Quote Unquote Records (label)
31 October 2019 (released)
As we go hurtling into the third decade of this millennium, the outlook is fairly grim. An unscrupulous right-wing is ruling America and is poisoning the well of politics across the globe. The demented effects of social media addiction have not only numbed our minds but hijacked our government. Not to mention we are on an irreversible course towards a climate catastrophe. Phrases that until now could only be uttered over the airwaves in a nightmarish science fiction film are now commonplace. This manic dystopian present is on boorish display on the latest offering from L.A. post-hardcore outfit Chotto Ghetto.
Their new full-length album WILDFIRE is a collage of chugging hardcore, bombastic big beats and spastic psychedelia. In a demonstration of our media-soaked culture, the album smash cuts to soundbites snatched from the current headlines as well as performed sci-fi disaster dialogue which blends together frighteningly well. The result is a record that is an eerily accurate reflection of the current media culture zeitgeist through which we are living.
We open with a manic sci-fi debriefing warning of a major catastrophe resulting from project “Wildfire”, a doomed government program. The first musical offering 'Multiversal Receiver' hangs on a snappy, hyped beat recalling Deloused-era Mars Volta, driven by hefty, overloaded mid-range guitars. Vocalist Chris Candy's braying vocals hit a demented pitch as they echo out with a missile silo reverb as he unveils the plan for the doomsday plans. 'New Horror' gives us some of the album's catchiest moments with a frenzied track that bridges '90s melodic punk and post-millennium post-hardcore.
'The Work' takes us on a left turn, slowing it down for a big swollen beat, sounding like Hello Nasty era Beastie Boys with the psychedelia dialled up 30%. Your head bobs instinctively despite the 7/4 time-signature. 'Unstable Isotopes' gives us a window into our present with a dizzying 6 minutes of real soundbites from leading politicians and media moguls, offering a potential explanation; that a nuclear radiation disaster has infected the planet, warping our minds and shaping world events. This pastiche of media highlights the world's current level of collective insanity, simply by assembling them all in one place.
'The Odd Man' and 'Like Old Times' swap out the incendiary guitars for piano. Candy conjures modern Mike Patton projects. 'Eternal Return: Tempus Fuckit' hits again on Mars Volta touchstones with frantically agitated drums and a maniacally cycling guitar lead that makes you feel trapped on a tilt-a-whirl. This track has the band firing on all cylinders, representing the group at their most effective.
WILDFIRE is an outlet of raw expression, an all-too-real mirror reflecting back the sickening nature of our world at the moment and merging it with a plausible man-made sci-fi disaster story. The record is alive with obstinate energy and keeps its underground feel with a very low-fi production. At times, this leaves something to be desired but it's hard to say if a more polished mix would have the same subversive impact.