What is this and where did it come from? Landing here with its Beefheartian swagger via a long stay on Planet Speed Metal and with a math-jazz calculator set to stun, this shit is weird and it’s curdled my custard. That is a good thing, as I have become fat and complacent on the same old predictable gruel dolled out incessantly by the bucketload, causing this tiny musical pond to congeal glutinously. The custard has clogged my innards and this almighty racket is just what’s needed to sluice my colon.
This merry troupe are called Czar, and judging by the bizarre spoken word interludes rather than the mangled singing, hail from the Land of the Not-So-Free, and they will need all the punky vim displayed on this odd waxing to survive the coming clampdown. It seems they come from a place called Tacoma in Washington (the state, not the city), not far from Seattle, and like a lot of bands from that beautiful but peripheral and thereby artistically self-sufficient part of that barking mad country called the USA, Czar display a no holds barred individualism that tells the rest of us to do one if we don’t like it, they’re quite happy cutting their own peculiar rug to ribbons in splendid isolation, fangyewverymuch.
The lyrics, some of which are sung or spoken but most of which are screamed, are thankfully – or not depending on what ugly visions are conjured when you read them – all reproduced on the Bandcamp page. They are not overtly political, but there is an inescapable anger unleashed here that reflects the confused and divisive times in their homeland during which Life Is No Way To Treat An Animal was created. Unlike certain albums that could be mentioned, you could never accuse Czar of diluting lyrical anger with insipid and tired music.
We begin with owls and we end with roadkill, and the menagerie encountered in between is a very oddly populated place indeed, full of brutalist observations, visceral low budget horror-film imagery and a palpably sticky and gory physicality. Beware the Flies, Orestes allows in a rare moment of self-reflection, but what is revealed is probably best left alone: “I want you to know. I want you to see. I want you to feel. The tragedy I am. I am the end of the world”. The following Vultures Never Eat In Peace tells us “She had her Armageddon eyes on my dirty denim jeans. I thought I found religion in her thighs, but when I came to, I had a knife in my ribs”. Good to see romance is not dead up there in north western USA!
Well this is where we are, deep in the bowels of a disturbed imagination where “the tongue moves faster than the mind can race”. It would be easy to carry on dissecting the lyrics, but what about the music? Bizzare cut-ups, fast djent passages, syncopated headrush and cacophonous fury, it’s all here, even a completely surprising 48-second acoustic guitar interlude by the title of Domesticated Wolves, all serving to make this album as enticing as it is in parts unlistenable. The sheer number of ideas and the helter-skelter furiously paced delivery means Life Is No Way To Treat An Animal is never less than interesting, and also very hard work. Is there a market for this broiling stew of indignation or are they merely doing this for some kind of catharsis? Who knows, but now my colon is as clean and sparkling as a hospital corridor, I doubt I will be returning here too often.
01. Owls, etc (2:20)
02. Too Many Yetis (0:41)
03. Arachnochondriac (3:10)
04. Antelope Mask (0:21)
05. Beware the Flies, Orestes (2:00)
06. Vultures Never Eat In Peace (3:37)
07. The Worm Enters the Moon (1:39)
08. Canine: No Eyes. Just Teeth. (1:37)
09. Shark Cancer (1:01)
10. The Golden Calf (3:56)
11. Mister Reindeer (5:30)
12. Domesticated Wolves (0:48)
13. You Were a Comatose Lion (2:02)
14. Wine Hog (3:30)
15. x̌ʷiqʷadiʔ (2:03)
16. Blind Mice (5:02)
17. Prawn (1:29)
18. RxABBITS (2:04)
19. Taking Roadkill to the Vet (3:11)
Total Time – 46:05
Dr. Landon Jared Wonser – Vocals
Peter Joseph Ruff – Bass Guitar
David Joseph Dorran Jr. – Drums
Christopher Duenas – Keyboards
Nicholas J. McManus – Guitar
Record Label: n/a
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 20th January 2017