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BILL BONDSMEN - Swallowed By The World LP

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‘Swallowed By The World,’ is the BILL BONDSMEN ’s first album and it’s not really presenting all that cheery a picture. These songs scream about lousy jobs, barely having enough money to make your mortgage payments, paying for prescriptions, having the electricity shut off when you can’t pay the bill etc. On this album, instead of going for any sort of slick sound, things sound rougher. Especially with the vocals. To my ears they sound cruder and that’s meant in the most positive sense of the word since it really enhances Gabby’s larynx-shredding utterings. There’s an abundance of go-for-the-throat thrash and other climactic elements as well. The circle-pit inducing breakdown of "Another Wave" is one such moment. So is the stop/start thrash of "its Always Darkest After Shutoff," interspersing guitar and bass atonalities, if that’s the right term. Everything comes to a screeching halt for the final cut, "A Bird In The Hand Means You’ve Been Dead For A Few Days" and it’s a slower, desperate-droning song, building up and then slowing down as the guitars mimic the sound of something/someone barely clinging to life before it abruptly ends. Think of the album as a cautionary tale and, as Black Flag sang on "Depression" all those years ago, "they say things are gonna get better—all I know is THEY BETTER." ‘Swallowed By The World’ may not make you feel better but it’s still some damned good scream therapy."