If you've ever seen Ty Segall live, you know that he and his band sometimes straddle the line between ferocious psych/punk and straight-up metal. On 'Slaughterhouse,' his first album with his touring mates, that intense live energy is captured almost perfectly, at least for 29 of it's 39 minutes.
Upon hearing the first track, "Death," my initial thought was, "Wow, someone's been listening to Hawkwind recently!" In fact, the album as a whole has that late 60's, early 70's proto-metal vibe of bands like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and especially the heavy prog stylings of the aforementioned Hawkwind; only with the take-no-prisoners bombast of early punk progenitors The Stooges and MC5, and the DIY psychedelia of U.S. garage bands circa 1966 thrown in the mix. The result is an album that will make you want to headbang while at the same time make you want to spark one up and drift away to state of zoned-out bliss. "Wave Goodbye" is a perfect example of this, with sludgy, skull-crushing guitars, a hypnotic repeating bass riff, and drums that sound like they're being pummeled into splinters. This doesn't sound like a recipe for "zoned-out bliss," but trust me, it is.
The sound quality, as usual when it comes to Ty Segall, is extremely lo-fi, but that doesn't make it any less heavy or tripped-out. Instead, it makes the album feel more raw and visceral, which in turn makes it more powerful. The only negative for me is that the last song, the 10-plus minute "Fuzz War," really seems like it was just tacked on to make this a full-length LP as opposed to an EP. I was hoping for an epic mindblower, and instead all I got was distortion and feedback. All "Fuzz" and no "War." Bands like Spacemen 3 and Sonic Youth had some droning feedback tracks, and they were interesting, even euphoric, but all I felt here was...well...boredom--something I thought I'd never feel when listening to a Ty Segall album. Although, considering the rest of the album made me feel worn-out and slightly insane, maybe a 10-minute comedown was necessary before taking the ride all over again.
Despite the one relatively minor complaint, 'Slaughterhouse' is still nearly a half-hour of heavy, fuzzed-out intensity, and hopefully it's just the first of many from the Ty Segall Band. Ty already has a number of near-masterpieces in his catalog, and if this album is any indication, he just may be on the verge of creating a straight-up, no qualifiers, masterpiece.