Hurry Up and Finish Dying/Raw Meat and Gunpowder 7″
Billy Mackenzie and Peter Rohrbough of Acoustic Guillotine have been contributing members of the Iowa City rock scene for close to 30 years. Their 2011 self-titled album was an oddball masterpiece of hard music, and their uncompromising dedication to their sound—Billy’s giant bass and Pete’s pounding drums—means that their songs are instantly recognizable as their own: no mistaking them for anything else.
By limiting their sonic palette to drums and bass, Acoustic Guillotine jettisons everything extra or ornamental about metal music. I certainly don’t miss over-the top guitar histrionics, which make a lot of metal sound ridiculous to my ears. Billy’s bass does triple duty as lead, rhythm and bass line, sometimes simultaneously. His bass owes as much to Bach’s unaccompanied suites for the cello as they do Black Sabbath. Pete’s drumming seems to come from some alternate universe where Art Blakey jams with Metallica. He can swing, and often his drumming sounds as though he’s singing backup to Billy’s growly vocals.
The lyrics on this record are a lot easier to understand than on their last album. At some point I’ll actually listen to the words, but Billy’s voice is more textural than textual; the sound and fury doesn’t actually need to signify anything. Of the two tracks I prefer “Hurry Up and Finish Dying” which is instrumental, not because Billy doesn’t sing, but because of it’s stripped down purity. You can’t take anything else away from Acoustic Guillotine; all you’d be left with would be an empty room, holding the lingering feeling that someone was really angry there.
Kent Williams has been thinking a lot about snare drum sounds.