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Review: Potato Hate Explosion – Flowerviolence

Potato Hate Explosion is a one-man mathcore monstrosity having released his 20th album earlier this year titled Flowerviolence. Generally, I’d advise that listeners be skeptical with studio bands, especially ones with an undeserved hype, but on this occasion… this is just brilliant. For anyone that’s a fan of Iwrestledabearonce, Dillinger Escape Plan, or Maximise The Hormone, this album will have listeners cranking speakers, banging heads, and challenging their perception of variety and open-mindedness.

Instrumentally, one would never guess this is just one guy recording himself playing all the instruments. Usually in solo projects there are dead giveaways that show a lack of drumming knowledge or certain instruments being out of key or syncoptation. Not this dude. Throughout title and beginning track, “Flowerviolence” sounds like someone with experience and know-how had sat down and added the perfect amount of tom and leg work to make the fills sound crisp and coherent for every track, and just the right amount of breakdowns and screams to bring out the core kiddies at any show.

Guitar-wise, one of the fewer details I found out of the ordinary are the somewhat looped riffs which sound like they are maybe half-played or semi-finished before going in a loop. “Cherryhouse” and “Limehouse” were tracks that I felt had really broadened my horizons as to what makes a guitar riff worthwhile, and whether an uninspiring or cliché riff can be chopped up and fine-tuned to indeed add a greater impact. After hearing such unusual riffs played in such a unique style, I was quickly able to see the benefits of being a one-man band.

What one can really appreciate about this artist is the genre-defying ideas that actually step outside of the box and taunt conventions like a junkie teasing a night-club bouncer that can’t leave his post. A definite example is “Megafauna”, starting out as a proper hip hop track with screaming instead of rapping. But then, to go beyond Insane Clown Posse territory, there are tremolo interjection, groove riffs and breakdowns. “Primal Revival” later in the album seems to go on a psychedelic journey through raw chugs, techno beats, and mellow skip zones. These are is just two examples of the kind of tracks which stray on a cosmic level without betraying the target core audience.

Now as far as target audience is concerned, “Centerpiece”, “Channel” and “Purple Zephyr” are ideal hardcore tracks, yet they have so many ambient segments and samples ranging from jolly keyboard anthems to proper dialogue conversations. If I were to try and market these, I wouldn’t know whether these tracks would appeal more on Total Deathcore or the Hardcore Worldwide Channel. It’s positively baffling.

“By Blood” gave me a strange mental image of White Zombie being fronted by a deathcore vocalist and successfully cannibalizing the days where Rob Zombie was the face (and ultimately epitaph) of the band. White Zombie indeed, even if listeners have only heard Black Sunshine (that song on Guitar Hero 3), they’ll agree that the band’s signature style is somewhat similar to this track. It’s been literally decades since I’ve heard that vibe, and I am so pleased to hear it again.

I have a recollection that is very uncharacteristic of me, but I know it’s going to apply to the habits of so many listeners. You see, I’m so straightedge it hurts, but… over the weekend I was visiting some very Australian friends (beer, barbecue, singlets, flip-flops all in winter etc.), and after a few drinks I decided to hijack the stereo with the Bluetooth function and stream “20/20/20” through the band camp app on my phone. Not having a coherent idea of metal or hardcore, these Aussies quickly took a liking to this track consisting of guitar twangs with breakdowns for tails, mixed with slowed down dance tracks. After yet another chugging breakdown getting slower and slower, they decided then and there they would need “extra recreationals” to get the most out of this album… while I quietly sipped my Coca-Cola. Now, I don’t even condone Panadol for a headache, but if you like albums you can get ‘wasted’ to, then I guess this also applies to you.

The final track “Citrus Sun” is strangely mellow with screaming and very few breakdowns. The keyboard harmonies dominate despite the many various chugs and machine gun tremolos that take place. I really liked this track, but despite trying, I couldn’t for the life of me tell you which track is my favorite.
By now, it’s clear that this album is getting a very positive rating. This is a 9/10 as far as I’m concerned. The only flaw I could really offer at all is that some songs just felt too short just as they were becoming really good. I was never for one second bored or even tuning out. This is a masterpiece. Have a listen to this album and then be sure to visit the rest of the discography.

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  • yio on

    ill look for more

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