Released: 2006, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Ottawa’s purveyors of grindcore, Fuck The Facts, have finally landed a deal with Relapse Records that allows them to crawl out of the sub-underground and record an album to capture their spastic, vicious sonic assault properly for the first time. That album is the brilliantly-titled STIGMATA HIGH-FIVE and Fuck The Facts’ notorious dabblings in experimental noise and spine-splitting changes in tempo still remain fairly lo-fi in the grand scheme of things, but the band has never sounded better than on this collection of seven tracks. A new rhythm section has been employed since 2003’s BACKSTABBER ETIQUETTE, welcoming Steve Chartier and Mathieu Vilandré on bass and drums, respectively. Mel Mongeon screams and roars like a tortured animal and Topon Das’ spastic riffing lurches along however the injections of melody to the groove and chaotic reels is very unique. Ion Dissonance does it but their hardcore background is very different from Fuck The Facts’ roots. Cephalic Carnage would be a closer parallel. Musical diversity and grindcore are not two terms usually associated with one another but Fuck The Facts does just that and more on STIGMATA HIGH-FIVE.
“La Derniere Image” (French for “The Last Picture”) rumbles along with a blasting death metal groove before slowing temporarily for a sweetly melodic passage. The band deftly weaves between tempos, starting and stopping on a dime, with Mongeon even handling a spoken word section between belched-out vitriolic wretches. “The Wrecking” starts out with a bouncy groove before launching into a frenzied abyss of double bass, blasts and mind-blowing technical riffs. Das’ squealing riffs on the brutal grind gem, “Carve Your Heart Out,” are just as impressive. The band experiments with some sonic distortion at the end of the track that will leave many people thinking their copy of STIGMATA HIGH-FIVE is faulty. The mid-tempo groove of “Taken From The Nest” is interspersed with the usual grind mayhem but the melodic guitar that finishes off the track really shows Fuck The Facts is more than the usual bunch of skull-crushing punters who inflict their chaos upon grind fans. For all the experimentation of those tracks, the flailing insanity of “The Sounds of Your Smashed Head” (originally written back in 2003) is pure, unadulterated grind, delivering beatdown after beatdown in the form of dizzying riffs, Vilandré’s unrelenting blasts and Mongeon’s bruising vocal attack. The progressive, almost jazzy, feel to Vilandré’s drums and Chartier’s bass are positively infectious on the nine-minute, “Dead In The Ruins of Your Own City.” A foreboding ambient middle section bubbles below the surface before a slow, dirge-like doom-y conclusion wraps up the song.
Slow…doomy…progressive…not exactly typical adjectives used to describe the music of a grindcore band but Fuck The Facts is not just any grindcore band. Their expert use of start/stop tempos, melodic breaks and other unorthodox (for the genre) flourishes set Fuck The Facts apart, reserving themselves a place in their own corner of grindcore’s hall. STIGMATA HIGH-FIVE is a new chapter in the band’s career, one that sees them stepping into a new realm of production values, distribution and exposure thanks to Relapse, as well as vastly-improved songwriting and musicianship. The underground is in their rearview mirror as Fuck The Facts is on the road to the next level, so buckle up for the ride.
**A multimedia section consisting of two ambient instrumental tracks—“Stigmata High-Five” and “Ants”—are included as well as a 100+ photo gallery and “making of” video that documents the recording of the album when you put the CD in your computer.
KILLER KUTS: “La Derniere Image,” “The Wrecking,” “Carve Your Heart Out,” “Taken From The Nest,” “Dead In The Ruins of Your Own City”