Meek is Murder - “Was”
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Meek is Murder are a band hailing from Brooklyn, NY that started off as a solo project by Mike Keller (ex-The Red Chord) in 2005. Two years after he started using this name, he released a solo EP entitled Mosquito Eater which, primitive as it may sound, especially compared to the later works of the project, it’s really impressive to realize how the entire thing was pretty much made, as put on their bandcamp “in GarageBand with one microphone in Keller’s bedroom.” Flash forward into 2011, and Meek is Murder is now more than just Keller. While he does vocals and guitar work, Sam Brodsky plays bass and Frank Godla, co-founder of the one and only Metal Injection, does drums. With this trio in place, the group released 19 minutes of mayhem with their debut LP Algorithms, recorded in GodCity Studios, which you may know as Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou’s own studio. This LP was so technical yet aggressive that the results could easily compare to the likes of Discordance Axis, Converge, and Botch.
A year passes, and the group released an EP entitled Into the Sun Where it Falls Off the Sky, which was a release that pretty much follows up Algorithms perfectly, and even features a guest appearance from Jesse Korman (The Number Twelve Looks Like You). Into the next year, the band releases their sophomore release Everything is Awesome Nothing Matters, which managed to take everything about their debut and EP and just amp it up into something even more chaotic yet beautiful, especially in the closing track where Keller is pretty much just screaming his heart out about how “everything is awesome but that nothing fucking matters.” They worked with Ballou on this LP as well, and it only makes sense that they would because he gets their sound so perfectly. Around Christmas time of that year, Meek is Murder released a short EP entitled Infant Worship, which really doesn’t do anything too different from what they’ve done before, but was surely a nice treat to have during the holiday season. After this, there was a bit of silence up until 2015, where they re-released their EP Into the Sun Where It Falls Off the Sky, simply re-naming it Into the Sun, and on top of that combined it with a brand new EP Onward, which was by far one of my favorite EPs of the year. It really felt like Meek is Murder were only getting faster and angrier as they grew and matured. Now in 2016, we get their third full length LP Was. How does this one live up to their previous material?
Their previous LP, Everything is Awesome Nothing Matters is an LP that many bands could only wish to release in their lifetime, so it was a bit worrying to think that the group might’ve reached their peak prematurely. However, after multiple listens, I can proudly say that these guys have once again taken me in for a trip. Was is their longest LP to date, reaching 21 minutes, and there isn’t a single second on this LP that isn’t filled with passion. The first track off this LP, “Black Lung,” pretty much gets straight to the point this LP is trying to convey after a moment of feedback. This LP is angry, and it will stop at nothing to make sure it punches you in the face a few times, whether it’s in the fast moments such as “Black Lung” and “Hands Down,” or maybe one of the slower, sludgier moments that are found on tracks like “Flagship” and the title track. We also get tracks like “Worth,” which really just sound so broken and imperfect that they really stick out like sore thumbs.
In the process of just being angry, the band has structures that are nothing short of groovy, and really remind me of some of the stuff Every Time I Die has been putting out, minus the cleaner bits that Every Time I Die usually has in their music. I believe that groove is really thanks to Sam Brodsky, who on this LP more than any other Meek is Murder release really shows how much he contributes to Meek is Murder. While bass has always been present in the band, I feel like this LP’s bass work just offers so much more than their previous releases. Keller has proven even before Meek is Murder became a serious thing that he was an amazing guitarist, but it feels like his guitar work has only gotten more complementary with his voice. Frank’s drumming isn’t much different from their previous work, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t beat down with the rest of the instrumental perfectly. Any moment the drums are on, they are super present and in your face, it makes this LP that much more angry. It really is a good thing that this release is only 21 minutes, because it’s so relentless and angry that I feel like if it was any longer you’d just pass out from a loss of oxygen. Then when we reach this LP’s closure, “Victims and Builders,” we get nearly three minutes of this LP giving one more punch to the face, and an ending that is translated so powerfully through it’s heaviness that on my first listen I was left completely speechless by it.
If I had any complaints about this LP, it’s that it there’s very few tracks that are really stand-alone tracks. I don’t think there’s a single track on this LP that I don’t like, but as with pretty much every Meek is Murder LP and EP, I felt like you would really need to listen to most of the tracks with another track to really feel the vibes they were sending out. There are tracks that I could totally listen to on their own though, especially on the latter end of this LP, but there are tracks that probably should’ve just been combined. I know that they’re a band that comes from a genre where the songs are typically shorter than two minutes, but it just feels weird when they have a song that by itself is still as intense as it would be listening to the full LP, and then there’s songs that just don’t feel right unless you listen to the song before. Other than that though, this is an LP that makes me proud to have grown up in New York. These guys are true hometown heroes when it comes to the mathcore scene here, and they are so criminally underrated. If you’re looking for a band that is pretty much the textbook definition of “angry,” look no further.