Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Altered States Of America

ASOA

If you are familiar with Agoraphobic Nosebleed and their way of doing things, then you’re probably staring at the title screaming ‘WHAT!?! HOW CAN YOU REVIEW THIS?!’. If this is the case, allow me to elaborate; it is not every day that I review an album with 99 tracks (technically 100 if you rewind the CD at the start). And I believe with the information I have already expressed; you’re starting to get the picture of how ‘peculiar’ this band are and this release is. Thus, I will try my very best to articulate a reasonable explanation for how ridiculous this release is as well as whether or not it’s worth listening to.

Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer & Anal Cunt fame directs the insanity through the programmed drums and guitars on this album, as well as two other contributing vocalists; Jay Randall (offering up incoherent bass) & Richard Johnson (with his disturbing samples & distortion appearing often). Collectively, Altered States Of America is a series of ‘movements’ with some songs coming as a pack or section due to their styles or song titles. An example of this being the ‘Days of Sodom’ covering tracks 35 to 46, featuring the fantastically hilarious lyrics for ‘The Third Day of Sodom: Serpent of the Gay Pride Rainbow’:
‘EVE GROWS HUGE DICK AND FUCKS SNAKE.’
Or the Aum Shrinkyo/Japanese-themed, semi-electronic (yes, this IS what it sounds like) series of songs from tracks 21 to 34 – largely consisting of just the song title being howled out, e.g: ‘The Tokyo Subway Gassing’; some even reeling out facts about their song title. ‘Crop Dusting’ utilising some heavily distorted vocals to explain:
‘Japan’s Aum doomsday cult, that masterminded the fatal nerve gas attack on Tokyo subways, considered spraying the drug LSD from the sky.’
Whilst some are simply series of soundbites that have been altered or distorted in some way: ‘Domestic Solution’ being a 4-second repeated line:
‘Kick the shit out of you.’
So it’s fair to say at a glance, there’s a fair bit of experimentation taking place here!

However, for the most part you’ll find some micro-blasting sections of furiously fast programmed drums with blazing riffs right behind; vocals howling over the top in a style that reminds you of powerviolence. Sometimes they are merely spoken, such as on ‘Guided Tour’ & ‘5 Band Genetic Equalizer Pt. 3’. Sometimes they are growled in a significant grindcore style, ‘Deviant Arousal’ & ‘Ten Pounds of Remains’ being fine examples. More often than not, all of the vocal styles are combined; whether this be ‘A Chance At Reprisal’ breaking from spoken voice into a harsh hardcore scream or ‘Poland Springfield Acidbag’ ripping across powerviolence to grindcore harsh vocals in the form of screams and growls; it really does feel that the vocal department is almost impromptu in its performance – but this is very satisfying and gives an individual flair to some songs.

Speaking of individuality, the electronic & audio sample songs offer up disturbing and unnerving perspectives that act as interludes to further establish the distorted atmosphere of Altered States Of America. ‘The Artificial Religious Experience’ including an spectacular combination in 6-seconds of both:
‘We can not only cut enemy communication, we can cook internal organs’
&
‘I feel like my heart is being touched by Christ.’
From the outset, absurdity is commonplace across all tracks. This being evidenced in some amazingly ridiculous lyrics. Allow me, if I may, to display some personal favourites of mine:

Track 57: ‘Human Enhancement’ – ‘Mescaline kimono, chilli peppers. Woman fucked by wolf.’
Track 68: ‘Marine Pornography’ (for Whale Cock Skateboards) – ‘I hump like a fuckin’ whale and piss wherever I want. Thar’ she blows from my fuckin’ dick hole, rolling down a rubber as old as the Dead Sea scrolls.’
and who could forget Track 14: ‘Drive By Blowjob on a Bicycle’ ‘Your mother’s a drive by blowjob on a bicycle peddling her ass all over town. Ho sweet ho, it’s all about her cash sniffin’ nose.’

The drums provide a level of suitable chaos due to the impossible gravity blasts and blast beats that encase every single song in a clusterfuck of snare & cymbals. However, sometimes they end up as simply too great a barrier for the rest of the instrumentation; blocking off the sound of Scott Hull’s guitarwork; despite the vocals being audible across practically every song they are featured in (there are only 2 instrumental tracks across the 99 on the album). Particularly when the band are on a streak of their ‘regular’ style of blasting insanity (largely coming across in the second half of the album); this becomes a big issue regarding the enjoyment one can receive from the instrumentation itself; but this in turn brings attention towards the lyrics, which never disappoint.

As aforementioned, due to the drums partly drowning out everything on the instrument side of things; Scott Hull rarely gets an opportunity to express his skills effectively. On the majority of songs, an opening riff can be heard for perhaps a second or half a second before the drums hit like a 50-megaton bomb and turn everything to dust. This causing the main riff to become incoherent unless the drums peter off momentarily for a change in pace or style. It’s a very Anal Cunt-esque way of songwriting that remains effective in the grind & noise format of presentation but in its basic practicality; it’s not the greatest idea. ‘Narcoterrorist Megalomaniac’ features the only solo on the album, which goes down pretty fantastically. So if you had to judge Scott Hull’s contributions to the album based on that track and the two instrumental tracks ‘Watching A Clown Point A Gun At A Small Dog (Reprisal)’ & ‘Scott Hulk on Intramuscular Steroids’ – yeah, he did a fine job.

Conclusion? Fuck, man. I have to write out the tracklisting!
Altered States Of America is a journey that’s worth taking all at once, despite its outrageous number of tracks – it works well as one explosive and ridiculous package that clocks in at around 19 and a half minutes. Dividing that by the tracklength – you end up with each track on the album being about 12 seconds in length.

Some songs will make you laugh. Some will make you cry. Some will make you shudder in disgust at their content. And the majority will just cause outright confusion.
In summary: A musical trip on the worst kind of drugs.

4/5

Tracklisting:
(HERE WE GO!)

0. “Wonder Drug Wonderland” 1:45
1. “Spreading the Dis-Ease” 0:56
2. “Ark of Ecoterrorism” 0:13
3. “Living Lolita Blowjob” 0:12
4. “Thawing Out” 0:15
5. “Need for Better Body Armor” 0:09
6. “Freeze Dried Cemetery” 0:20
7. “Children Blown to Bits by the Busload” 0:12
8. “Scoring in Heaven” 0:13
9. “Fuck Your Soccer Jesus” 0:05
10. “Guided Tour” 0:22
11. “Honky Dong” 0:08
12. “Famous Last Words” 0:18
13. “Osaka Korova Milk Bar” 0:17
14. “Drive-By Blowjob on a Bicycle” 0:12
15. “Ten Pounds of Remains” 0:07
16. “Utter Mental Retardation and Reversal of Man” 0:15
17. “Neotropolis Euphoria” 0:08
18. “Snitch Olympics” 0:16
19. “Crawling out of the Cradle into the Casket” 0:15
20. “Removing Locator Tooth” 0:06
21. “Aum Shinrikyo” 0:04
22. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” 0:04
23. “The Tokyo Subway Gassing” 0:04
24. “The Star of David” 0:04
25. “Shintaro Ishihara and the Rape of Nanking in World War 2” 0:05
26. “Mahikari” 0:12
27. “Micro-Tidal Wave” 0:04
28. “Crop Dusting” 0:12
29. “LSD as a Chemical Weapon” 0:14
30. “Illegal Manufacture” 0:08
31. “Drugging the Control Group” 0:10
32. “Alice in La La Land” 0:04
33. “Apocalypse as Mescaline Experience” 0:10
34. “The Artificial Religious Experience” 0:06
35. “The First Day of Sodom: Pussy Hair Prayer Rug” 0:05
36. “The Second Day of Sodom: Distortion in Eden” 0:04
37. “The Third Day of Sodom: Serpent of the Gay Pride Rainbow” 0:04
38. “The Fourth Day of Sodom: Snaking Adam’s Black Apple” 0:04
39. “The Fifth Day of Sodom: Like a Cretin on Christmas Eve” 0:04
40. “The Sixth Day of Sodom: Boston Hardcore Caligula” 0:05
41. “The Seventh Day of Sodom: Fantasizing Hydrahead” 0:07
42. “The Eighth Day of Sodom: Lamb of the Rotisserie God” 0:04
43. “The Ninth Day of Sodom: Holiday Bowl Full of Asshole” 0:04
44. “The Tenth Day of Sodom: Enter the House of Feasting” 0:05
45. “The Eleventh Day of Sodom: Passing Blunts and Cunts at Relapse” 0:05
46. “The Twelfth Day of Sodom: When Taking a Shit Feels Sexy” 0:07
47. “Poland Springfield Acidbag” 0:19
48. “Rectal Thermometer” 0:11
49. “Lemonade and a Snickers Bar” 0:05
50. “Necro-Cannibalistic Tendencies in Young Children” 0:08
51. “Bombs with Butterfly Wings” 0:09
52. “Watching a Clown Point a Gun at a Small Dog (reprise)” 0:16
53. “Mosquito Holding Human Cattle Prod” 0:24
54. “For Just Ten Cents a Day…” 0:25
55. “Mental Change(s): Altered Consciousness” 0:06
56. “Radical Modernism” 0:04
57. “Human Enhancement” 0:04
58. “Juxtaposed Impacts” 0:04
59. “Unprecedented Experiment” 0:04
60. “Transparent Enclosure” 0:09
61. “Bong Hit Wonder” 0:08
62. “Opening to Personals Ad by Richard Johnson” 0:14
63. “Relapse Refusing U.N. Weapons Inspectors” 0:09
64. “Neural Linguistic Programming” 0:12
65. “The Fag vs. the Indian” 0:05
66. “Black Metal Transvestite” 0:18
67. “Debbie Does Dishes” 0:04
68. “Marine Pornography (For Whale Cock Skateboards)” 0:18
69. “Keeping a Clean Kennel” 0:04
70. “Baby Mill Pt. 1 (Born and Sold into Child Slavery)” 0:07
71. “Firearms for All Faiths” 0:12
72. “Domestic Solution” 0:04
73. “Definition of Death” 0:39
74. “Discolored” 0:10
75. “Scott Hulk on Intramuscular Steroids” 0:09
76. “4 Leeches (40,000 Leeches)” 0:55
77. “Group Taking Acid as Considered Conspiracy Against the Government” 0:06
78. “Small Room and a Six-Pack” 0:06
79. “Deviant Arousal” 0:06
80. “Unbound by Civilized Properties” 0:08
81. “They All Burned!” 0:12
82. “Shotgun Funeral” 0:04
83. “Homophobic Assbleed” 0:05
84. “Exacting Revenge on Pets” 0:08
85. “Baby Mill pt. 2 (White Russian)” 0:07
86. “Narcoterrorist Megalomaniac” 0:25
87. “Releasing a Dove from a Ghetto Rooftop” 0:08
88. “Bipartisan Buttfuck” 0:14
89. “Bent over the Cross” 0:25
90. “A Chance at Reprisal” 0:15
91. “Altered Ego” 0:17
92. “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” 0:21
93. “Latter Day Mormon Ritual” 0:18
94. “5-Band Genetic Equalizer, Pt. 3” 0:21
95. “Absurd Boast” 0:10
96. “Burning Social Interest” 0:11
97. “Whore Torn Vet” 0:10
98. “Obi Wan Kaczynski” 0:12
99. “Placing a Personal Memo on the Boss’s Desk” 0:13
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