OXX – The Skeleton Is Just A Coat Hanger

OXX – The Skeleton Is Just A Coat Hanger

The Danish cluster grindcorers wear their influences, Napalm Death, Converge and ancient Mastodon, fairly firmly on their sleeves even on their 4th full length, overwhelming with brutal, jazzy noise, brilliant for some, while others will ask for their money back somewhere after the 3rd track.

The "we play whatever we feel like playing and if you don’t like it that’s YOUR problem" ensemble featuring three dudes with unknown identities, (no, not so much as a single letter), have been at it since 2012, immediately releasing the eponymous debut followed by "Bury The Ones We Love And Burn The Rest" (2015), "Night And The City" (2017), and, finally, the subject of this review, "The Skeleton Is Just A Coathanger" (These Are The Black Strings That Make You Dance), released last month. Their propensity to use old Napalm Death and Converge with ancient (that is pre-Remission) Mastodon would probably be an interesting mix, even with the jazzy structures, but unlike the aforementioned, they seem to pride themselves on overwhelming you with needless chaos and brutality. Bands such as Brutal Truth or Portal come to mind, bands I am not a big fan of to begin with. Hence, once you heard the first 3 tracks, if you are not even slightly insane you’d like turn it off and use the disc as a coaster for your morning cup of java.

Now, I did say, if you are NOT even slightly insane, and since I am a little bit certifiable myself, I do find moments of potential or even, dare I say it, pleasure, in this, by the label’s own admission, clustercore (well, not verbatim, but close). The opener, Labyrinth (Minotaur Hymn) is actually fairly melodic and enjoyable, which, if you’re moderately schizophrenic you’d likely concur, while the closing title track looms with Pink Floyd-ian atmospherics atop the typical dissonant noise manic depressives may find optimal. Considering the incredible lack of truly memorable moments on this disc, these two are probably the best tracks on the album, but, if you make it past track 3, you may find the Enslaved-structured "A Multiplicity Of Endings", with its cleaner screams and much needed variety (not to mention relief from the constant merciless pounding of your flesh), if you’re suffering from severe claustrophobia by way of sado-masochistic tendency, as well as the trumpet-y Prong-ian "Circle" to your liking, you sick son of a gun.

Negatives are too numerous too mention but chief among them are (apparently purposely) poor production and overall lack of variety and nuance, "Birthday Song" the worst offender. In fact, this is an instantly forgettable disc as soon as it stops rotating and the more times you spin it the worse it gets.

Just because you play whatever you want (with an elaborate title for the Guinness Book Of Records, to boot) does not mean it’s good and "The Skeleton Is Just A Coathanger" (These Are The Black Strings That Make You Dance) is a living noisy exhibit A.