[PUNK METAL] A name like Gaytheist is meant to antagonize, and on Stealth Beats, the new full-length from this pulverizing trio, that is precisely what the band does. Armed with a rumbling low end, spasming drums, concrete slabs of guitar and darkly hysterical lyrics expressing a general disdain for humanity, the group has actually been cattle-prodding the underbelly of the local music scene for over a decade now. But this record, Gaytheist’s third, is the one that could make the rest take notice. Taking the sarcastic sneer of Mclusky and the tightly coiled menace of Jesus Lizard and hot-wiring it to Lightning Bolt’s metallic seizures, the album registers as a sledgehammer to Portland’s sometimes all-too-polite society.
Don’t worry, though. You can still hum along to a lot of it.
Indeed, the thing that makes Stealth Beats so deadly is its melodicism. Even on the album’s all-out bruisers, such as cannon-blast opener “Stampede of Savings” and the frenetic, blast-beat intensive “Talk Doctor,” there is a tunefulness hiding under the squalls of noise. Other times, such as on the slow-swaying “Hand Holder,” the band edges toward something resembling pop—despite it being a song calling for the erasure of the human race. Occasionally the record swings too far in that direction, such as on “Can’t Go to Mecca,” which recalls At the Drive-In’s overwrought early years.
Regardless of what
he’s singing over, singer-guitarist Jason Rivera never quite loses his
sense of sarcasm. He rarely screams, preferring a snide quaver pitched
between Jello Biafra and Future of the Left’s Andy Falkous. It isn’t
until “Condemn the Condemners,” Stealth Beats’ wrecking-ball
finale, that Rivera really rips his throat open. Turns out, he’s got a
lovely larynx. He should let it bleed more often.
SEE IT: Gaytheist plays the Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick St., on Friday, Sept. 14. 9 pm. Free. 21+.