Sweatin' II: Deported Live Gorilla
Reviewed By Andrew McKaysmith
Ok I'll be up front here: I remember Spazz as a mere curiosity whose albums I used to hear about in the same breath as the brilliant Gas Huffer and Bikini Kill back when I was only a wee lad in the mid ‘90s. Not that any of those bands have much in common, however they all were deemed the best of a rowdy bunch of punky types in that era.
Sweatin' II: Deported Live Gorilla is a compilation of a re-release of tracks that were first aired in 1995/6, and a live set recorded around the same time. Vocalist and bassist Chris Dodge chaired a record label called Slap-a-Ham Records that along with Spazz's output, unleashed a tonne of albums including releases from Melvins, Fu Manchu, and Eyehategod. So that probably gives you a better point of reference as to where Spazz are coming from than anything else.
I am going to make the assumption that most of the readership of this site overwhelmingly prefer metal to punk. So is there enough on this release to keep the average metal fan interested? The answer is... almost.
There are 35 songs in total: The studio songs start at "Willis" and finish at what I felt was the track that will hold most value to the readership in "Total Meathead F**k" – which feels a lot like Faith No More's heaviest track "Jizzlobber" (once it gets going). The live stuff commences at "Wall of Death" and finishes at the jamming "Elder Mutant Stomp". It's rather hard on the first few listens to make out the demarcation point between studio and live recordings... and this says a lot about the band really.
If you can get past the shouty/yelled vocals there is some gold here. The tone of the bass guitar is dense and metallic; it feels as though it is driving everything musically so it is the lead in the pencil, so to speak. The guitar has been mixed well below the bass, and this is to the music's benefit. I could not obtain who the drummer was however he/she deserves a medal. At times this shit is fast... its bronze medal to Pete "The Feet" Sandoval's gold medal World Downfall fast. Most of the songs contain a combination of rhythmically pleasing verses, crusty breakdowns and ADHD inspired fast breaks. The song titles sound as though the band read the Fugazi manual on song naming- eg: "Leonard the Dirt Thrower", "Dan Lifting Banner" and "Climate Best" and they even managed a tongue in cheek homage to one of underground metals patron saints in "Katon W. Depena Without the W is Like Grilled Cheese Without the Grill (parts 1 and 2).
So can I recommend the album? Only if you are in the mood for something different to your usual diet of all things metal. It certainly isn't a bad album from a musical perspective, and I understand that Spazz hold a special place in the psyche of powerviolence as a genre. If you've had a bad day at work, are seriously pissed off at something, or just plain old want something from left field to absorb half an hour of your time, I'd say go for it.