The Cory Smoot Experiment
When Worlds Collide

It goes without saying that The Cory Smoot Experiment is truly a fitting name for the material found on When Worlds Collide (for absolutely all the material on here is one daring science project in its own right). It was initially going to be a collaboration between Smoot and a good number of his mates from the Richmond metal scene handling the vocal duties (namely Randy Blythe and Dave Brockie) but it eventually turned into one dense, and very personal offering. It’s orchestrated, tracked, and elaborated by the Flattus Maximum all of his own, the good ole’ DIY way. Metal Blade is releasing this, honoring the memory of a man that put a massively eclectic and instantly recognizable stamp on GWAR‘s sound and history, and it’s safe to say that the uniqueness of the blend of influences present on this incredibly libertine, unpredictable, proggy, and very seasoned album is bound to be well-embraced. This isn’t solely a metal record; it’s obviously face-smashingly heavy, with its apt and well-oiled slabs of groovy thrash and hardcore influences, but I can also pinpoint slightly more accessible alternative leanings right, and even a pinch of lacerating doom. Additionally, it’s infused, in some passages, with a touch of an industrial metal spirit, and, more towards the end of the record, against all odds, vintage prog rock flourishes. This is definitely Cory’s private playground and though it isn’t completely far removed from what he’s done over the span of his career, this one album is where he gets to really exploit all extremes of his own creative spectrum. It’s a captivating feat all of its own, and an incredibly dark, layered, and profoundly melancholic spin on the man’s musicianship.

”The Blood Red” kicks in with a thrashy gallop, and develops into an accessible and engaging number that has a good range of nuances and a killer balance overall. The sung chorus showcases Smoot’s cleans that really have a humble simplicity and a great emotional reach. The latter develops a great deal especially on the more down-paced and ever-so-slightly bleak doom-tinged cuts, and is enjoyable, authentic, and harmonious all the while, adding a singular touch to the ambiances herein, such as on the brief but very introspective, penetrating and grey ”Fortunate Sun” which seems to be the ideal ground for Smoot to really unfurl his range, and the result is particularly woeful, and gripping, alongside riffage that is a tad funereal and definitely absorbing, in a bit of a Daylight Dies/Paradise Lost fashion. ”Religion is Fiction”, on the other hand, is an entirely different piece of work, and is incredibly hard to classify. It’s frantic-paced, chock-full of thrashy grooves, and definitely has a kickass pull, and an undeniable catchiness. ”Rebirth” is a short interlude housing a solid main riff and psychedelic background leads, building up to a second display of slightly more shadowy alternative and contemplative musings. The acoustic stringwork is slightly gloomy, and Smoot’s cleans are yet again delicately desolate and moving, morphing into growls as the track escalates into slightly heavier, but still very alternative terrain with even a touch of what I would qualify as a grungy penchant, which doesn’t sound out of place at all in this picture, being delivered into one quality packaging that deserves some serious props. ”Mandatory Purgatory” goes into high-profile thrash slaying that sincerely doesn’t bullshit in terms of speed and free-for-all whirlwinds of nuclear riffage. Still, the impact of this short but sweet cut pales in comparison to the progressive and highly memorable ”Countdown to Oblivion”. It’s a hooky, and unpredictable cut, and brings one fact to light: Smoot was a solidly skillful prog metal composer. This cut houses stellar atonal leads, and the intoxicating gallop seems to gain strength of impact especially around the 2.40 minute mark, going into this trippy, brutal, and positively crazy buildup topped by some of the most ape soloing on this entire record.

”The Gauntlet” makes another one of ’em U-Turns into a blacker valley, and since it’s a facet of the man’s sound that this disc is getting me to appreciate more and more, I sure am glad he explores it to a good reach of potential all across the board. The lead flourishes are very interesting to listen to. The bass doodling around mid-track bends the direction and mood of the track straight out of the woodwork, but the unfathomable descent deep down into the intestines of the earth ’round the end of the song’s duration gets the threatening feel back on board in a very brilliant way. ”When Worlds Collide”s first half seems more like an improvisation of experimental idea elaborations than anything else, which is all well and good, following in the envelope-pushing voicing of this venture. It has quite the slow, albeit focused progression. The riffs are slashing, evolving atop of various drum patterns, and eventually morphing into a down-tempo hardcore in the same brand as The Acacia Strain‘s. It’s menacing, slashing, and imposing. The licks in this track are absolutely singular. ”Mutilation” follows in with that same train of thought, going into a dark and cut-throat mid-tempo march that eventually incorporates a moderate touch of a thrash kick. Yet again, the drum patterns are very nuanced, keeping the attack fresh and dynamic. The ambiance is absorbing, creating a double-axe-sharp noir feel. ”Hollow Tree” builds into this strongly psychedelic pattern with Cory’s vocals swirling in and out of focus in a bit of a spacey way. This is followed by very spontaneous riffery paving the way to a mid-paced and beautifully doomy valley that reaches a very impromptu shift in pace around the 2.40 minute mark building to one absolutely unique, psychotropic, and experimental ending. It’s entertainingly oddball, and somewhat eerie. ”Sloth Loves Chunk” is the one album closer no one could expect from a friggin’ mile, meshing prog fusion and vintage rock. It’s one heck of a spontaneous way to seal the deal, showing that without a doubt, Smoot was inspired by all types of eclectic creations in the music universe.

This album has plenty of surprises to offer to absolutely everyone, be it fans, or non-fans of GWAR; there’s educative know-how on this work of art and it’s a very heartfelt, and dedicated affair. It’s pretty damn killer for exactly what it is, and it’s sure to take countless folk aback with its imaginative and dynamic layout.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Noch
June 22nd, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    I’ve ordered this. I’m a huge GWAR fan and I’m really looking forward to hearing this album. Especially if it is half as good as you say. Cory Smoot RIP.


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