Saturday, August 17, 2013

Smash Potater - In Buffet There Is No Law!

You'd be amazed how fucking awesome this is

I go on about hometown thrashers all the time, usually referring to Chicago bands, but I have a confession to make... I'm not from Chicago.  Nope, I live in Oswego, which is about forty-ish miles from the city limits, about an hour drive with traffic.  Oswego itself is kind of a nebulous entity, with a southern half absolutely smothered in farmland, and everything else I thought to be within the city limits actually residing within the territories of neighboring areas (how we have a population of thirty thousandish is a fucking mystery to me).  But one of those areas right next door is Aurora.  Yes, the Aurora from Wayne's World (though the movie was filmed in Toronto, the more ya know!).  It's the second most populous city in Illinois (it's basically a 45 square mile ghetto with a casino wedged along the Fox River), but in the world of heavy metal, it should be known for a grand total of two things; the cult speed metal juggernaut of Amulance, and the current kings of homegrown crossover, Smash Potater.

In a way, Smash is probably the most frustrating band in the universe, because they are good.  They are very, very good, but their predilection for silly toilet humor and general carefree attitude will likely prevent them from growing very far beyond the borders of local celebrity status.  I mean, they've cozied up with big name acts like Lich King, but I fear their superficial appeal is limited.  I mean let's face it, a crossover band who clearly has lighthearted irreverence in mind over nut ripping intensity is going to turn off a vast majority of metal fans.  And therein lies the problem: Smash Potater is nut rippingly intense.  Their riffs are extraordinarily well written, their songs are succinct, punchy, and powerful, and since the addition of Brian Koz, the backup vocals have taken a sharp turn into the deep and guttural. 

Obviously, there is a gargantuan influence from the obvious punctuated suspects like D.R.I. and M.O.D. to be found on their newest EP, In Buffet There Is No Law!, but unlike most bands slapped with the "crossover thrash" label, the deja vu never gets irritating.  The energy here is absolutely through the roof, with all ten minutes of this short release being packed to the rafters with ripping riffage and vitriolic shouting.  Koz's deep growls are an awesome complement to Esquivel's frenzied yelling, and they help the band stand out a little bit amongst the glut of samey sounding crossover in America.  Even without the excellent gutturals, the riffwork stands firmly on the thrash metal side of the dichotomy of their genre, sounding much more like Municipal Waste than any given hardcore punk band.

And that's the thing, if you're not a Municipal Waste fan, you are not the target audience for Smash Potater.  The main people behind the band are also behind Big Dick Records and write songs about absurdist lunacy and pop culture and food jokes (GEE I WONDER WHY I LIKE THEM).  It's a very juvenile, Adult Swim type humor that won't resonate with most people, and that's what makes them fall into such a weird niche that they'll probably never break out of.  On one hand, it's a shame because I've been watching this band release demo after EP after split after EP for a while now and they just keep getting better and better, whereas Diamond Plate nabbed the popularity I was so hoping for them to get before turning to shit.  On the other hand, Smash has found a home in these filthy halls of pizza nachos party thrash and have just been completely owning it since day one.  They clearly have no desire to break out from where they're comfortable, and at the same time, despite me wishing their exposure and fanbase would spread, I really don't think they should wander away from what they've been doing.  They're fucking good at this, and suddenly ditching all the fat jokes in favor of socially conscious lyrics would absolutely ruin the spirit of the band.  They have the musical chops, tightness, and compositional skills to rank in the mid-upper echelon of modern thrash, but instead choose to use this talent to write odes to buffet lines and reality television.  It's great seeing talented people harness their skills to simply have fun, and clearly nobody is having more fun than Smash.  I respect this band more than 99% of all modern thrash bands currently releasing music right now, because these guys are true to themselves more than anybody else, and they happen to be excellent musicians, songwriters, and most of all, thrashers.

The band's mascot is named Monstercock Smashington, and it's a man in a chicken suit who starts and maintains all the mosh pits during the band's shows.  If that doesn't give you an idea of the immature fervor that the band so greatly exudes, then I don't know what will.  I know the joke is THRASH RIFTS SO FUN and Smash is pretty much the perfect example of such a mindset, but unlike most shitty bands with this attitude, they actually fucking rule.  They're pretty much a massive exception to the common stereotype of post 90s thrash metal, and deserve a chance from any self proclaimed thrasher.

The best part about all this?  They release all of their music for free.  SO GET ON IT.

RATING - 89%

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