New Orlean’s (NOLA) hardcore punk infused doom and sludge legends Eyehategod have been throwing their sizeable weight around since 1988. The band have battled through more than their fair hare of heartache and pain, even managing to rebuild themselves in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. With lyrical themes tackling the hard hitting topics of a troubled life in NOLA, which mainly centres around drug addiction. Clawing and scraping their way to the top of the NOLA scene, the raw and uncompromising sound of Eyehategod is not for the feint of heart. The band seemed to have gone AWOL for the majority of the 2010s after dropping 2014s self-titled, what is considered a post-humous release for late drummer Joe LaCaze who died in 2013. So, after a long and agonising wait the band rear their ugly head after seven long years through feedback drenched, slow, brooding and fuzzing bluesy sludge riffs with A History Of Nomadic Behaviour.
The album is filled with the craziness of the band’s last three years touring exotic places, such as Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand to name a few. Fusing this chaotic experience with their usual misanthropy alongside political turmoil back home, global pandemic terror and remorseless hypocrisy all around, A History Of Nomadic Behaviour is a bruising listen. Whilst not a political band, lyrically you can feel that living in a divided country has taken its toll to some extent on Mike XI Williams, even if it is only subliminal. There is a new sensation with this album however, following the usual abstract and cryptic process that the band have become known for, there is an overarching primal fear of an invisible enemy sweeping a nation which is already sickened by police brutality and a rotting, corrupt system.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the album is how hard Mike performs, considering he overcame liver failure in the build up to making the album. All the live vocal energy of a full hardcore set, Mike’s rough, raw and visceral vocal delivery sounds stronger than ever. You can tell that A History Of Nomadic Behaviour has had a full seven years to manifest into it’s final form, yet like all COVID-19 albums it had a disjointed assembly and this factor adds to the unrelenting chaos and ultimately unsettling tone of the album. A History Of Nomadic Behaviour feeds off negativity and misery, and that is reflected within the distorted feedback and chromatic dynamism within the album’s riffs. With the compositions as a whole having more structural complexity yet containing the band’s signature rumbling grooves, the album offers up innovation inside the realms of a scathing, seething, scratching, slab dragging body of physically stressful cacophonous noise.
Leading singles ‘Circle Of Nerves’ and ‘Fake What’s Yours’ are the blues based sluggers that will have you relentlessly head banging into your stereo system, whilst songs like ‘High Risk Trigger’ and ‘The Outer Banks’ will fuel the aggressive tension within, making you want to thrash out in anger. The album as a whole has a strangely frantic cohesiveness from start to finish, capturing a variety of negative moods and making them incredibly catchy in the confines of chugging back beat rhythms. With a gritty, raw and crude production each song is delivered with vulgar malevolence, the album opens up with ‘Built Beneath Lies’ setting up the harsh tone from the beginning, making A History Of Nomadic Behaviour a misanthropic beast that doesn’t care how you feel. After a seven year wait, more turmoil than you can shake a stick at, and some damn good songwriting, A History Of Nomadic Behaviour hails the emphatic return of NOLA’s most antisocial yet resilient band.