War From A Harlots Mouth – MMX

It’s hard-headed grindcore; no wait, it’s jazzy metalcore; no wait, it’s artsy hardcore. Trying to tackle down one genre for War From A Harlots Mouth is mind-numbingly difficult. They are all over the place musically and not one track ever sticks to a specific style. The German act’s third record, MMX, is another album of jarring melodic transitions and crippling breakdowns. Not much has changed since 2009’s In Shoals, whether it’s their obsession with The X-Files or the tranquil interludes placed throughout. The band seems to have found their place from a creative standpoint with MMX and hasn’t done too much to step all over it.

The album is divided into three kinds of songs; the speedy grind/death metal numbers, the calm instrumentals, and the broader variety epics. The first category is a major part of the early moments of MMX. “Insomnia” welcomes listeners with a helping of abrasive guitars and cannon-fire drums. The vocals switch between a piercing screech and a throaty bellow. The death metal side of the band is a brutal behemoth whipping out venomous riffs. “The Polyglutamine Pact” and “The Increased Sensation Of Dullness” are molded the same as “Insomnia,” dropping any pretenses of harmony in the process.

The instrumental tracks don’t take up much time, but they serve a purpose. “Sugarcoat” is a light affair that gives the reigns over to the bassist. While it is hard to hear the bass on the heavier material, the calm instrumentals give Filip an opportunity to show off. “Cancer Man” is nothing more than a time-wasting intro to “C.G.B. Spender.” In an album with little filler, “Cancer Man” stands out as a lackluster placeholder tacked onto the middle of the track listing.

“To Age And Obsolete” and “Spineless” take an ambitious tone that incorporates everything the band is known for. These are the unpredictable songs, with random melodic breaks that come from left-field. Only competent musicians are able to go from a jagged breakdown to a bouncy tempo at a second’s notice, and War From A Harlots Mouth does it quite well. The harsh “Inferno III/VI” doesn’t wander around like “Scully” did on the last album. The bone-shaking guitar feedback that closes the track out will drive a person insane.

It’s only been a year since War From A Harlots Mouth’s last album and things haven’t changed much with MMX. All the signature sounds are still there, only with a sharper focus. With a compact half-an-hour running length, MMX doesn’t outstay its welcome. Including three decent interludes, there are only eight actual tracks on the album. At times, it seems like a rush job, something the band wanted to get out quickly. A longer wait between albums may be a smart move to consider when the writing for the fourth album begins.

Rating: 6.5
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By Dan Marsicano

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