I don’t like the way this album sounds, all muffled and muddy and kind of smashed in the parts that should be more dense and dramatic. All the space was used for the drums – which are admittedly ridiculous because Derek Roddy is a machine – but everything else, including Steve Austin’s vocals, get very little room to breathe. The man has destroyed his voice over years of dedicated screaming, but despite this – and as every other Today Is The Day release shows – the processing and layering used sounds great with a bit more room to bounce around.
Stylistically, this is more along the lines of 2004’s Kiss The Pig, their last album on Relapse; their split with the label is covered on “Broken Promises and Dead Dreams” in the typically amicable and friendly style that fans of Austin’s work are so familiar with:
“I should kill you / beat you black / corporate hit man / worse than bush / watch you burn / life in hell / relapse”
Now, Today Is The Day is a bit more subtle than the above would normally indicate – Austin writes a better song about the bitter remains of love, longing and regret than any other “extreme” (read: weird) metal band around. But it’s still largely a fuck everything, let’s get killed, don’t forget to blow stuff up on the way to the grave type of thing; “Total Resistance” is largely a list of weapons, explosives and exhortations. I love the hell out of both the opener and the closer, even if “IED” is 99% drums. “Desolation” ends the album, following the guitar haze of “Axis of Eden,”and is the sort of thing that separates these guys from the other menacing cookie monsters – at least in my mind. Rattling hats and a sinus drone becomes a half-time breakcore flipout.
I keep wanting to skip the silly punkiness of “Circus Maximus.” It’s a lot like the band’s really early albums, which isn’t really my thing. I think of them becoming something truly noteworthy with Temple of the Morning Star, though parts of Willpower are excellent.
I’ve only seen Today Is The Day live twice now; once at the excellent Club Europa in Greenpoint, and the other at the Knitting Factory, where I discovered Mouth of the Architect‘s excellence. Both times were amazing, though the Greenpoint show was part of a larger showcase and Austin played a solid-but-short 40 minute set.
Speaking of which, Today Is The Day will be playing a show at the Knitting Factory on November 5th, with stoner-sludge guys Weedeater and Love 666, some kinda “plunderphonic” internet kids thing, at least from what I can gather from the myspace site.