X's for Eyes-In Horrid Waves album review by Mark J. FFO: Wild, insane and frankly mindblowing extreme metal/noise/industrial chaos.


X's for Eyes-In Horrid Waves album review by Mark J. FFO: Wild, insane and frankly mindblowing extreme metal/noise/industrial chaos.

Wow, wow, wow have to say I loved finding this gem; this is X's For Eyes the one-man-band project by Melbourne tech metal band Five Star Prison Cell’s drummer Marc Whitworth, incorporating elements of scathing metal, noise electronics, brutal sludge, & technical dexterity. and we all know how sick and clever Five Star Prison Cell were.

In case you didn't read this bio:

Riding at the peak of the Australian metal wave until their dissolution in 2011, Five Star Prison Cell unleashed three highly acclaimed albums between 2005 and 2010, with Whitworth and the group taking out MusicOz’s 2006 award for “Best Metal/Hardcore Artist” alongside an imposing national and international touring support rap sheet with the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Danzig, Arch Enemy, Cephalic Carnage, The Black Dahlia Murder, Karnivool, Spiderbait and countless others.

That's some incredible pedigree. And whilst some press hypes stuff very much in a suffocatingly annoying manner this is so spot on:

Following the release of a four-track home-recorded EP ‘Expunge’ in March 2021, & the lauded self-titled "X's For Eyes" EP in March 2022, Whitworth has meticulously crafted a unique & nightmarish experience with the imminent release of IN HORRID WAVES, with the entirety of music, vocals, and lyrics all written, performed and record by Marc himself. Like a bastard amalgamation of NIN, Converge, Meshuggah, Neurosis, DEP & the experimental projects of Mike Patton – In Horrid Waves is guaranteed to reach deep into your head and start pulling on wires. Prepare for total obliteration.

On to the breathtaking release, well it's staggeringly chaotic and creative as only true artisans can make. The electronica is dense, drums and noises hit you like earthquakes and the distorted vocals all are thrown in a semi-functioning blender with sharp rocks to create the finest tangential metal you have heard in decades. I adored this from start to end, I could have had 20 more tracks and I would still be entertained to the max. The dark stuff is counterbalanced or perhaps at war with downright dirty sludge, case in point the glorious Not Your God or Overboard, with some punchy but creepy doom style also. 

Infinite Blackouts rips you a new one with a mix of mathcore meets hype industrial madness as does Gilded Sutures, mixed in with some Mr Bungle. Make no mistake this album isn't afraid to move where ever it wants; be it the anthemic post-punky noise of the glorious Caught a Killer or the maddened tempo of Unholy, more deeply innovative explorations like the equally schizo Noxious Youth, God Complex or sheer wide and adventurous soundscapes of Soporific (with some excellent melodic vocals, surprisingly). You just cannot do wrong by randomly going to any track on this beast. The fantastic element is no song is alike, it's chaotic but the more you listen closely; it is well composed and intelligent songs that have almost a jazz sensibility-which heavy music musicians have leaned into the past, like Rollins Band, Sumac, Iceburn, Blind Idiot God, Meshuggah and Scorn etc.

My two fave tracks are Parasomnia; a wild journey of Godflesh-like greatness that relies on the classic tough formula of repetitive drums, bass and vocals washing you over and grinding you down-perfection!.
Then the exquisite Olfactory which is minimalistic but so damn crushing; again sure sign of a great artist and writer. Every listener should tune into the laser-accurate balance of space, calculated dark tone and hooky electronica that blew my mind.

I cannot recommend this album enough, quite simply one of the most interesting, intriguing albums I have heard in years. Very solid and instantly makes you want to replay the whole album. Killer stuff from Marc, desperately would love to see this live.

Out now:

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