the feedback circled the room like ravenous buzzards) knowing full well the gut-wrenching howl is going to kick in… wait for it… woooooowwww! I’ve never had an icicle dragged roughly up my spine, cracking and crumbling and tearing flesh and burning cold and all that poetic/painful whoo-ha, but this sends shivers up my spine and makes my little finger twitch like I just nailed my funny bone, and I consider that a powerful reaction, don’t you?
And “DeathSpin” is probably the best nursery-rhyme-esque song since Clutch’s Transmissions… (a classic dirt rock album, we just didn’t know what to call it yet!). If you mention Korn at this juncture, you shall be beaten severely, got it? Bottom’s (unconscious?) bass-thundering adaptation of “Knick, knack, paddy whack” brings in A Nightmare Before Christmas-like “this is Halloween, this is Halloween” implied chant, and while all this may be reading too much into the rumble, it’s a stomper any way ya slice it.
Speaking of, um, slamming bass, when ya see ’em live, bassist Nila is a tall, strikingly good-looking chick, just kinda settin’ up her gear all, ya know, unassuming and shit. But when the feedback builds and the bass sound starts to roll like the thunder god’s belly before feeding time, her hair falls in her face, she stoops so her bass almost brushes the ground, pressed against a rock-hard calf, strummed by fingers that’d break pencils in a mere flex. And while I’m being a dog, guitarist/singer Sina is a real beauty as well. Kinda Cali-fornica sweet surfer blonde, but with a real tuff streak. Like the type that sees you checkin’ her out and swaggers over with a devilish grin, then slams you against the wall, holding your balls in a vise-like grip, and tells you to quit staring and either buy her a few drinks and fuck her hard or fuck off and don’t waste her fuckin’ time. Yeah, the type you wish you could handle, brother. And the drummer, shit, it was kinda dark back there, but she had a great smile, an intense look of concentration while she rocked, and – this may sound mandatory, but it really isn’t – she hit that shit hard. Again in John Bonham spirit, she used these monster sticks, and she wound up the real dramatic hits from somewhere over her shoulder, then brought ’em down so hard’n’fast, the lights only picked up the motion as a blur of power, man. And I was straight the whole time, I swear!
Feels So Good When You’re Gone was produced by Billy Anderson (Neurosis, Today is the Day, etc.) so it sounds like a freight train, and Sina’s got more vocal balls than most guy singers, just a goddamn power howl of such magnitude it puts the rest to shame. While it’s noisy and “unattractive” music, when ya listen to the riffs and the vocal melodies beneath the avalanche of volume and roar and feedback, they’re actually sharp and tightly-crafted. Hmmm. And by playing about 300 shows a year for the last couple years, Sina’s learned how to work a variety of sounds out of her axe (most of them guttural and vicious, but that’s not the point) quickly and effectively, like a killer who approaches you, pulls a knife, guts you, wipes the blade on your shirt and passes you by as you’re still trying to piece together what the fuck just happened. As you stare dumbly at the wound, ya can’t help but admire what a slick move it was that just did you in.