Take your penicillin to clear up that recent “rash,” because Baltimore instigators Musket Hawk have a fresh dose of sickness for ya. Their 2016 offering Desolate landed high on my list of that year’s best extreme records, and Upside of Sick is another gut-slugging batch of bruisers.
The opening feedback of “Roidhead Swindler” lures the listener into a spine-snapping sludge groove. But nothing remains as it seems with Musket Hawk. The opening track dishes out guttural growls and frantic bursts that subside for uneasy melodic passages. “Hexagon” welcomes their grind whims to the fray as a dual-vocal call and response conjures images of a battered microphone dripping with spit and bile. Elsewhere you’ll find plumes of stoner hooks, unhinged Acid Bath snarls, and even their own Charm City take on the Stockholm buzzsaw (in the awesomely-titled “Punk Rock Ruined My Life”).
Decibel‘s own resident headbanging parrot Waldo described Musket Hawk as a “grind/sludge/punk amalgam that hits beaking hard.” That recipe sounds tasty by itself, but Upside of Sick‘s flavor profile is even more complex and poisonous. “Bad Times” scorches its riffs until they have a blackened underbelly. Then killer closer “Uncouth” stirs in curdled chunks of death metal before the patient final post-metal simmer. This is a band with a reputation for ripping live shows that could comfortably share a bill with fuzzed-out doom lords and powerviolence sets alike.
Upside of Sick is a testament to Musket Hawk’s versatile and ferocious songwriting, and you should jam this sucker NOW before it’s released from Unholy Anarchy Records on March 29th. Press play below so Musket Hawk can blast their sludge/grind gunpowder into your noggin.
Buy Musket Hawk’s Upside of Sickfrom Unholy Anarchy Records HERE
Or you can pre-order it on Bandcamp HERE
Don’t forget to follow Musket Hawk on Facebook HERE