Skirting the sound room clippings of the likes of Marilyn Manson, Mindless Self Indulgence, Brokencyde, and Deftones, it would be inappropriate to directly compare those acts with the San Francisco-based act. In fact, it would be inappropriate to compare the band as a strictly singular genre-based act at all, considering the fact their self-appointed genre is “Doom Pop”. While it may sound apt, the truth is a bit stickier.

In simplest terms, Death Valley High is for people who still like zombies (and not just because their music videos are overwhelmingly focused on the subject matter). Even after Walking Dead helped bring about a resurgence of interest while still in its comic book format, and then bludgeon it into oblivion over the course of its televised iteration, exhausting a once-reputable subgenre, there are still people that can appreciate the format. Death Valley High manages to straddle the line between schlock and art by making sure not to take itself too seriously. They do skirt the line, and that’s where the whole structure threatens to collapse, especially at its most juvenile, such as the closing track on the album being a musical rendition of the popular children’s nursery rhyme “There Was An Old Lady”.

The problem the author has is that this is by no means serious, or even ‘good’ music. That might sting, but the band is clearly capitalizing off of juvenile humour and trends in music today. Consider the almost comical amount of effort put into their music videos, or their approaching-Black-Veil-Brides aesthetic. Or the album title, a tongue-in-cheek jab at the legion of take-themselves-too-seriously-at-any-cost kvlt bands that have helped bring about an even larger outpouring of generic harshcore. Perhaps this last point is partially why the author can’t entirely hate the album itself.

That and it’s unfortunately fucking catchy. Every hook in every song has an earworm quality, and while none of it will stay on my library longer than the end of this review, it also can’t be denied that there’s been far more time humming synth and guitar patterns from their album than one would be willing to admit. Every instinctual response that is set against listening to bands from the late 90’s, early 00’s nu-metal scene manages to succumb a lot of the time while listening to this album, for better or worse.

Ultimately, this album may be too poppy and silly for industrial and nu-metal enthusiasts, too heavy for party rotations, and too… everything for hardcore, kvlt, or metal enthusiasts, and at most may endure as a private guilty pleasure for these sets. On the other hand, the author has a feeling that the prominent pop sensibility of the album may just take the next generation of youth interested in industrial and nu-metal by storm.

CVLT [AS FVK] Track Listing:

01. Sunshine Cleaners
02. Warm Bodies
03. Psalm Bitch
04. Ick Switch
05. Play Dead
06. Groei Donker (Grow Dark)
07. The Bad Book
08. Merci [Fvkt]
09. 1213 [As Many Fvcks]
10. Flowers For Amy Deville
11. Tiptoe Thru The 2 Crypts
12. There Was An Old Lady

Run Time: 43:12
Release Date: November 4, 2016

Check out the song “Psalm Bitch”

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