Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
So here we are: 2020. We've seen pandemics, political unrest, and so much more. But we've also seen the return of nu-metal.
Typically this isn't something I would be interested in, because there are many aspects of the genre I don't like. There's a lot of macho-man jock mentalities in the scene, and quite frankly, most of the 2nd-wave bands were so watered-down and generic without any heaviness or balls. But with Tallah, it's a different story. With their debut album Matriphagy, Tallah bring back nu-metal in a big way, with a modern take and a storyteller-based approach to the lyrics. To summarize without giving away the story, the concept of this album is about a man named Kungan who is his mother's caretaker after she was paralyzed when he was a child. His mother is unappreciative and manipulative, forcing him to basically be enslaved in his room, tending to her every need. Long story short, he slowly goes insane, and that's where I'll leave it so I don't spoil it. Lets enter the psychotic world of Matriphagy.
The first thing that can be said about Matriphagy automatically is that, musically, this album follows in the vein of the more heavy side of nu-metal. With tracks like "No One Should Read This" and "Kungan," you get those nods to classic '90s nu-metal, albeit with a harder edge than most of those bands had. This album definitely carries a strong influence of hardcore within, and that's noticeable in the breakdowns. "Kungan" in particular ends with a really nasty breakdown. Other breakdown highlights on the album are at the 3:00 mark in "Overconfidence"--that groove is undeniable--and also the really dissonant and fucked up ending to "L.E.D." Both songs are highlights in their own right and I love that the electronic and sampling are more upfront on these songs, it really adds a darkness to these tracks that's missing in a lot of nu-metal.
But my absolute favorite songs on the album are easily "Placenta," "The Silo," and "Cottonmouth." All three of these tracks are quite different but they are addictive to listen to. "Placenta" is just so fucking insanely heavy--that's as best as I can describe it. I love the section where singer Justin Bonitz yells "CUT THE CORD, CUT THE FUCKING CORD!" It's a particularly nasty mosh section that's destined to fuck everyone up. "The Silo" is the outlier on the album, as it's the only wholly melodic song herein. This gives me vibes of the more melodic side of Slipknot without feeling derivative. The choice of the main riff was perfect because it's so melodic and hooky, carrying a lot of swagger. And of course the vocals are once again a highlight of this song, as well as on "Cottonmouth."
"Cottonmouth" showcases the more unhinged and insane side to Bonitz's vocals. His range is mighty impressive, as well as his placement of his vocals. There's some parts in the song where he'll switch voices mid sentence in a verse, so applause to you, Justin. Musically, it's definitely the most extreme song on the album, giving off a frightening almost black metal atmosphere to the song. And as usual, the ending breakdown is 100% filth.
It goes without saying, but I was really impressed with this album. I found myself engaged the whole way through. For being a 53 minute ride, it flows surprisingly well. I feel that every member in the band excelled in what they did. Be it the ferocious drumming of band founder Max Portnoy, or the low-end filth of bassist Andrew Cooper, as well as guitarist Derrick Schneider's dissonant chord littered fret work, Justin Bonitz's unique, mad man vocals, and new member Mewzen (who's name I unfortunately don't know) with his employment of DJ scratching and sampling within the band adding another dimension to their sound. It's crazy how well-formed their sound is for this being their debut album, and second release overall. They seem like they put in so much effort in crafting their songs and trying to create something original and unique, and I can appreciate that. That's why I decided to review this album. As much as I love older bands, and I still very much do, it's time for us to start shining a light on up-and-coming bands. (Well, that, and they're from my homestate, so I'm a little biased in that regard as well.)
So, dear reader, if you like the sounds of classic nu-metal with a modern hardcore edge, I urge you to pick this one up. Please do so, and go tell Tallah how much you love it, I think they'd greatly appreciate that and the support. I look forward to seeing where they go next because I have a feeling big things are ahead for them.
Tallah - Matriphagy was released Oct. 2nd, 2020 from Earache Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!