Saturday, July 08, 2006


I bought the reissues of Eyehategod's In The Name Of Suffering, Take As Needed For Pain and Dopesick this week. The first comes with four demo tracks appended, all of which were previously available on the (still in print) 10 Years Of Abuse And Still Broke disc, which is otherwise made up of live stuff. The second and third divide up (six tracks on Take..., three on Dopesick) all the stuff that used to be on the Southern Discomfort compilation. So, absolutely nothing new here for the serious EHG fan. The remastering job done on the albums themselves is nice, though.

(Funny thing: even though all three discs have liner notes by EHG singer Mike Williams, I get the feeling the rest of the band bears their former label some ill will: the six Southern Discomfort tracks on Take... all come from 7"s EHG put out between albums on various tiny indie labels, and the versions here are quite audibly mastered from vinyl. They never gave the original tapes to Century Media for use on Southern Discomfort or on these reissues.)

What Eyehategod accomplished was pretty unique and important, to my ear anyway. They were to Black Sabbath what Pussy Galore were to the Stones, in a way. These first three discs, Take... in particular (though Dopesick is my personal favorite), sound like a combination of the first Black Sabbath album, Black Flag's My War (both sides - they do play fast from time to time) and Swans' Filth. Feedback all through every song, vocals that are totally indecipherable (and can't be matched up to the enclosed lyrics, ever), pounding semi-tribal drums, and riffs like a chainsaw spinning in mud. I saw them live twice. The second time, in 1999 or maybe 2000, at CBGBs with Buzz*Oven and some other bands I don't remember, they had a roadie singing, because Mike Williams was in jail or detox or something, but the rest of them needed the money, so down the road they went. The first time, with Neurosis and Unsane at Irving Plaza, in 1997 (they must have been touring behind Dopesick), Williams looked like he was gonna fall right on his face if he ever let go of the mic stand, and the rest of the band looked like they wouldn't bother picking him up if he did. I don't use phrases like "bad vibes" very often, but the negativity coming off that stage was like a physical force in the room. Truly disturbing, and a surprising amount of that comes through in the studio recordings. I recommend all three of these albums (and the rest of their catalog, for that matter, even the newish Preaching The End-Time Message comp, which is sort of Southern Discomfort Vol. 2 and which I haven't heard yet) unreservedly.

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