They say not to judge a book by its cover. But what about judging a band by their name? I’d advise against that too. But honestly, Making Fuck did strike me as a “Seriously?” band name. However! The band is good and once you find out the name is inspired by the movie Clerks (“Would you like some making fuck? Berserker!”) it changes things. That’s cool. So I’ll let it pass. It also gets a pass because new album, A Harrowing End is some serious stuff.
Frontman Kory Quist (The Ditch & The Delta) does move in a pretty serious direction here. As if a song titled “Mormon Guilt” didn’t give that away for the Salt Lake City product. The album title is apt as well as it’s often harrowing. It’s an interesting mix of doom and discord riddled with desolate melodies and melancholic atmosphere.
Much of that atmosphere is likely due to the use of electric cello. There’s something about the way the instrument fills a sonic space, surrounding the listener. There’s a sort of detached warmth it lends. It’s quite hard to explain. But it’s a great element that takes the band and album to the next level of appreciation.
Now, you may be thinking “Huh. Salt Lake City and classical stringed instruments?” and yes, there is a guest spot from none other than SubRosa’s Kim Pack. (I can’t wait for a new album from them by the way.) She brings a dynamic element to the title track’s plodding pace and depressing nature, fitting right in to the soundscape perfectly.
Here, and elsewhere, Quist’s vocal approach shows two sides. On one hand its tone relates to hardcore; full of heart and emotion. But instead of sharp barks he lets his voice stretch out driving home the point that the pain cannot be glossed over or pushed aside. It must be felt and worked through.
In general, smooth flowing riffs are broken by shudders or the aforementioned discord never really letting the listener get comfortable. The melodic elements are strong, coalescing neatly with powerful percussion and heavy doom. Putting it all together puts the listener in a cage of conflict between anger and despair.
At times A Harrowing End can get downright nasty. “Jesus Christ Inc.” brings to mind former heavyweights Gaza with uncompromising vocals bellowed over world-beating riffs, leaving you bruised and defeated. Its follow up “Memento Mori” is fantastically mellow and lush. The cello warms and forebodes as melodies filter through the levels of consciousness avoiding carpet bombs of blackened, emotional tremolos; bleak but not cold.
Overall A Harrowing End is an emotionally charged doom album infused with enough melancholia to turn even the brightest sky grey. While not a make or break element, the cello gives it that something extra you didn’t know it needed. Varied tempos and movements give the album a dramatic feel in keeping with the um, harrowing atmosphere. Near nonsense name aside, Making Fuck and A Harrowing End are a nice surprise for fans of SubRosa, Kowloon Walled City and others like them.