MouthBreather may very well be my favorite music discovery of 2017. Founded about three years ago by guitarist Ryan and his friend—who has since left the band—this Lowell, Massachusetts experimental hardcore/grindcore outfit has been spewing vitriol on show-goers since its inception. As an escape from the generic day-to-day, a solution to the ho-hum existence that pervades so many lives, Ryan created MouthBreather to essentially save his own. Though two years old, no recorded MouthBreather material has been put out into the world. That is, until just a couple months ago, in October, when they dropped their debut, Pig.
The core trio (Ryan, Nick, and Anthony) comprising MouthBreather, the essence of the band, was not actually forged until the day of its recording. Nick enlisted as the mainstay drummer back in April this year and Anthony was exclusively playing bass for the band since December of 2016. But in a strange turn of events, Anthony ended up becoming MouthBreather’s vocalist after the then quartet’s vocalist quit the band while on their way to the studio to record Pig. This actually worked out in the band’s favor. And as a result, the trio coalesced an absurdly caustic seven-minute bombardment of sonic bludgeoning.
“Tourniquet” unleashes from Pig with a chugging riff and the grisly bass plodding in tow. Together they lockstep with the drums to create a cystic bursting groove. Anthony’s voice comes howling in; it is pure adrenaline. His words reek of nihilism. You did this to me, I was an accident; dump the bag in the river and make sure there are no cracks in it. These utterances that tear from his throat spurt a deluge of unhinged psychosis atop the cylinder-brick crunch of the instruments. Nick beckons in the mangled chorus with vociferous shrieks. I am waste, take up space; this is your fault; this is your fault. Then Anthony’s words devolve to exasperated barks; their meaning, boiled down to unadulterated anger as Ryan scourges the track with a dizzying cacophony of shrill notes. The trio recoils but a moment only to crash into a molten heap of convulsing misery. Pig barrels forth.
A dissonant riff picks the scab of “Intrigant”; hi-hat clasps begin to seep from beneath. It rips from the bone as Anthony excoriates the scab with his gnashing teeth. A blast beat bursts, the guitar tone becomes mechanical, grinding. From it lurches a ruthless breakdown; it corrodes rapidly; the tempo dissolves into an acidic thrashing of distortion and head banging. “Prometheus” gnaws with apoplectic thirst. The berserk drum pattern guts open the track, which is followed by a miasma of overwhelming feedback. And from this grating wall of bloody and tattered noise protrudes a rhythmic onslaught akin to The Dillinger Escape Plan. It is frantic, catchy, and unrelenting. “Ryan Goes to Rehab” passes, foreshadows the end; a dire resurgence of animosity lashes out. Then all falls quiet as “Religion and Tonic” broods in deranged confinement.
What’s remarkable about Pig is its destructiveness, its chaos, sounds calculated. But it’s not. The manic scrawling from Anthony’s nails and his delivery, the blistering riffs, the vile blasts and kicks; it was all penned just before Pig was recorded. The rawness bleeding from each cut is improvisation. This heightens the record’s impressiveness and materializes its intensity into blood chilling rage. What MouthBreather played live before this debut will remain in the memories of those attendees who witnessed their carnage; but for us newcomers, Pig is our first taste of their madness.
You can grab a digital copy of Pig for just a buck over at MouthBreather’s Bandcamp page. Keep an eye out for an upcoming podcast where I speak with Ryan, Nick, and Anthony about the origin of MouthBreather, the writing of Pig, their musical influences, and more. They are also contributing a track from this record to the upcoming compilation.