Electronic, Experimental, Noisegrind, Powerelectronics, Punk

CHRISTWVRKS – Messiah Complex (Review)

Album:Messiah Complex
Genre:Experimental Noisegrind
Country:Scotland UK
Release Date:6th of November, 2020
Released viaApocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings
Cover Artwork ©CHRISTWVRKS

On the weekend, the international streamset event Global Grindcore Alliance took place for the first time, which, in addition to well-known scene representatives such as Antigama, Bandit or Entrails Massacre, also included a lot of bands that are far less known and were offered a stage there. One combo, which I had never heard of before, turned out to be an absolute highlight for me, which was not only due to the set worth seeing, but especially from a musical point of view that left a lasting impression on me.

I’m talking about CHRISTWVRKS, whom I inquired about directly afterwards and whose records have been running up and down with me via various digital platforms ever since. First and foremost, the current and overall only second album Messiah Complex was released on November 6 this year. After a short research I found out that this is a project of Jamie Christ, who has formed a mantle for his artistic work with CHRISTWVRKS. He is perhaps better known to some as a world-renowned tattoo artist, member of Godhole or singer of the Scottish chaotic hardcore band Sectioned. The band consists mainly of Jamie himself, who is responsible for noise and vocals and brings in other members for the musical realization to carry out his vision. The Scot tries to implement audio-visual concepts in an innovative way and at the same time to process various traumas of his life.

To briefly return to the GGA set, before I review the long player, so you know what has so captivated me, I link a few pictures that reflect a fraction of the visual aspect, but can not even begin to clarify the intensity of the performance. However, the visuals already bear witness to the gloomy getup, only that you have to imagine it with tons of lighting and visual effects in the end. For me personally, the performance showed the inner struggle of one’s self, with all facets of distraction, outbursts of rage and subsequent dejection, from which new strength can be gained.

But even without the visual aspect of the music, the destructive chaos of CHRISTWVRKS can leave an impression, because Messiah Complex is a juxtaposition of different genres under the banner of a conceptual thread that anyone who has ever looked into the abyss in his life can literally feel. The nine songs of the album go to the core, shake, blow your brain and somehow motivate yourself to regain your footing. The sound is certainly nothing to listen to on the side and also not easily accessible, if you do not have a penchant for chaotic music anyway, but if you get involved in it, you can not or rather do not want to get away from it.

The opener “Three Daggers I Have For You” makes it clear already that you meet a lot of different elements here, ranging from sinister noise over speech samples to e-drum-laden, ultra-fast cybergrind, and take no chances. Especially the incredibly nasty vocals and shuddering, electronic melodies stick. Various tempo changes and synthesizer sounds make the track particularly exciting and show a first skill in songwriting. The following orgy on the other hand sounds much more like punk and through the slightly reverberating vocals and nasty Uffta Uffta drumming “Chaos In My Head” occasionally even reminds me of various Raw Punk representatives, but with a more experimental orientation. On this track you can also find different tempos and once again encounter spoken word samples that seamlessly alternate with fast, aggressive parts. After the musical frustration has reached its peak, the song ends with interludes and quieter noise sounds to then transition without a break into “Dragged Back To Life,” which also begins pretty quietly, but just as disturbing as its predecessor ends. In general, the next five minutes is a bit more drone and calm, but the common thread crystallizes and does not seem out of place despite a more moderate pace and by its dense heaviness is just as negative as what has been heard so far.

My personal favorite track of the album is “Fuck My Life,” which again sounds more like electronically influenced Raw Punk, but feeds the hideous melodies of the opener and can score with loads of well-timed noise. Here even something like groove comes up through the drumming and sawing riffing, overlaid with well understandable shouted lyrics. This, however, deliberately smashed with blastbeat parts and ends again in distorted voice samples. After that, “The Black Swan” surprisingly kicks off with anthemic female vocals that stand out a bit from the rest of the sound, but end in a massive wall of sound formed by noise and power electronics, sounding like a nervous breakdown set to music and offering perhaps the most intense track on Messiah Complex. In general, the atmosphere of the track is very dense and leaves a lasting impression. The title track “Messiah Complex” then rows back into familiar territory and unearths ultra-aggressive noisegrind, with the nagging vocals sounding downright nauseated and balling around with furious drumming. Meanwhile and especially this song shows what great talent CHRISTWVRKS have in songwriting, because the well-placed, rare breaks make the fast passages seem much more violent and increase their extent even further.

With 1:21min the shortest track of the record follows, whose lyrics consist only of the title itself, namely ‘The Band’ Is Dead. A short but meaningful blastbeat part, which burns in oppressive spoken words. With “A New Corpse,” to which there is also a video release, which clarifies the visual aspect of the band, Messiah Complex then also slowly draws to a close. The song itself is a bit slower than most of the previous tracks, but in doing so feeds again the anthemic vocals mixed with roars and synth melodies and even seems a bit more structured in its final moves, making it perhaps the most accessible track to get familiar with the band’s sound, although the finish again ends in the strongest noise part of the album. The closing track is “Rebirth,” which begins with piano sounds and takes another sharp turn musically. The song gets along completely without vocals, builds up more and more and condenses thanks to a motivated sounding melody and lives up to its name. After the previous audio terror, this is simply an outstanding ending to this album that makes the listener feel as if they’ve found their inner peace and flushed everything they’ve just been through out of them. For me personally, an excellent sound to close and let the long player first act on itself and digest it.

Messiah Complex was released on November 6th via Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings, but there is no physical record yet, as you are used to. You can, however, buy the album digitally and get a hardcover book with drawings, which serves to get even more involved in the sound itself and to sink into it even deeper than already. Everyone who is into art and music with concept should get this piece, because in the end this is the only way to fully enjoy the sound and at the same time have the visual guide for it. In my opinion, a great idea and especially something that stands out from the mass of sound carriers such as vinyl, CD or cassette and can make the album so a bit more special.

After the GLOBAL GRINDCORE ALLIANCE set of CHRISTWVRKS hooked me, the pure audio material with Messiah Complex has also been able to completely thrill me. The band has released a very intense, multi-layered and above all deep album here, which, once you have found access, leaves a lasting impression and is especially recommended to fans of Full Of Hell collaboration albums. Jamie Christ is not afraid to mix different genres and convinces with psychotic sounds that capture and reproduce the feeling of helplessness, grief and anger in an almost unique way. Anyone who feels comfortable with musical terror and wants to use it to process their own emotional world must have heard this record in any case and will not be able to get away from it so quickly!


Favourite Tracks:
“Fuck My Life”
“A New Corpse”

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