Tuesday, May 25, 2010

FAXED HEAD - EXHUMED AT BIRTH (1997)


Why isn't Faxed Head more of a "thing"? I don't get it.
I mean, let's look at it rationally: this is a band fronted by a minor celebrity (Neil Hamburger) and featuring two members of Mr. Bungle (not to mention the equally disturbing Caroliner). If pressed, I would tentatively categorize their music (on this album, at least) as punk-and-death influenced experimental black metal (which the kids love nowadays), featuring equal amounts self-imposed obscurity and over-the-top, off-the-wall instrumentation. Shouldn't Faxed Head be a "thing"? What am I missing?

Now, I'm no huge fan of Mr. Bungle (it's mostly Patton issues), but Faxed Head does share certain conceptual points of interest with them. Luckily, the similarities are almost entirely analogous to Bungle's earliest, basement-thrash demo stuff (Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny, etc.) and not their later meanderings in R&B, soul, or what have you. This is sloppy, stupid, bashing-your-forehead-into-a-wall foolishness, at times quiet and faux-introspective but most often chugging forth full-force on a freight train made of blastbeats, tremolo riffs, and croaked vocals.
McPatrick Head, Neck Head, Jigsaw Puzzle Head, LaBrea Tar Pits Head, and Fifth Head have been churning out their ridiculous mental-patient metal since 1992, dropping EPs, splits, and demos of varying quality like turds in their wake. Their first full-length release, 1995's Uncomfortable But Free, is an absolute abortion of no-budget anti-production (on purpose, of course), but Exhumed At Birth finds them in the midst of what is presumably their most "listenable" phase (read as: "pretty much almost unlistenable"), still bathed in a thick, viscous miasma of blanketing fuzz but playing actual songs nonetheless.
There is no other word to better describe this album than "RIDICULOUS". It is so lowbrow it is high art. Avant garde fart jokes, Jackson Pollock diarrhea finger-painting in a loony bin. Faxed Head are harbingers of the art-pocalypse, malfunctioning minstrels disgorging their psychiatric manifesto from the bowels of a small-town Taco Bell bathroom.

From Faxed Head's "official" bio: "In 1991, while cleaning up roadside trash on Interstate 5 as part of a probationary sentence for shoplifting, a young Coalinga High music student discovered a box of "death metal" music CDs that had fallen out of a UPS truck bound for San Francisco. He shared his discovery with his small circle of friends and they quickly became obsessed with the music’s imagery and dark lyrics. This did not endear them to the Coalinga locals (whose tastes run more towards "modern country" and Contemporary Christian pop), and soon the small group of teens became outcasts at Coalinga High School and in our community-at-large. An addiction to the harmful practice of "sniffing glue" caused the quick decay of the boys’ judgment, and one dark night, while feeling sorry for themselves, they made a suicide pact. After stealing a shotgun from under one of their father’s beds, they made their way out to the cotton fields of Coalinga and attempted a mass suicide by self-inflicted gunshot. Fortunately, the youths survived. However, the force of the blasts left them physically (and to a certain extent, mentally) handicapped. The boys were placed in a series of county and state rehabilitation programs. While undergoing physical reconstruction and mental therapy at the Coalinga Youth Hospice, the now-repentant teens decided to embark on a more positive venture: they decided to form a band."

You are now in on the joke. Deal with it.

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13 comments:

Manslaughter said...

Every time I pull into Coalinga on the way down to L.A. I blast "Coalinga Core". It cracks me up every time.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff and I agree - fuck Mike Patton right in his cholo ass.

Anonymous said...

Neil Hamburger? Black Metal? What?

Shelby Cobras said...

It's true, unless the joke runs even deeper than I'm aware of...

BrundleflyKT said...

I'm sort of upset. I would consider myself a new reader of this blog and i really do consider it the finest the net has to offer. It rocks my socks, and sometimes makes me feel a little gay. I have a hard time keeping up with the volume of great and sometimes just strange albums you provide (does someone smell shit?).........

Anyway, the Neil Hamburger prank phone call shit album-thing. The godamn thing was an abomination to comedy, seriously. I'm a huge fan of prank phone calls (real life, Jerky Boys, etc). I'm not sure how any human being could find that funny in any way, on any of the tracks. WTF FTW. Why would you do this to me illcon, i trusted you.


Well I'm really looking forward to this album though, cant wait to hear it.

Your biggest fan,
BrundleflyKT

BrundleflyKT said...

I'm sort of upset. I would consider myself a new reader of this blog and i really do consider it the finest the net has to offer. It rocks my socks, and sometimes makes me feel a little gay. I have a hard time keeping up with the volume of great and sometimes just strange albums you provide (does someone smell shit?).........

Anyway, the Neil Hamburger prank phone call shit album-thing. The godamn thing was an abomination to comedy, seriously. I'm a huge fan of prank phone calls (real life, Jerky Boys, etc). I'm not sure how any human being could find that funny in any way, on any of the tracks. WTF FTW. Why would you do this to me illcon, i trusted you.


Well I'm really looking forward to this album though, cant wait to hear it.

Your biggest fan,
BrundleflyKT

Steven said...

This album went right over my head when I first heard it 13 years ago (yikes...), perhaps it's time to revisit Trey's sickness.

I'll admit it. I love Bungle. The secret song on their second album and "None of Them Knew They Were Robots" are solidly in my top 20 songs of all time. So sue me.

Shelby Cobras said...

BrundleflyKT: Thanks for the kind words. Your shitty taste in comedy is 100% forgiven.

Gary said...

Shelby, one question. Is there any relation of your dislikeness (if such word exists) with the fact that both of you are from the same town? Is there any story you know about him you would like to share?

P.S. I'm not saying that is a sin to not loving MP work

Gary said...

sorry, I was talking about Mike Patton

Shelby Cobras said...

Yes, it has quite a bit to do with my dislikeness. Patton is a dick and I just don't find any Bungle beyond the clown album that appealing. Oh, I could tell stories, sure... But that's for another time...

BradethQ said...

I finally got around to listening to this at work this morning. Fuggin' weird, but good. The Al Gore song is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

There are not 2 Bungle members in FH, only 1.