When The Kite String Pops is the debut release from Louisianan sludge/doom metal band Acid Bath. The band sounds like a gasoline soaked pit of rage as the instruments are destructive and the vocals from Dax Riggs brings so much energy into each track. Together, Acid Bath creates an inferno of a record, and it could not sound any better.
The opening track “The Blue” focuses on these constant tempo changes that only add to the reoccurring thrash style that Acid Bath does so well. They consistently change from both faster and slower break-down tempos where the sludge style shines, or rather breaks through. The noisy style which follows When The Kite String Pops only adds to the intense level of raw emotion in each track. It is almost as if you could feel each track and like similar thrash and hardcore releases before it, When The Kite String Pops encourages motion.
The following track “Tranquilized” is another blitz of aggression. The percussion from Jimmy Kyle builds the song up with hard-hitting bass and snare blasts to the guitars from Mike Sanchez and Sammy “Pierre” Duet flying all over the fret-board with this extreme electric style. Then when Dax Riggs finally erupts into a screaming match with himself, the band eventually slows down into one of its many masterful breakdowns where bass guitarist Audie Pitre can shine through. The distinct bass groove that leads the song into its second wind of a breakdown was outstanding, it really added some deeper depth to the tracks background layering.
The next track elegantly named “Cheap Vodka” focuses more on a thrash or punk style of music. The way the drums hammer out quick cymbal jabs and the rest of the band follows the guitar’s frantic style begs for Riggs to deliver another stellar vocal performance. The ending of the track is rather abrupt and this is the shortest song on all of When The Kite String Pops. Shorter, but still just as abrasive as the tracks that follow. “Finger Paintings of the Insane” goes hand in hand with the other destructive tracks Acid Bath had done before. However, “Finger Paintings of the Insane” has this duality within the track as the breakdown has vocals that sound more like a chorus and actually more graceful, but this is short-lived as Dax Riggs vocals nearly over power the background vocals. The double bass delivered from Jimmy Kyle perfectly matches the whole theme of destruction and beauty however as the chorus powers through.
Acid Bath is well known for their morose lyrics; the very ill-tempered Riggs gives lyrics throughout When The Kite String Pops, describing “Burning bodies keeps us warm,” “Cut out my eyes so I can’t see,” and “Close my eyes and dream of death.” While all the lyrics are depressed and show the more irritable style of Diggs writing, these lyrics fit the music entirely too well. There would be no possible way to have lyrics that involved cheerier subjects and fit it over music like this, or vice-versa. The band compliments the lyrics and the lyrics compliment the band.
The following track “Jezebel” is a love-letter to what sounds like a napalm infused mosh-pit. The sheer power displayed by Acid Bath is not only intriguing, but the use of background vocals or screams from both Sammy “Pierre” Duet and Audie Pitre bring out even more emotion in the track. The lyrics “This is how it feels to die” ring through the song and the entirety of When The Kite String Pops feels as though it revolves around the subject of Death. This again is perfectly backed by the instrumentation, and it allows for raw authenticity of the band’s inner-emotion to shine through.
“Scream of the Butterfly” follows and this was one of the mellower tracks throughout When The Kite String Pops. It uses acoustic guitar and focuses more on a slower tempo that really makes the heavier tracks explode in comparison. This track still feels very sludgy and focuses on the topic of misery and pain, just in a whole different way. “Scream of the Butterfly” then slowly builds up into a more fleshed out track that focuses more the guitars and percussion aspects, allowing Riggs to take a backseat with some of the calmer vocals.
The action is then back into frame with the track “Dr. Seuss is Dead” which while the track is not initially quick to start, it still has the overlaying theme of death metal and sludge music. The constant wails from the background vocals and what sounds like the thousand-pound drum kit is outstanding. The guitar continues to destroy the fret-board before finally launching into a rushed sounding sprint of a track. This was one of the more interesting transitions on When The Kite String Pops as the song begins as a heavier doom style before launching into a thrash style, only to fall back into the pit of the slowed style.
Following is the track “Dope Fiend,” which is another aggressive track that feels like an assault through music. The track has a slow build up that is great, following the constant style of slowing-down, only to speed back up into a full dash. Acid Bath is a band that does this style so well, and When The Kite String Pops only benefits from this constant switch up. It not only keeps the songs feeling fresh, but it allows the tracks to breath, letting each breakdown feel more impactful than the last.
“Toubabo Koomi” trails and this is a total punk song with a thrash influence. The entire track is a charged up scream fest from Riggs, a pounding from the percussion with Kyle, and the stringed instrumentalists Duet, Pitre, and Sanchez all fly through the track. Acid Bath is truly a rare-breed that can do thrash, doom, hardcore, and punk music all wrapped into one package and make each track feel so original. When The Kite String Pops is truly something that even today is still second to none. The finale of “Toubabo Koomi” which translates to “The Land of The White Cannibals” slowly fades into this very slow, but powerful last hurrah from Acid Bath before launching into “God Machine.”
“God Machine” features vocals that discusses the minds of the population. This could be in most-likely relation to the 1968 novel of the same name, “The God Machine” where a device is used to try and capture the minds of the public in a total dominant society. The lyrics go in correlation to the rest of When The Kite String Pops as Riggs practically screams his soul out of his body as the percussion from Jimmy Kyle rattles the rest of the band. The double bass work from Kyle is something of pure animalistic rage, and honestly the entire track just screams a power violence style. “God Machine” is an incredibly angry ride through one of Acid Bath’s more impactful tracks, it resonates even after continuing onto the next track, “The Mortician’s Flame.”
The bass guitar opens this track and lets in the flood of sound from the rest of the band. As the screeches from Dax Riggs begin to speed things up, the entirety of Acid Bath begins to destroy their instruments in a total thrill of a track. The guitar and bass are the centerfold of “The Morticians Flame,” they allow the rest of the band to take a backseat and for one grim moment, the bass line erupts in a slick groove breakdown. The percussion then gets its own breakdown which was surprising to see as most of the percussion takes a back seat to both the vocals and stringed instruments. This track lets the amps resonate before jumping head first into “What Color is Death?”
This track is a riot from the first chords even being played. Hearing the extreme level of emotion that goes into each track is such a breath of fresh air as it only continues to improve with each listen. Hearing the ripping riffs and shredding guitar solos that overpower the rest of the track to only finally let Riggs and the band scream their throat out yet again. When The Kite String Pops can be summed up into a simple phrase, “Get in and Get Loud.” The entire album is a full frontal, abrasive, assault on the ears. From the pounding drums, to the flaming guitars, to the aggressive vocals, this is one hardcore masterpiece from track to track.
The action finally dies down with “The Bones of Baby Dolls” which features a bigger focus on the acoustic style of guitar and stings. This isn’t to say that the song is without intensity, as the atmosphere still feels so heavy behind the instrumentals. Even the reverberation behind Riggs voice adds another layer of depth into the track, almost feeling heavier than when he sings or screams. This track, just like “Scream of The Butterfly” focuses more on slowing down the near rapid fire tempo, letting the album breathe before launching into the last track of When The Kite String Pops.
“Cassie Eats Cockroaches” not only features a lovely name, but it also features one of the grimiest and downright disgusting sounding instrumentals. The stringed instruments sound muddy, but powerful. Riggs speaks of “Fucking Open Wounds” which is downright shocking. This again is only fitting as the way the music is being played, there is no possible way that the lyrics could be said over any other style of music. There is also a sample of “Blue Velvet,” the 1986 movie with the classic line “Don’t you fucking look at me.” Acid Bath seems to be the anti-social hardcore group. They are disgusting, grim, aggressive, and lovable from start to finish.