Gay Witch Abortion: Maverick

Maverick, Gay Witch Abortion's debut full-length, is the soundtrack to snow-blindness, and to death by black hole—the auditory lifeline to some sightless beyond where the laws of the waking world are gruesomely atomized. This is no temper tantrum or tirade. The brutality here is intensely musical, and is directed not at the listener but in on itself. As it speeds through its 13 tracks in just over half an hour, Maverick is a planet in its volcanic age, gurgling and glowing with a heat so terrifying, it just might produce life.

The opening track, "Down with Giants," perfectly foreshadows the music to come—on it, drummer Shawn Walker and guitarist Jesse Bottomley exchange devastating haymakers, fighting for supremacy in the mix. It is a perfect overture for the following songs, eroding colossi in miniature that feel infinitely more expansive and fearsome than their average two minutes suggest. Luckily, a handful of abstract interludes, which feature mooing cows or looped, modulating drones decaying, break the often unbearable tension that builds from song to song and give listeners just the precious minute they need to recuperate for more punishment.

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GAY WITCH ABORTION
Maverick
Learning Curve Records

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Like a planet in infancy, a few minor things are still a bit out of order. Bottomley's vocals are a distraction. He's mad to compete with his own virtuosic guitar work (anyone would be), and his voice somehow seems mixed, when present, to overpower the music. "Your Own Militia," a mid-point track, droops ever so slightly, falling into a mid-tempo that seems to reference Broken-era Nine Inch Nails. But these hairs, once split, don't last long in this heat. Maverick is an album hewn from living stone. It's just a pity it wasn't released in time to make our Best of '08 issue—it surely would have topped the list.

 
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