Still existing resolutely under the radar after a good few years of touring and recording, Only Fumes And Corpses fly in the face of convention with their latest musical “fuck you” – Selfish Act II. The record sees the Irish punks challenging not just their own musical abilities and powers of song construction but their listener’s expectations by releasing a single seventeen minute track. The release sees the band striving for longevity in their song writing, the polar opposite to 2012’s Selfish Act I which contained thirteen tracks in even fewer minutes and encompassed a staggering array of disparate elements into a selection of rollicking breakneck hardcore punk tunes. It’s refreshing and encouraging to see a band who have yet to fully assert themselves within the scene challenging themselves and looking upon compromise as a declaration of weakness; utilising unorthodoxy as an integral part of the group’s outlook and refusing to bow down to whatever pithy fad is currently being nurtured by the fickle hype machine.
Selfish Act II is all raging hardcore, underpinned by some rather ruthless drumwork with sticksman Benny deserving upmost credit for managing to keep his arms attached to his body through repeated flurries of devious fills and blastbeat workouts – cruelly denying himself any respite for the entire duration of the track. Reigning in the genre spanning intuitions of Selfish Act I, the group’s musical vision casts a smaller net than its predecessor whilst upping the intensity and brutal nature of their vast array of riffs. For a seventeen minute song, Only Fumes And Corpses aren’t keen on simply filling out time through any ambience or atmospheric interludes as would most bands undertaking a song whose length lays within the realms of prog rock territory. But once the obligatory opening wall of feedback has pricked up ours ears, the band kick into a furious demonstration of impossibly fast hardcore. The anger is still there for all to see – vocalist Momme quite clearly monumentally pissed-off like any true punk should be in these worrisome contemporary times. He rails gruffly against societal ills through thinly veiled analogies covered in a generous layer of caustic bile that will make you sympathise with his long suffering vocal chords.
A level of frantic immediacy is maintained throughout much of the self-titled track, speed injected into their playing whenever the pace begins to slack – everything careering towards cataclysm via a brief two-step friendly excerpt complete with cheeky pinch squeal for good measure. The closing minutes foreground the guitarist’s abilities. Fingers dance across the frets, apparently never keen to linger on a single chord for more than a second, instead digressing into spasmodic tremolo-picked twenty-notes-per-second runs. It’s scrappy as hell, but a million times more listenable than any Dragonforce fret wankery.
It’s disorientating at first – seventeen minutes of continuous screaming and intense hardcore clattering appears a little hard to digest. After a few listens however, structure becomes tangible and there’s a realisation that there may even exist a deceptive chorus amongst all the hell-bent ferocity. Together with the first part of Only Fumes And Corpses Selfish Act series, the Irish punks have more than proved their competence and much needed desire to suggest alternatives to homogenous hardcore and its tired clichés. If justice were always to prevail, Selfish Act II should be the release that lifts Only Fumes And Corpses from obscurity and into the hearts and minds of the multitude of pissed-off kids across the country.
4 out of 5 high fives!