Heap of talk calls their “death-grunge” sound – a unique synthesis of crushing lows (i.e. The body), grainy grooves (i.e. jesus lizard), and the crazy voices of a Raygun Busch. Buschthe voice and lyrics quickly become Heap of talkThe calling card of , mixing insane words and beastly grunts. Thus, the sound signature of the group becomes as evocative as it is punitive. Without surprise, Heap of talk don’t beat around the bush with their ratings on God’s country. This thing depicts a disturbing hellish wasteland, telling chilling and believable tales amidst a rust-covered oblivion.
Captain RonThe distorted drum sounds at the start of “Slaughterhouse” immediately legitimize comparisons with The body – mainly because they sound like they were recorded in an abandoned warehouse. In the same way, Luther’s gazeguitar strains and StinBass sounds are not only heavy, but ugly. The group builds a dilapidated shack of muddy violence, in which Busch moans like a victim of torture. Heap of talk gives more attention to their attack with the following “Why”, in which the primitive riffage follows a frank diatribe against homelessness in the United States. “I never had to shove my shit in a shopping cart, did I? Have you ever had ringworm? Scabies… It’s a fucking tragedy;” as the riffs get more abusive, Busch’s delivery gets crazier.
With the “dead” aspect of Heap of talk established, the “grunge” part manifests in refreshing ways on cuts like “Pamela” and “Anytime.” Admittedly, the former begins more in common with the periphery of post-punk than with the Seattle sound, but BuschDeadpan lyrics guide reverberating guitar strains and hypnotic grooves into distinct, desperate dissonance. Heap of talk displays their synergy by interweaving grief-stricken ramblings with the music’s progression from unsettling sparseness to a suffocating wall of noise. The latter’s rhythm guitar and unfiltered vocals might recall Nirvana‘s “Come as you Are”, but it quickly muddies the waters with squeaky diapers and the paranoid barking of a destitute victim of the world.
Just like the landscape that the group depicts, Heap of talk likes to introduce semi-traceable musical ideas and twist them beyond recognition. These contortions happen most rapidly during the noisecore machinations of “Wicked Puppet Dance”. The band embraces a propulsive form of art-punk, as Ron plays atonal textures with explosive rhythm. Likewise, “Tropical Beaches, Inc.” shifts from brittle guitar plucks to a melee of propulsive distortion. In both cases, Busch remains the driving force behind the intensity. Its emotional crescendos throw the already frenetic and chaotic instrumentals into a dark pit, and it only gets deeper.
Hearing Busch it looks like he’s about to burst into tears as he screams”line up the animalsduring the drudgery of “The Mask” is undeniably upsetting, but the muffled heartbeat of “I Don’t Care If I Burn” really shows the depth of God’s country. The whispered spoken words and non-musical field recordings of the track sound pretty claustrophobic, but BuschThe witty nihilism of emerges as if whispering and singing (?) down the neck of his over-deserving victim: “you may not see me now / but motherfucker I see you.” The tension-filled verses and grating soundscapes might recall some of the tom is waiting‘ weirder numbers (like “What is he building?”). It is this sense of intimacy in the fray that shows how Heap of talk can, and will, get their hands on reaching for legitimate nightmare fuel with their mark of heaviness.
Ironically, Heap of talk records some of his simplest sludge metal riffs for the latest and longest track on God’s country. The first half of “Grimace_Smoking_Weed.jpeg” arrives with a devastating mid-tempo breakdown, punctuated by grimy basslines, skronky syncopation, and even some weird tremolo selections. It’s also the song where Busch totally loses his coherence, delirious like a man on the verge of a mental breakdown. In fact, that’s exactly what seems to be happening during the second half of the song. The catastrophic din becomes slower and more prolonged, with cries of panicked despair acting like jump scares in a horror movie, resolving in a feeling of haunting sobriety: “I don’t want to live anymore… and you?”
Beyond the fact that it ends in shrill feedback loops and maniacal howls, God’s country is far from easy to listen to. Its raw production, wicked riffs, and vocal derangement belie a palpable core of emotional fallout. Heap of talk shapes sludgecore into a living demonstration of mental trauma caused by a distressing world. God’s country indeed… If God really looked away.