Written by Kep
Memorrhage – Memorrhage
> Texas, US
> Releasing June 16
> Big Money Cybergrind
I’m going to be honest here: when Garry Brents (Cara Neir, Homeskin, Gonemage, Sallow Moth, etc.) announced that his new project was going to be a dedicated nu-metal outfit, I doubted. Not that he’d do it, because of course he would. And not that it would be quality music; Garry’s endeavors in death, grind, skramz, chiptune, black metal, and everything in between have been excellent. No, my doubt was about me. The thing is, I cut my heavy music teeth with Korn, Disturbed’s The Sickness, System of a Down, and Static-X, but this is 2023, there’s no way I would actually enjoy a fresh nu-metal band, right? I mean, let’s be real: isn’t nu-metal dead?
As it turns out, nu-metal isn’t dead, it was only sleeping, and Garry is the one man capable of waking it from its slumber. Straight up: Memorrhage rules, and this self-titled debut LP is a massively fun listen. The affection for the long-lost style is as evident in every moment of the album as it is in the wardrobe’s worth of Adidas tracksuits and System of a Down shirts that Garry resurrected for promo shots. There’s a bit of everything that made nu-metal such a phenomenon in here, from turntable swipes to funky as hell bass to screamed raps and emotional half-sung, half-wept vocals, and it comes together in a way that’s nothing short of infectious.
Yes, there’s nostalgia here, but this isn’t good because of nostalgia. No, Memorrhage is good because it’s far more than a tug on the strap of the bondage pants of memory. Memorrhage’s material feels undeniably fresh. I think it’s in the way that Garry adds in bits of other subgenres—notably grind and hardcore—and meshes them seamlessly, that makes this project feel distinct and not in a mere “fresh coat of paint” sense. It’s a concept that’s faithful to the core of nu-metal, after all, since experimentation and mishmashing outside genres into metal was how we got there in the first place. Much of the album notably channels the names you’d expect to downright delightful effect, but the more experimental moments are where the magic happens.
So, I hear you say, the big nu-metal bands all sounded quite different from one another; what does Memorrhage actually sound like? The most apparent influences to my ears are Slipknot, Mudvayne, Korn, Coal Chamber, and Spineshank…which I understand is still such a wide variety of sounds that it’s not very helpful. So think of the more aggressive, up-tempo tracks from those bands, particularly the ones that use predominantly harsh vocals. Subtract all the self-absorbed “I want to die” angst and replace it with grotesque sci-fi stories and allegories a la Fear Factory. Add a few minishots of industrial, hardcore, and grind, crank the fun factor to 11, shake, pour, and garnish with a little mathy twist. That’s Memorrhage.
Brents sure picked the right lead single in “Reek”, as it’s jam-packed with all of the stuff you loved about nu-metal, including turntable scratches (courtesy of guest Mr. Rager), eerie wobbly guitar lines in the Munky/Head style, tuneless emotional cleans that might remind you of Chino Moreno, and at least one passage of pure early Slipknot worship. But there’s a ton more to dig into here; the memorable moments are plentiful and there isn’t a track on the album that won’t put the hooks in. Strong opener “Memory Leak” has a damn infectious shouted chorus, and parts of “Exit” read almost like Static-X on stimulants, with upbeat party drums, syncopated bounce riffs galore, and megasized bass. You’ve got the strangely off-kilter headbangs that open “Finesse” and Linkin Park-esque rapped passages in “Old Wave”, and then “Lost” whips out 98 seconds of nu-grind. There are heavy twitching chunk riffs that remind of Mudvayne (check out the opening of “Knurl”) and uneasily dissonant stuttering passages that have that sort of mathy Converge flair to them (like in “Brain Wield”).
Garry’s vocals lean most notably toward Corey Taylor’s full-throated shout-screams, but as per usual for his projects he’s brought a wealth of guest talent along to enhance his work. Most of them are there for layering and additional colors, like how the tag team of Aki McCullough (Dreamwell, A Constant Knowledge of Death), Adam Bailey (Narakah), and Schuler Benson (Trocar) add multiple levels of harshness to “Exit”, or how Stilgar of Thecodontion pops in to lay down some brief cleans in the chorus of “Old Wave”. The clean vocals of Ilya Mirosh, though, take a major role on “Lunge” and the emotive “Utility” in the record’s home stretch, bringing a heartfelt and slightly grungey element to the forefront of Memorrage’s sound on those tracks. The guestwork is a fun nod to old school nu-metal, too; remember tracks like “Children of the Korn” with Ice Cube or Sepultura’s “Lookaway” with Jonathan Davis, Mike Patton, and DJ Lethal?
THE BOTTOM LINE
There’s no denying that Memorrhage is a damn good time, and you can feel Garry Brents enjoying the hell out of himself right through the speakers. It’s a love letter to nu-metal, sure, but it’s a damn good album independent of that, and if the nu-metal label bothers you then just forget about that. This is some of the most fun I’ve had listening to metal in 2023, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Memorrhage.