Released: 2016, Sleaszy Rider Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Cancer guitarist John Walker and his wife Raquel have had a host of bassists and drummers come and go from their Liquid Graveyard project over the last decade. So when the time came to record a third album, I guess they figured if it was probably going to be a temporary measure anyway, why no go for broke.
So enter Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury and mercenary drummer Nicholas Barker – both of Lock Up – who lend their considerable talents and reputations to By Nature So Perverse, an album that serves more as a test of their ability to hold a groove than an attempt to break the sound barrier, something both have proven quite capable of. Perverse is brisk, but chunky – more chug than sprint – with John Walker's thick riffs leading the way. Even the opening track “Oppengrinder,” despite the connotations of its title, is more straight up metal – or borderline melodic death metal - than anything approaching grindcore, with a heaving bottom end and waves of hooks.
Indeed, the band resemble a somewhat stripped down version of Arch Enemy - which owes a lot to Raquel Walker's feral Angela Gossow-like snarl as well as the ever-present vicious melodies, but without the guitar hero frills – or Obituary in their methodical delivery and sheer weight. The songs are very hooky and straight forward - with Barker's double-bass rolls used more as accents than acceleration - and often, especially on the title track, quite repetitive.
“All Bile, All Vile” finally opens things up a bit just past the midway point, with John Walker joining in on vocals, which carries over to the surging “Clonenations” driven by Barker's rivet-gun pace, but the band then slow dramatically for the menacing “Sour Conspiracy” buoyed by Embury's quaking bass lines. “Red Eyed Angel,” however, brings back Barker's rivet gun - and boasts the most massive riffs in John Walker's arsenal here - and “Onkalo” rides his double-bass gallop at the outset before down-shifting to a jammy plod and one of the album's rare sustained guitar leads.
So while it takes some time to get there, the back half of the album does move along, for the most part, quite nicely, though, again, never approaching “grind.” But it's kind of a shame the Walkers didn't concoct more feistier, aggressive songs to take advantage of Embury and Barker. With a pair of big guns like that, leaving bullets in the chamber when all is said and done is kind of a waste.