[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
While a member of New England duo Bereft, as well as other industrial acts, Andrew Grant is constantly challenging the borders of his take on death industrial through his personal project entitled The Vomit Arsonist. The previous record, “An Occasion For Death”, was also released by Malignant Records in 2013, exhibiting a dangerous, heavy musical rhetoric made of lugubrious ambient sounds.
Only Red appears in 2015, after a productive live and collaborative activity. The tone of the album is set out from the first tracks by smashingly heavy drumming against a thick, smog-filled atmosphere of vague drones and sporadically blowing chains.
“Only Red” has more in common with a type of painting dear to post-modernism, the monochrome tableau: sounds are glued on scratched paper and fabrics just like the paint would cover in rough pigments a canvas previously infected by such a vulgar matter. The excellent track bearing the album’s title is so murky and fiercely brushed throughout, that the viscosity seems to be pouring inside the body by every orifice remaining open (at the same time, a strong visual image residual from Stephen King’s Carrie being soaked in pig’s blood).
If you are moved by the ritualistic shape of music, such incantatory mechanical dirges as Andrew Grant unchains in the course of this album are ardent moments of intimate ecstasy. The author of this American outfit is going straight to the object he searches for: expressing what this world has lost or never had; his meanings are laconic; a couple of slow percussion rhythms and vaporous ambient noise, pumping up the volume and distortion until the tracks gain their meaningful strength, adding above disdainful, reverberating hissing vocals. The outcome on “Nothing Matters” or “It Just Is” places the listener accustomed to death industrial in a thrilling state, the compositions bristling with a dark vengeful energy.
Much of the sort of religious garment enveloping these industrial trance rituals is, on a deeper level, a ruthless de-contextualization of their ritualistic function with the simplest intent to reject any implied metaphysics and state the most trivial and mundane belief: “I’m Not Fine”, like the title of another track, a raging neurotic reversed mirror for a radio pop-tune. The Vomit Arsonist has very disturbing and bleak moments, flooding lavas of vomited rumbling mechanical noises, like on “No One Can Help You” or the nightmarish and disturbing “Unwelcome Peace”. The last track is a remix of a Vomit Arsonist track by another project from Malignant Records, belonging to Kristoffer Oustad.
“Only Red” is a sinister shout against our useless initiatives and going nowhere projects, all our efforts made to elude necessity. After hearing it all we see is red.