Record Review: Cut The Architect’s Hand – Blood Eagle

by | Mar 26, 2014 | MUSIC

After seeing Cut The Architect’s Hand (CTAH) destroy the stage for their album release on March 7th at McCormack’s Irish Pub (Still open? Yes.

After seeing Cut The Architect’s Hand (CTAH) destroy the stage for their album release on March 7th at McCormack’s Irish Pub (Still open? Yes. Still doing heavy shows? Occasionally), I got my paws on the fruits of their labor; the new album Blood Eagle. But before we get into that I have to comment on their live performance.

They attack with a ferocity and deftness that I believe gives the best avenue for their brand of original metal core. Ya know, the Botch-Coalesce-Converge kind. This extends to their physical performance as well, which includes members looking as if their instruments had better comply or die.

They are my favorite band from RVA.

The first striking thing that greets you is the album cover. Constructed by Brian Wiltz (Owner/Operator Aunt Mary Records), it depicts a bloody silhouetted Rorschach approximation of what a blood eagle was. The overall splotchy look makes you consider the violence and abject horror of the act. Hint: It was a torture method. Thankfully no longer in use (I hope). And a wonderful discovery is that they have included lyrics! Hey after sussing out the lyrics to “Bring me a Shovel” (off their previous album, Remove the Head, Destroy the Stairs) by listening repeatedly, I always want to know the poetry behind the clever phrase turning.

This release sees the first recorded material and songwriting contribution from new, sole guitarist Tim Madison. Anyone already familiar with CTAH will hear new angles and an expansion of their sonics. Progression is what I mean here. Stop crying. They haven’t started singing like Danzig (or getting punched out like him), just that they now include nods towards more traditional songwriting. It does nothing to diminish their impact. It makes it more devastating when the hammer drops, as on opener “Blood Eagle.” This song comes on like one of those jangly Mastodon-like segues, before pulling your ribs through your back while you’re still alive.

They still play fast, wrong-chorded thrash that sounds like it was written by a grindcore band. I think I’ve previously likened them to Hunter S. Thompson, but if I may plagiarize myself: if ol’ HST was brought up on early spazztic metalcore, he’d play in CTAH. And like HST, “fuck the listener’s perspective” has always seemed to be the impetus.

Elsewhere we have stoner rockisms (“Killing Sounds So Permanent”; the end of “Blood Eagle”), a noisy caveman breakdown (“It’s a Trap”), speed metal (“The Withdrawing”), and straightforward, more modern sounding stuff (first part of “Rust the Barrel”). Then they do something like “Those Aren’t Portraits, They’re Windows.” It sounds almost like a hardcore band discovered dissonant chords and wrote a slam part; it culminates in the gang chorus of “THEY’RE STARING AT ME!”

The other parts of the album are no less exciting, I just don’t have the space to describe every part in a review. Something else I have excluded is analysis of the lyrics. I did this because they deserve to have your attention, and I don’t want to taint them.

I highly recommend this album. If you want safe, go seek out the latest gimmick, but if you can non-ironically like Queen, Carcass, Michael Jackson, and Prodigy (the electronic band), then this is for you, the musically adventurous.

Before I go, I’d like to include a word to the band (as if a review isn’t partially to the group it reviews). Thank you for this. It is wonderful to see a group drop this much passion into their craft.

Purchase the album digitally here.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

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