Listen, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already seen it making headlines at other blogs, and for good reason, but we couldn’t resist adding a little more noise to the conversation. Oklahoma’s Chat Pile have finally delivered their first full length, God’s Country into the world, and it’s got a hell of a lot to say… and we’re not talking fairytales. In fact, squeamish listeners will probably need to take a breather around the halfway point, as God’s Country burns, curses, and eviscerates nearly everything in its path for forty minutes straight.
On the surface, as we mentioned above, it’s pretty easy to see why the band’s unhinged, filter-less narratives have garnered such acclaim since dual releasing EP’s This Dungeon Earth and Remove Your Skin Please in 2019. But the band is a lot more than a brutal listening experience – beneath the band’s filthy, seismic concoctions lies something few might expect: essential listening.
God’s Country is no fantasy. There might be a little around the edges, and honestly thank god, but mostly what we’re dealing with here is truth: a harrowing confrontation of western decay. From the opening seconds of songs like “Slaughterhouse” and “Why,” there’s no denying it. Raygun Busch unflinchingly presents a body of lyrical evidence so powerful that for many, even fans, the results are uncomfortable. Which, in this context, we mean as the sincerest of accolades.
At this point, choosing between sludge, metal, and noise rock to describe Chat Pile is a superfluous task, though many have tried. There are pieces of influences you can pick out from the wreckage, however, which can present a somewhat unique puzzle for certain Gen X and millennial listeners. “Tropical Beaches, Inc.,” riffs like vintage, Life is Peachy era KoRn, and even slips in an almost direct head nod when you hear “get the fuck up!” in the background. The violence intensifies on “The Mask,” bringing to mind the band’s Sepultura cover. But “Anywhere” is a terrifying take on mass shootings, using the vaguely psychotic post-rock meanderings of Slint to build up one of the most affecting moments on the album.
Then, of course, there is the literal barn burning closer, “grimace_smoking_weed.jpeg.” As popular music critic Anthony Fantano noted, it literally sounds like a constantly escalating mental breakdown. It’s the kind of song you aren’t exactly sure if you should recommend, but then you do (sorry Lucas), and then regret, but still like it in an ‘I’m glad I experienced that and survived,’ kind of way.
This sentiment serves as a decent summary for our feelings on God’s Country in general. Listening to the album from front to back is exhausting. It is demanding. It is scathing. But above all, it’s extremely real. Think about the things we’ve desensitized ourselves to, and the corruption that a capitalist west hoists upon the world without regard. For many, it’s just far too easy to ignore and/or participate in the menagerie as long as we get a piece of the pie. But Chat Pile make an effective argument, and a genuinely moving work of art, out of resisting God’s Country, and as disturbing as it is, we can’t get enough.
Grimace, pass the fucking joint, man, that album harshed my buzz! We’re glad we pushed this one out for multiple reasons, but mostly, it’s the lord’s day, and we thought it was funny. Hope everyone had a good weekend. Coming up we’ve got the esteemed Nick Reinhart, SEIMS, Paranoid Void, and more. Check out more Chat Pile here or recharge our metaphorical batteries here. Thanks for reading!