2006 Relapse Records
1. Plasma Center Blues
2. NPON MP3
4. Ten Strip
5. Association of Known undesirables
7. Rough Sleep
You know those words that reviewers toss around for effect that truthfully don't mean anything Seemingly made-up words like "dirgey," and other terms like "murky" and "abyssic" that sound like they're more fit to describe a swamp than a record Well, prepare to absorb quite a few of those nonsensical descriptors and accompanying analogies, as it's nearly unavoidable when describing a band like North Carolina's native Facedowninshit.
It's not an easy thing to admit when a band chooses a ridiculous but absolutely dead-on name. Building even further on that concept, the band's Relapse debut NPON (Nothing Positive, Only Negative), perfectly captures what you'd imagine the record to sound like. Uncomforting. It's one of the rare releases out there where if you found it in the used bin at a CD store, you could probably make an oddly well-informed impulse buy.
Doing their best impression of a critically wounded animal, Jason Crumer and Waylon Riffs use their acidic screaming over a backdrop of thick guitar tones, dirty and repetitive riffing, feedback-laden breaks, and relentless yet timely drumming. Shifting between a doomy sludge and a mid-pace, Facedowninshit splices their already draining sound with broken-record riffs to produce suffocating track after track. Opening with the pounding seven minute "Plasma Center Blues," the song drags itself along by the hair before picking up the tempo and infusing painfully angular guitar parts that make your hair stand on end. The title track progresses almost oppositely from the first: kicking off with a fair amount of variety before being plunged back into an echoing chant and sluggish mess. "Countless" forcefully bursts out of the oppressive feel of the first two tracks, beginning with feedback and a short bassline prior to erupting into a pummeling southern-tinged slab. While the track ends with the same eye-crossing guitar noise, the near three minutes that comprise the tune are the musical equivalent to getting slugged in the head with a raw and oversized beef-flank. While the song is a little more easily taken in, true relief is even more seldomly provided. A dreary and almost peaceful southwestern melody is unhinged on "Fucked," but only after a few minutes of psychedelic and bone-dry misery, with just enough maddening structure to keep itself intact. The final track, "Rough Sleep" exhibits the same sort of songwriting, with the inclusion of a ringing passage of incredibly depressing and organic material.
Bottom Line: So there you have it, folks - seven tracks clocking in at just under 40 minutes. Making it through is rewarding in some circles, but more likely just mentally terrifying to a greater majority of people out there. Overall, it's an exhausting and masochistic listen, but it's good to know that this demented style didn't die out on Relapse with the more-ambient Nightstick. If you're a fan of the sludgier side of the metal world, or just in the mood for a good dose of musical punishment, NPON will serve you well.