Ever wonder what would happen if you put your Butthole Surfers records through a buzz saw? Well, no need to wonder any further (or destroy your precious vinyl)! Portland’s messy sludge-metallers Rabbits will give you a pretty good idea what this potential atrocity would sound like with their second album, Bites Rites, which will be released September 18 on Good To Die Records. It follows up their Relapse Records debut, Lower Forms.
Bites Rites plows and rages though nine tracks of heavy, fuzzed-out chaos that even includes dirty and jacked-up Hüsker Dü and Spacemen 3 covers. One of my favourite parts about this release is how it manages not to take itself too seriously. Seasoned sludge fans can rejoice at the refreshing way Bites Rites manages to meld 90s noise rock-era dirt, grime and silliness with the aggressive sludge of bands like Big Business (how can I compare a band with no bass player to the heaviness of Big Business, you ask? Listen and learn, folks!) and Black Cobra. No boring riffs or repetitive weed themes in sight… a point which is punctuated by track names like “Suck It or Blow”, “Meth Valley 99” and “Lame in Vain”. Now let’s go through my essential sludge-listening checklist: Primal? Check! Messy? Check! Angry? Menacing? Check and check! These Portlanders may be Rabbits, but there is definitely something rabid (and superbly fucked up) about their in-your-face, hillbilly-rocking, crushing edge that might just bite you in the ass.
Even in raving over the just-right mix of fuzzed-out riff and rowdy fun in this record, I have a feeling Rabbits still haven’t quite lived up to their potential. Dare I say these in your face grime-mongers may still be holding back? What will happen next? Is the world ready? Am I asking too many questions? Who knows! But I’m certainly willing to wait and find out. Bites Rites will be available on 180-gram LP with included digital download delivery via Good To Die Records on September 18.