Chicago’s Immortal Bird has been one of 2015’s most pleasant surprises for me. Pleasant is a funny word to use for a band that identifies their influences as “holding grudges and burning bridges” on their Facebook page. I have listened to Empress/Abscess many times but it wasn’t until I had that physical record in my hands that I was able to fully appreciate how great it really is.
Prior to being able to read along with the lyrics it was difficult for me to hear all of the content Immortal Bird add to the experience. That was fine with me though. The vocals were more like an instrument than a vessel for telling a story. I was content with blasting Empress/Abscess at full volume and not knowing what was being said because the band’s blend of black metal, grind, and hardcore is a fresh take on a style that can feel oversaturated at times. Shifting speeds that keep the listener on their toes is a strength. You can go from banging your head while your heart is pumping at unsafe speeds to swaying slowly with your eyes closed losing yourself in a matter of seconds. Once you think you are in a safe place they flip your mind over on their sonic griddle in order to make sure each side is perfectly browned. This is your mind on Immortal Bird.
Rae Amitay is credited for writing the lyrics. I am also crediting her for making a great album into one of the year’s best albums. The music on Empress/Abscess is brutal and pretty. It is powerful enough on its own to create some vivid imagery for the listener. Rae’s lyrics take it to the next level though. They are the peanut butter in the PB&J sandwich. I had to google a few of their track titles to make sure I knew what they meant:
Neoplastic definition – a new, often uncontrolled growth of abnormal tissue
Saprophyte definition – an organism, especially a fungus or bacterium, that derives its nourishment from dead or decaying organic matter.
Sycophant definition – a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite
From Neoplastic – “It seems that we’ve reached an impass/A rock and a hard place/I’ll choose the latter/I was born there”
From Saprophyte – “Occupy my time/Hollow out my bones/Till they crumble/Scraped too thin/Marrow dribbling from your mouth”
From Sycophant – “A mass of pleading fat and bone/Lacking muscles and a spine/You must have consumed your twin in the womb/Didn’t you?/How impressive”
I can go on and on about the lyrics, but you really need to purchase Empress/Abscess and read along for yourself. It makes sense that burning bridges and holding grudges are listed as influences. There is some serious venom in this music. Which is also pretty funny because Immortal Bird seem like really nice people via social media. I am glad that music is an outlet for them because I would be scared if all of this emotion was kept inside waiting to be unleashed in some other manner.
Empress/Abscess is limited to 300 12″ black and white marble vinyl and it looks slick. Don’t sleep on this! Purchase it over here –> Immortal Bird – Empress/Abscess
Don’t miss them on tour:
10/12 Denver, CO at Mutiny
10/13 Colorado Springs, CO at Flux Capacitor
10/14 Albuquerque, NM at Duke City Sound
10/16 Southwest Terror Fest
10/19 San Diego, CA at Soda Bar#
10/20 Los Angeles at Perez Tire#
10/21 Oakland, CA at The Golden Bull*
10/22 Sacramento, CA at Starlite Lounge*
10/23 Eugene, OR at Wandering Goat*
10/24 Portland, OR at High Water Mark*
10/25 Seattle, WA at The Highline*
10/26 Spokane, WA at Thunderdome House
10/27 Billings, MT at Black Sparrow Tattoo Club
10/28 Sioux Falls, South Dakota at Latitude 44
10/30 Minneapolis, MN at Eagles Club
Immortal Bird Links: Facebook | Twitter
Broken Limbs Recordings
Fan of beer, dogs, vinyl, travel, shows, and eats.
Brew for @fognog (Foggy Noggin Brewing).
For the most part I only write about albums that I have personally purchased. I believe these albums are created by bands that deserve your support and money. If one person that didn’t know about one of these albums enjoys it and in turn supports that band…it is all worth it. There are links to purchase the music in posts, but I also urge you to go support your local record stores if possible!