Confusion Bay (Nuclear Blast)
By Scott Hefflon
I love this record. The compressed “future metal” of Fear Factory mixed with the more singable parts of Strapping Young Lad (more accurately, Devin’s solo stuff), with no obsession with Nordic legends, interstellar battles and signs and keys, or oblique man/machine themes drilled into yer skull, song after freakin’ song. Raunchy, lame name aside, lament hot girls walking down the street (often away from them, sniff), howl all kinds of “fuck you” anger at, well, whatcha got? The general impression being “I can relate to this.” That’s pretty cool in a metal scene littered with all kinds of larger-than-life woo-ha and hardcore/nü metal’s tendency to say “life’s unfair” simply enough so any grounded’n’angry 14 year old can relate. Raunchy ain’t scholars, but they sure aren’t dumb-asses.
Musically, this 52-minute slab of jam-packed metal successfully straddles what few bands are able to: Wall of power guitarwork and belt-it-out melody. In Flames is another example, and to meaningfully compare anyone with In Flames – especially by their second album – is quite a feat. While elitists have complained about In Flames, those fuckers’ll complain about sharing any metal gem with a world that still thinks the guy from Killswitch Engage has a good singing voice. (I consider that developing a taste for what you’re spoonfed and being too lazy to forage for rarer game.) Raunchy may mope in the “Goth metal” end of the pool a bit much for some (“The Devil” flirts with some deep vocals – not as deep as Peter Steele’s, but who’s got a voice that deep and a cock that big besides him? – but Type O got mired in droning ’70s rock, so fuck them), but Dark Tranquillity made it through that phase, and they sobbed a lot more than Raunchy does. Raunchy does kinda stick with “safe” melodies and song structure you’ll have down by the end of the first listen, and their repetitious choruses may make you shout “I got it the first time, move on!,” but Manson’s made a career of nailing a lyric and driving it home safely, time and time again, and people know and love their favorite Manson quotes.
Raunchy are young, Danish, aggressive, and progressive without being wankers. In a metal scene filled with “old metal dudes” often getting caught in a rut of their own design, and young upstarts who simply groove the shit out of the parts of good metal they can actually play, a hot young band that’s tight, talented, and eyeing the horizon hungrily is one to search out and whole-heartedly support.
(2323 W. El Segundo Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250)