Chicago noise collective, meth. have been a name worth keeping in mind since the release of 2017’s The Children Are Watching. What started out as the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Seb Alvarez would evolve into a sextet whose 2018 recording, I Love You, would be the first to showcase all six musicians. This fifteen-minute prologue would detail the dark and twisted plight of a man brainwashed into a prison of the belief that he is God leading “The Choir of Red Light.”
Enter present day and the group’s latest effort, Mother of Red Light (pre-order/save options here) which continues said storyline; We travel further into the mind of the story’s leader as he deals with his broken soul and fascination with The Choir of Red Light’s evil matriarch. This quick contextual breakdown may sound a bit crazy but just wait until you hear the music. Clocking in at just under 45 minutes, this nine-song masterpiece is not for the faint of heart.
While the record is still brain battering, we see the group taking a step back from the bombastic, experimental metalcore sound that is slathered all over their first two releases. If that’s all you’re after though, fear not, the band made damn sure the presence of heaviness is known even if kept to a more limited amount (see “Child Of God” and “Return Me [My Body]”).
There’s zero chance “Her Womb Lays Still” after hearing this song:
You’ll find yourself lost in the insanity before an abrupt transition into these beautifully eerie moments (“Swallowed Conscience,” “Psalm Of Life”) that compliment the abrasiveness so well. Thereafter, straight-up riffs abound and they’re very welcome indeed. “Inbred” is a standout track of note for not only the mid-tempo instrumentals but also the moment in the record where Alvarez is at his most vocally emotional. Without context, by the song’s end, you can’t help but feel concerned. Incorporating all of the aforementioned elements, this single seems to have it all.
As mentioned, the album clocks in near the 45-minute mark. Approximately a quarter of that goes to its closer, “The Walls, They Whisper.” Starting out as spoken word, the tune slowly but surely builds up into pure insanity, reminiscent of the title track of Converge’s Jane Doe . The song closes with five minutes of static before we get a sweet surprise that made me jump upon first listen. Being very critical of how albums end, this was a perfect way to cap off meth.’s newest work.
This album (like a lot of the subgenres into which it falls) is insane. But with the context of the lyrics and the haunting use of electronic sounds and whining guitars all around, Mother of Red Light stands out from other similar releases. If you don’t finish your first listen feeling like a crazy person, you’re doing it wrong.
A recent press photo of meth. looking… methodical:
Mother of Red Light Track Listing:
01. Fill Me
02. Child Of God
03. Swallowed Conscience
04. Her Womb Lays Still
06. Cold Prayers
07. Psalm Of Life
08. Return Me (My Body)
09. The Walls, They Whisper
Run Time: 44:38
Release Date: August 23, 2019
Record Label: Prosthetic Records