July 4, 2014

Secret Cutter - Self Titled

Written by Matt Hinch.

Trying to put a label on Secret Cutter is an exercise in futility, and also a bit unnecessary. All I know is, I have a split in my forehead and a concussion (permanent brain damage?) from all the banging of my head against the table. Plus there's a limp body on the floor that I filled with haymakers when they asked if I was okay. I tell ya, it's a blessing and a curse that I write with a pen and paper. A blessing in that I didn't break a computer with my face, a curse in that the body on the floor is also full of pen stab wounds. Of course I'm being figurative but if a badly beaten body shows up at the morgue looking like someone went all Joe Pesci on his ass, I am so fucked.

I'm pretty fucked anyway from the violating violence Secret Cutter lay down on this self-titled assault. Their brand of blitzing grind, planet smashing doom/sludge and angular noisy weirdness is shot through with corrosive, lysergic hardcore vocals and enough hatred (real or feigned) to keep the entire psychology profession employed in perpetuity.

This shit is heavy as fuck. There's no other way to put it. Monumental, noise ridden riffs reign unholy terror down upon you like a ten ton hammer wielded by a mentally unstable Thor whacked on methamphetamines. Right from the onset (“Mirror, Mirror”) this Philly crew reduces bones to dust and cities to rubble with a vicious stomp. There's a sense of glee behind the devastation though as those noisy little notes thrown in sound like a twisted grin below crazy eyes. Using feedback as a weapon they bloody their guitars on riff after riff of left-of-centre doom/sludge.

Looking over my notes I can see lots of “oh my god” and “holy fuck”s. Most of them are centered around the album's mid-section with “Vow of Poverty” and “Shake the Malevolent”. The former obliterates with extreme prejudice via a propulsive sequence. It hammers away at the chest like a series of concussion grenades fired from a semi-automatic canon. The latter features some of the most jaw-dropping picking I've heard in a long time. So fast, so much energy and wildness. I didn't even know a guitar could do that.

More powerful sludge, stomp-to-a-bloody-pulp riffs and stunning feedback hang out with flattening grind until closing track “Driftwood”. It starts and it's all like “What the hell? Is Les Claypool snorting coke over here?” Then “FUCK NO, MOTHERFUCKER!! GRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIND!!!!!!!!!” and a continued castigation of ungodly tone and fractured chords.

From beginning to end this album wears its physicality on its sleeve. It's uncompromisingly heavy, gleefully spastic, vocally terrifying (amazing stress therapy when screaming along) and surprisingly catchy. Define it as you will but one thing is for certain, Secret Cutter make it a point to make you feel small and insignificant. And goddamn do I feel like an ant right now.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

  1. A few years post-college, a friend of mine and I drove from NYC to the Bethlehem/Allentown area to take some pictures of the collapsing steel mills and generally ruined industry. Believe me, the fact that this band comes from there makes a lot of sense.

  2. I am pretty fucked anyway from the violating violence Secret Cutter lay down on this self-titled assault. Their brand of blitzing grind..
    Cutting Creasing Rule