by Jordan J. Michael (@jordwhyjames)
Despite carrying a general disdain for humanity, Chicago’s Oozing Wound has a lot of excitement and adventure swirling around in its realm. Weed lovers who love to head bang -- the band motto is “three dudes and the desire to slay” -- Kyle Reynolds (drums), Kevin Cribbin (bass), and Zack Weil (guitar and vocals) have crafted a discography of thrash-sludge-metal-noise that laughs in the face of destruction.
Oozing Wound knows how to pen an awesome song title: “Everyone I Hate Should Be Killed,” “Welcome to the Spaceship, Motherfucker,” and “Autopsy Turvy” from 2013’s Retrash; “Ganga Gremlin” (split with Black Pus); “Bury Me With My Money,” “Hippie Speedball,” and Colonel’s Kernel” from 2014’s Earth Suck; “Mercury In Retrograde Virus” and “You Owe Me, Iommi” from 2016’s Whatever Forever; and now, on new album High Anxiety, “Surrounded By Fucking Idiots” and “Tween Shitbag.” See, there is much happening with Oozing Wound; High Anxiety is on “nuclear waste green” color vinyl, and there were only two remaining copies in Thrill Jockey’s store when I checked. You’re probably too late, but at least you can stream it, dirt bag.
Digging at people who visit The Empty Bottle, rude music industry players, and The Flat Earth Society, High Anxiety is militant, an incredibly fast rouse of sick, catchy rhythms. By the half-way point, the proceedings are already memorable. Oozing Wound creates a whirlwind of jams while meticulously playing their instruments. The high-hat is a whisper (“Vein Ripper”), and the hands start to sweat. High Anxiety is ceremonious.
Oozing Wound tracked for four days at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio with Gregoire Yeche, the French engineer who has recording credits with Pelican, Tim Kasher, and Shellac. Seems like a worthy investment of captivating complexity, ferocious rock with an affinity for being progressive. Yeche is really good at blending the mix, for example the rhythm that rises slowly on “Filth Chisel,” or the bass haze on “Tween Shitbag” that buries the guitar and drums. Evil metal plods on High Anxiety, but the instrumentation is very fun.
The head-nod lurch of “Birth of a Flat Earther” was an instant reminder of when Oozing Wound played the new song back in December at Sleeping Village; now we know that the live moment can be put to a name. The filled room had no idea what song it was in December, but the entire crowd was nodding. Oozing Wound is good, fast or slow.
High Anxiety goes back to the seven-track, 30-something minute Long Play of Retrash and Earth Suck; Whatever Forever was 10 tracks in 48 minutes. High Anxiety starts in a reign of feedback and interesting drum hits (Reynolds bangs the toms like a King), and never lets up. Weil bark-talks into the microphone -- “not paranoid, just can’t trust myself,” “I know it’s just the drugs but I feel real well” -- pick up the lyrics where you can. “Riding the Universe” falls into a last-minute conversation of “Oozing Wound being too heavy metal for them.”
For who, exactly? Is there something wrong with heavy metal, sir? Get the hell out of my face so I can go listen to some more Oozing Wound while drinking Old Style and chilling with the turtles, skulls, and the vegetation. A flood is coming.