It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s grind it out with a premiere of PlasticBag Facemask’s Content.
It is a fact whether people want it to be or not: mathcore has made its comeback. Like death metal, metalcore, and hardcore (debatably) every ten to fifteen years, mathcore has risen once more to spit out meter changes like a game of fifty-two card pick up. And with mathcore, comes a massive fusion of genres. Often jazzy, sometimes grinding, sometimes noise rocking—it is an unpredictable genre, and PlasticBag Facemask is further proof of this.
If you have been into mathcore for a while now, then PlasticBag Facemask might be a name you recognize. Hailing out of Fresno, CA, they have been punching out releases since 2008. The two-person session band features Patrick Hogan (Time Bomb, Shrug) and Jacob Lee (Keeper, Elder Devil). As is the tendency of mathcore, the music is as jarring and unexpected as mathcore should be
As stated earlier, while mathcore is a genre, it often broad strokes several together. If one needed to whittle things down a bit, PlasticBag Facemask is somewhere between post-hardcore, grind, and noise rock. There are plenty of breakdowns, even verging on beatdown, and dramatic shifts in style at whims notice. Opening with the very 2000s sounding “Pre-Madonna”, PlasticBag Facemask move quick. Mathcore has often had an attitude where it feels like its sassing the listener and it is very apparent here. The song is actually pretty straight forward. Kinda like a warm-up because once the “Niche Cam Room” kicks on, things get janky.
Featuring experimental musician Yarku, the track hits with djent like intensity. The track has a glitchiness like something Frontierer would turn out. One of the heaviest tracks on the record as well, it also has a Dillinger Escape Plan vibe. This is not the only track that PlasticBag Facemask bring on other musicians, including Chris Dearing (The Sound That Ends Creation), Eeli Helin (Fawn Limbs), Daniel Dominguez III (Farooq), and Mara J. Bender (THØTCRIME, Marble Girl, Loss of Control).
A quote from the band:
"We set out to give each song in Content a unique tone and hook, focusing on a flow of riffs instead of our typical random changes. To us, this feels like our mainstream rock album, though it’s impossible to keep all of our influences out of the picture. We approached guest vocalists of different backgrounds to give the songs a breath of fresh air and set them apart from each other."
Dearing’s vocals on “It’s Like A Blue October Song” sound appropriately maddening. And when things take a turn for the…lighter, shall we say, it only lends to a more unhinged feeling. Like one needs to prepare their guard for an oncoming wrecking ball. Dominguez’s track “Somebody Call Big Surprise Incorporated” is another 2000s track spiked right in front of our faces. A heavy trudge carries the song until things move in the direction of post-hardcore, before turning into a grinder. Helin’s track “She’s the Cousin of the Chainsaw” feels appropriate. Disjointed mathgrind that is one of the most furious tracks on the album. Blasting off and slowing down on the regular while keeping things a total nightmare traversal. Bender’s track “It’s Fashion, Mom!” kicks off also on a grindier note, jumping all over the place. Then things take a turn for the mosh for a bit before kicking up the intensity. The track becomes a frenzy, breaks down again for a bit. When things do turn around, it is on a bit of a metalcore feel, which carries to completion.
The rest of the album is just as crazy as these tracks. And a lot the tracks flow seamlessly together. Like when “It’s Fashion, Mom!” ends, things just move straight into “
…Could Not Stand Up To a Rhinoceros” like the band was just switching up the sound again. And in this instance moving into a sweet spot of 2000s Myspace-grind. Other tracks like “Put a Light In a Cloud” also push this sound, though the start of this one feels like it almost headed in a 80s crossover direction. “Baby, You and Me, We're Like a Dictionary” is another track that has a grindy feel but is so all over the place that it cannot commit. And I do not mean that in a bad way.
Mathcore fans will love this record. I know I usually feature something more on the grind spectrum for this column, but the idea is more of finding some good tunes to get one through the slog that is Mondays. And Content is a great album for a day a lot of us are not content. Even if mathcore is not your bag, give this album a shot. Might be the one that changes your mind on the genre. A lot of sounds/genres erupt from this one. Get grinding on this!