Genre: Post Punk
Imagine living your life under the dim aura of western city lights away from white collar complexes and early alarm clocks, rather being caught in a web constructed by precariousness, hedonism and low life adventures. A Bukowskian scenery in the era of digitalization of emotions, surveillance of thinking and global political dementia with nocturnal characters that are crawling in the dark seeking love and meaning for their underdog lives. Maggot Heart’s “City Girls” is an EP that contains four songs, which are the sonic rendering of the urban decadence and bleakness which our generation has to deal with.
The person behind this record is Linnéa Olsson, known as guitarist for several bands in the last decade (Sonic Ritual, The Oath, Beastmilk/Grave Pleasures), who besides writing all music and lyrics has taken up vocal duties as well. The EP was recorded with the help of the once In Solitude rhythm section, Uno Bruniusson (Death Alley, Procession) on drums and Gottfrid Åhman (Reveal) on bass, but as the participants’ talent reflects what they have done in their previous bands, these influences are discrete and minimized, channelled to a genuine direction of dark and intense heavy music. While it would be safe to label it post punk since Maggot Heart shares the basic aesthetic claims of the genre, but thankfully not the often degenerate pretentiousness that comes along, there is much more to the band’s music than that. The compositions are mostly mid paced with smart guitar riffing and almost Voivod like tempo changes, keeping their ridiculously catchy essence even when becoming perplexed or speeding up. The guitar licks and melodies are emotionally charged, repeating themselves enough to stick to your brain and blending effortlessly with adequate and sturdy bass lines and very natural thick sounding and playful drums. But the attitude is that of a metal punk, a Girlschool fuck-all stance that keeps a middle finger raised throughout the listening of the record. All this mixture comes through a fascinating filter of an atmosphere which is dark and gloomy, but very humane and earthly at the same time. In that help Olsson’s vocals that combine shyness and aggression in a way that fits ideally the narration of stories of passive aggressive dysfunctional creatures of the night. As for the lyrics, it is not (pseudo)occultism or imaginary apocalyptic scenarios that are dealing with, as is the deal with many peer bands, rather a very identifiable hopeless search for individual and social stability amidst emotional and substance abuse that is depicted also in the cover and the overall aesthetic of the band. On top of that, the very much DIY means Maggot Heart chose to get their message through as a band is as admirable as rare these days where compromising with the status quo is the norm.
It seems that this EP comes about the right time to express the teenage angst of the new millennium that has matured and has been transformed to innate frustration as we are approaching the first quarter of the 21st century in a fucked up world of insecurity and reigning fear. But this doesn’t come through as a desperate outcry, rather as an urge for cleansing the inner demons of your maggot heart and using them in your favour, “turning innocence into gold”. “City Girls” is a great release that should appeal equally to metalheads and punks alike and we can only wait for a full album to follow it.