I judge books by their covers all the time. Albums too. Luke Drozd’s cover art for Koresh’s new EP Chump perfectly captures the music’s brutal, impish mania, with rage-possessed unicorns dueling for unknown reasons, but probably for something ultra-important, like to impress a nearby unicorn chick who totally digs blood-slicked horns, ‘cause really, who doesn’t? Koresh, who have been churning stomachs with punk-infused sludge for a decade now in London, kick out ugly, nasty tunes that smirk at you the whole time if you’re in on the joke. And the music ain’t the joke.
This release from Witch Hunter and Withered Hand Records, a follow-up to 2010's excellent Crippledriver, crackles with the reckless punk energy of The Stooges or Junkyard-era work by The Birthday Party while dishing out crusty sludge overdosing on groove and grit. The Paul Newell/Donny Hopkins vocal tandem reminds me of Weedeater’s Dave “Dixie” Collins, if his vocal cords were grafted with cells from Nocturno Culto’s throat. There is definitely a sense of fun that permeates Chump, from the celebratory “woo!” in “Straight Edge Till Midnight” to the hilarious audio clip from American Juggalo opening “Wogan” to the T-shirt worthy song title “Adolf Hipster.” Also, “You Can Call Me Gaahl” is my favorite title parody since Carcass’ “Keep On Rotting In the Free World.” Koresh, named after the Branch Davidian leader involved with the infamous Waco incident, share a twisted sense of humor that’s absolutely on my wavelength. You know the friend you can send any joke to, no matter how offensive and reprehensible? Yeah, that’s Koresh. This music is like laughter at a funeral, the type of chuckling that’s contagious and soon overtakes the crowd of mourners.
“Cheer Up Glasgow” shows Koresh at their most bleak, offering tortured doom until it blasts into hardcore punk and a stoned groove that brings to mind the slimy tempo shifts of Eyehategod’s In the Name of Suffering. Koresh crash into jagged noise-rock territory in “Bin Juice,” ripping worlds apart with catchy, spastic riffs that skip gentle head-nodding and go straight to tearing your own head off and tossing it in the air in celebration. The bass-heavy rock of “Shitbird” seems a bit rigid and lifeless compared to the rest of the album, but the final minute still slithers to awesomeness thanks to a killer bass line. Chump is the soundtrack of a bender destined to go bad, the sort of party where hundreds of laws are shattered and at least one person loses a limb. Then years later, when the traumatized partyers break vows to never speak of that night again, everyone admits that secretly, despite the debauchery and limb-loss, it was the best party they ever experienced. Koresh is not polite. They will make fun of your mom, even after you tell her she’s dead. But the joke will get you laughing, and their music will make you swear off civility.
Listen to Crush now and order an awesome CD/Shirt bundle over here: http://witchhunterrecords.bigcartel.com/product/koresh-chump-cd-and-t-shirt-bundle
And check out the Koresh website for more information: http://straightedgetillmidnight.blogspot.com/