Car Bomb - Mordial | Album Review

If there is a label to keep an eye on at the moment, it would have be Holy Roar. 2019 has seen the release of two pioneering records with Conjurer and Pijn’s Curse These Metal Hands and MØL's I/II, just to name a few. To put it simply, Car Bomb’s fourth release is unreasonably good. It is the auditory journey of being thrashed up and down in the ocean, smashed between pressure zones, observing both chaos and beauty.

The Long Island four piece made their debut with Centralia in 2007, and following some runs with Gojira, Car Bomb gained deserved attention with their follow up w^w^^w^w. This ferocious album was followed by 2015’s Meta, building on their signature sound. Where Djent followed up the sound of swedish giants Meshuggah, Car Bomb provided an inspired yet refreshing style of music. The band has spoken of their tastes outside of metal, and this album provides resounding evidence of their vision. Mordia’ is a broad palette, blending a multitude of flavours without producing anything messy or over-worked.

Listeners were first exposed to the single ‘Dissect Yourself’ earlier this year, which was a promising cut from the fabric of what Mordial is. This track demonstrates everything there is to love about Car Bomb, who push their instruments to the extreme. Pick scrapes, tapping, riffs that seem to dive in tuning as they are being played. At times the track feels like a barrage of laser fire. Listeners could be forgiven for questioning whether guitarist Greg Klepaki, or any members of the band, are human. Perhaps there is no time like now where pushing the boundaries of heavy music has been more difficult, yet Car Bomb make it seem simple. Everything on Mordial is on the bleeding edge of metal.

There is something about Mordial that clings to the eardrums far more than Car Bomb’s previous releases, no matter how powerful they have been. Mordial is Car Bomb at their most raw, yet at their most collected and shapely sound. ‘Blackened Battery’ is a pure demonstration of virtuosity, mixing a signature time signature defying explosion of riffs with intricate instrumental sections. The record contrasts brutality with some more open sounding sections, at times almost Jesu sounding, a kind of industrial-shoegaze element. Again in the closing track ‘Naked Fuse’, the limits of traditional metal guitar performance are smashed to pieces with breakneck riffs and evil-genius like precision.

Car Bomb have toyed with ‘cleaner’ sections throughout their musical career. Clean in the sense that vocalist Michael Dafferner provides sung vocals over wider sounding sections. On Mordial these shine brighter than ever before, demonstrated perhaps at their best on the opening track ‘Fade Out’, or among some of the most darkly beautiful sections on ‘Xoxoy’ with its guest chilling, angelic vocals.

It would be far too easy to describe Car Bomb with comparisons to other artists, ‘a crazed lovechild of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Fear Factory and Meshuggah. But such comparisons do no justice whatsoever and Mordial is testament to this. This album is a treat to the ears and cannot be described merely by words. This is 11 tracks (12 counting the instrumental intro) of pure excellence. Some albums may leave listeners thinking ‘God, I wish I wrote that riff’. Mordial transcends such thoughts with impossibly tight tracks that have excelled a very strong back catalogue. Car Bomb have set the bar very high indeed.

Score: 10/10

Mordial is released September 27th via Holy Roar Records


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