I had a dream last night that I was in a muddy, shit-filled gladiator-like pit in South America in the middle of a vicious rugby match. It was violent, it was gross, everyone kept sliding around and bashing each other to a pulp — it was a rugby game to the death, and I have no idea what it was doing inside my head. There was no music playing in this wildly specific dream, but if there had been, I imagine that it could have been Tiny Knives’ Black Haze. The primal, grave-digging snarls that slip between the cracks of metal and hardcore punk of Jai Milx are unsettling and rather painful. How blood is not gushing past her lips after even a few minutes of such throat thrashing is a mystery. Her more punk rock vocal moments, as in the album’s most accessible few minutes “Past Tense,” feel like a soothing cup of tea after the severity of “Dark History” or “Cowschwitz.”
This Portland trio, with Ursula Morton on bass and Jamey Anderson on drums, are avant-garde in their approach to blurring the boundaries between metal, punk, trash, and spoken word poetry. While their anger and intensity may make it easy to call them Riot Grrrl influenced, their approach feels grimier, scarier. They’re quite out there, and I’m not even sure where “there” is, but it’s a damn curious place — and these chicks have planted their flags and raised their swords on the muddy wastelands of it.