Following a blistering farewell show in support of Hatebreed, Galway hardcore band Only Fumes and Corpses are now on an indefinite hiatus. This is unfortunate, because the band’s final release ‘Selfish Act II’ is a powerful and provocative piece of music which speaks of a band with a hell of a lot of anger and ability in equal measures.
As the name suggests, ‘Selfish Act II’ is the follow up to Only Fumes and Corpses’ 2012 EP ‘Selfish Act I’. But while ‘Selfish Act I’ is a fiery collection of superfast punk songs (most of which clock in under a minute in length) ‘Selfish Act II’ consists of a single 17 minute jam. It storms through melodic refrains and tempestuous breakdowns, and has all of the unbridled intensity that Only Fumes and Corpses brought to a live performance.
‘Selfish Act II’ roars into action with a tidal wave of distortion, before picking out a slow, funereal doom metal pace. This anticipatory slowness builds until it can build no more, at which point the band explodes into full on lightning fast fury, thrashing away at their instruments while vocalist Momme roars his way through the lyrics.
There is nothing so obvious as a single chorus, riff, melody or beat tying this together as one song. Instead it flows like a work of pure unhinged improvisation, breaking down into chanting, anthemic yells or swelling up into dizzying solos seemingly on a whim.
It is very easy to listen to ‘Selfish Act II’ as a pure wall of angry noise, but there is a niggling catchiness buried beneath the surface fuzz that lingers long, reminding the returning listener that this music has been well thought out after all.
In a way ‘Selfish Act I’ and ‘II’ make up both sides of a single record. Like Black Flag’s ‘My War’, the A side has the fast paced punk songs, while the B side slows things down for a more sludgy, doomy sound. Both EPs also capture the manically raging energy (which reflects the cathartic release of anger that defines hardcore punk as a genre) of Only Fumes and Corpses as a live act, serving to remind everyone why they’ll be so sorely missed.