Asschapel. They’re called Asschapel. Which is the best name for a band ever. And Southern Lord have just reissued their entire back catalogue. And, as befitting a band called Asschapel and a label with the rep of Southern Lord, it’s heavy as fuck.Nestling uncomfortably between the twin cheeks of black metal and punk, Asschapel sound like the kind of thing Darkthrone were attempting (and IHMO failing to achieve) with The Cult Is Alive; the filth and fury of anarcho-punk merged with the riffs and histrionics of the blackest of metal. Sounds kinda reductive, I know, but there’s a lot going on here. Hailing from Nashville, they’re ironically the kind of band who could give Hank III new faith in the place. Thirty-one super-short (mostly under two minutes, with “Death March” clocking in at a brutal twenty-seven seconds) injections of concentrated venom (or even Venom) with names like “Godwhore” and “The Battle Axe” revel in their own unsubtlety, but listen closer and things get a lot more complex. Pretty much anything and everything is thrown into the grinder, from the catchy speed metal riffs of an early Megadeth to the militarised stomp of Conflict, and what emerges from this musical anus is anything but shit. Which is hardly surprising — members of Asschapel went on to play in bands like Pelican and Tijuana Goat Ride, after all. Stands to reason there’d be more of interest here than just that name.
Obviously it’s not gonna appeal to everyone, but if you like a bit of metal in your punk, or a bit of punk in your metal, or asses, or chapels, or D&D/Warhammer, it’s well worth checking out. (Maybe I lied about chapels. Unsurprisingly enough, organised religion doesn’t come off too well in their songs). This is the sound of the forces of chaos emerging from a warp gate and heading straight for the off-licence.
And yeah. They’re called Asschapel. Deal with it.