Review: Time Bomb – Frozen Meat Conspiracy (self-released, May 15)

Hardcore has always been a genre indebted to the sweat-drenched splendor of the physical live performance. Is a HxC band really a band until they’ve taken the stage (or cordoned-off section of basement) in front of a steaming pile of apathetic audience members who’d rather indiscriminately 2-step their way into an unnecessary and violent confrontation than actually listen to the music? But there has been plenty of material to show us that this is not always an indispensable rite of passage. Killer solo recording projects like Crisis Sigil, The Sound That Ends Creation, Arms, and others showcase the bone-crushing energy that can be achieved in the more sterile environment of solitary home studio recording. Time Bomb, Patrick D. Hogan of PlasticBag FaceMask’s side project, definitely belongs with the other great examples I listed; his new album, Frozen Meat Conspiracy, displays an impressive range of both technicality and heaviness across ten short cuts of deathcore-infused math metal madness. Hogan’s vocals jump from strained emotional screams to sinister low-pitched growls to anxiety-ridden spoken word that sounds straight out of a golden age Disembodied release. As this dizzying mass of abrasive madness lumbers over unexpected speed changes, whiplash-inducing riff switching, and eviscerating breakdowns, do your best to keep your skull intact.