Album Review: Chopping Mall — “Mauled By A Magical Bear With Scalding Hot Liquid Cheese Spraying From Its Eyesockets”

Look, at this point you already know everything you need to know in order for me to sell you on this record.  The band is called Chopping Mall.  The name of this album is Mauled By A Magical Bear With Scalding Hot Liquid Cheese Spraying From Its Eyesockets.  That in and of itself should be enough to make you go and purchase this immediately, but I guess if, for some reason, you need more convincing, there’s more under the cut.  But seriously, if you’re not sold by now there might be something wrong with you.

Chopping Mall is a product of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Koth Dolgomoru.  Self-stylized as “one stupid asshole with no friends,” he also happens to be the singer, songwriter and sole instrumentalist on the album.  Legend tells that there used to be twelve people in the band, but Dolgomoru is the only one remaining, which seems a bit extreme since this is allegedly the debut album of the project (or seventh album, it is really hard to tell from looking at their Bandcamp page where the goofs end).  Nebulous lore notwithstanding, if you couldn’t tell by now, this is a grindcore project, in the style of grindcore that most directly appeals to me and my sensibilities: the kind of fast and furious grindcore that doesn’t back down musically and doesn’t take itself the least bit seriously in terms of lyrics.  We, as a squad, talked at length about Wake’s new album Devouring Ruin and “thinking man’s grindcore” at length on our Album of the Month Chat, and as much as I loved Devouring Ruin (spoiler: I loved it a lot), this right here is what I believe is the way that we were intended to have grindcore.  The riffs are absolutely ignorant, the drums are pummeling, the average song length is under 2 minutes (“Ruined Food” clocks in at a hefty 2 seconds), the lyrics for each song are written in under five minutes, and the lyrical content is appropriately full of over-the-top disgusting imagery.  This is an album that rejoices in the sweet release of not taking anything seriously, but while a lot of this album is meant to be humorous, there’s no joke about how hard it goes.

At first glance you might be tempted to write this album off as a goof.  Surely the music on the album can’t be any good when the songs all have titles like “Forced to Eat Moldy Granola,” “Gored by a Dinosaur Skeleton That Came to Life at the Museum,” and “Gurgling Vomit From The Mouth of an Engorged Walrus,” but that is where you’d be absolutely wrong.  The caliber of musicianship from start to finish is surprisingly high quality, and the songwriting and production is as good as you’d expect to find anywhere, least of all from “one stupid asshole” cracking mostly food related jokes in lyrics written in under five minutes.  There’s a lot of big crunchy riffs that gives the songs the kind of replay value you might not expect.  Take “Burned by Hot Popcorn Steam,” for example.  The furious blasting of the drums lays down a distinctly grindcore foundation, but the death metal riffing is really good, and it makes the song a lot more than just a cautionary tale about the dangers of shitty microwaves and generic-brand popcorn.  “Bubbling Liquefied Innards Simmering in a Cast Iron Cauldron” oozes and drips with a slimy, Bloodbath-esque riff that trudges along for the requisite ninety seconds before ending.  “Plastered in Unicorn Feces” starts with a hardcore punk beat that slams into a huge breakdown for the “chorus.”  A part of me kind of doesn’t want to ruin the surprise, but it bears mentioning that the album closes with a seven-minute straight-up country tune about barbeque, which is another testament to Dolgomoru’s musicianship.  He can pull it off as convincingly as he can pull off guttural vocals, blast beats and downtuned chugging. Was all of this just so I could laugh at some of the song titles all over again as I write this?  Absolutely, but also please believe me when I say you don’t want to write this one off.

Chopping Mall describe themselves as “the most brutal, unforgiving deathgrind band of all time,” and with an album like this it’s easy to see why.  Are they being over-the-top to make a joke?  Probably, but it’s not entirely without merit.  This album is really, really good.  If you’re looking for quality musicianship in your old school deathgrind worship, this will scratch that itch quite nicely.  And, at the end of the day, we could all use a good hearty laugh at some absurd, ridiculous imagery.  That might be enough by itself.

– Ian

Mauled By A Magical Bear With Scalding Hot Liquid Cheese Spraying From Its Eyesockets is available now on the band’s Bandcamp page.  For more information on Chopping Mall, visit their Facebook page.

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