You do not fuck with javelina. We have ‘em here in Arizona – big wild pigs out in the desert, usually sleeping under mesquite during the day but out foraging for food at night. Get too close to one – or worse, the babies – and they’ll charge you, running you down and tearing your calves into bloody ribbons with two sharp, nasty little tusks. And here’s the kicker – they’re not even pigs. Javelina are actually peccaries, which makes them closer to rats. So yeah, we have big fucking rats running around the desert at night here. As if the scorpions, tarantulas and rattlesnakes weren’t enough.

This particular Javelina comes from Philadelphia and features members of Lickgoldensky, SMUT and Otophobia/Endless Nightmare, but they’re equally as surly and dangerous. Their debut is an onslaught of sludgy, bluesy riffs, tight and varied drumming, a coarse hardcore bellow, and tons of groove. It’s similar to the kind of Southcore you’ve heard from High on Fire, except for one nasty litle detail – a raw, harsh black metal rasp that tears through the majority of the tracks. That vicious rasp adds a dimension of ferocity here that I think the bludgeoning shout couldn’t achieve on its own – it’s just like those sharp little tusks on an angry, squealing beast. (I’m a big fan of raw vocals on this kind of smoky, groovy ‘core, but I haven’t heard it often enough. Last band that comes to mind is defunct San Francisco stoner-doom act Brainoil, who combined crackling Sabbath riffs with corroded, smoker’s-lung death vocals. This is even cooler.)

Despite its heft, the music here is surprisingly agile. After “1000 Pound Man,” a fairly predictable, lumbering opener that only features the bellowed vocals, “Let the Blood Flow” rushes out of the darkness, screaming and snarling. Meaty, catchy riffs and a frenzied tempo keep it running along at a full gallop (or whatever javelina do), and then the band catches up with you in “Gored to Death,” where the dual vocal attack is used to full, chaotic effect.

Compositions throughout the album are strong, flow well and keep it varied – the dynamics recall some of Mastodon‘s more frenzied work, but the tracks never get too far away from their primary purpose, which is to tear shit up. Javelina also knows how to slow it down to a surly growl. “Ghost Pain” opens with an evil, sinuous riff that screams South of Heaven, and “Architect” swaggers with pure Southern meanness.

This was an impressive debut and something I’ll be returning to throughout the summer. It’s as pissed-off as a 300-lb beast charging out of the underbrush, but it still knows how to have a good time. In other words, perfect for using a really big knife to butcher your own barbecue.

That’ll do, rat. That’ll do.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
June 20th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Quite a cool band, your review made me want to check it out. Loved the final comment and the constant comparisons to the animal. This is some of your best work, Gaba.

  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    thanks Cyn-Cyn!
    yeah they’re a fun one. was just listening to that again on my way to work this morning. probably made the people next to me in traffic kinda mad.

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