Unhealthy Mechanisms

Nuclear Blast
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Desert Carnage
02. Split Scalp
03. Tumors
04. Drug O-Cop
05. No Easy Way Out
06. M.D.A. (Most Dangerous Animal)
07. Chasm
08. Cyber Slavery
09. Blast Zone
10. Unhealthy Mechanisms

Max Cavalera has had an impressively productive year. Recording and touring have always been like oxygen for the great Brazilian, and more so than now than ever. After touring with CAVALERA CONSPIRACY and releasing widely acclaimed, re-recorded versions of SEPULTURA's "Bestial Devastation" and "Morbid Visions", he is bringing another year of militant service to a close with an unexpected second album from his rawest and more aggressive outfit to date.

Even by their leader's ineffable standards, GO AHEAD AND DIE's first, self-titled album was a gnarly and primitive explosion of riffs and noise. Less bound by production values than SOULFLY and free from the CONSPIRACY's nostalgic undertow, this is the kind of shit-kicking, punk-metal project that happens when established musicians want to feel like wide-eyed teenagers again.

Essentially a continuation of the first album's celebratory ugliness, "Unhealthy Mechanisms" gives no fucks whatsoever about winking at the mainstream or exploiting Max Cavalera's prestigious legacy. Instead, this is the sound of three men (new drummer Johnny Valles included) getting sweaty in a poorly lit room, hell-bent on strafing all-comers and utterly disinterested in smoothing away rough edges.

Announcing their return with a filthy blastbeat, GO AHEAD AND DIE are back and somehow even more gruesome and hostile than before. "Desert Carnage" is an act of pure exhilaration, as souped-up POSSESSED riffs are hurled at a rapacious, punk rock framework, and the whole steroidal enterprise hurtles towards oblivion with fire in its eyes and gleefully malicious smile. "Split Scalp" repeats the trick, but with a smattering of SOULFLY-like embellishments. "Tumors" is pure old-school death worship, with echoes of CELTIC FROST and early AUTOPSY and some of the sharpest riffs Cavalera has written in a while. The production is cold and crushing, with everything of significance sitting at the heart of the mix.

Nobody could mistake songs like furious hardcore grind-out "Drug-O-Cop" for lo-fi underground material, but the spirit that blazes away at the heart of these songs is as authentic and sincere as it gets. Consequently, the gas-guzzling psycho-punk of "No Easy Way Out" sounds permanently liable to career off the rails and descend into outright noise. Fortunately, the trio's songwriting is steeped in so many great and seminal inspirations that these songs' feral qualities are more than matched by their lethal and joyously heavy-handed delivery. A glorious, route one assault, "M.D.A. (Most Dangerous Animal" mixes the all-out punk attack of early POISON IDEA with the filthiest thrash imaginable, topped off with an infectious, PRONG-like precision informing the hooks. Likewise, "Chasm" and "Cyber Slavery" offer wild, underground metal composites that would sound contrived were it not for their creators' self-evident commitment to the cause: the latter, in particular, is fucking deranged, with more grotesque, frosty riffing and a touch of madness in its swirling, dissonant guitar work. "Blast Zone" is all imperious "Orgasmatron" vibes and crust-coated tension, leading into the title track, which hammers away at a berserk pace, leaving no stone unturned in the breathless pursuit of more adrenalin, more filth, more blood, sweat and broken teeth.

Once again, it seems important to note that musicians of Max Cavalera's stature almost never make records as raw and uncompromising as this. "Unhealthy Mechanisms" is an exhortation to smash everything in sight with a massive, blood-stained hammer while howling at the moon. Sterling work.

Author: Dom Lawson
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