The Mass – City of Dis

The Mass
City of Dis

This is one of those CDs you pop into the stereo, sit back, and think to yourself: “What the hell is going on?” Much like other Crucial Blast artists (see Genghis Tron), The Mass fusees together several different sounds that are seemingly polar opposites, but the band makes it work, and makes it work well.

I suppose you could call City of Dis mathy, no-wave-influenced post-punk mixed with splashes of thrash and grindcore, featuring prominent use of the saxophone. Genre-blending is becoming more and more popular, but doesn’t this seem just a little bit ridiculous? Yeah. But do these guys pull it off? You bet.

Start with a base of Sweep the Leg Johnny-style math rhythms, add the start/stop insanity of Dillinger Escape Plan, some jazzy tempo shifts, and a few Slayer-esque thrash riffs here and there and you get the idea of what this sounds like musically. The vocals are for the most part strained yells and burly grunts, but they also throw some death-like growls and other aggressive vocal styles throughout.

The songs themselves all follow the same general formula, but they have their own special variations. Usually they start out with a few minutes of bizzarre, mathy hardcore and then the vocals usually cut out and the saxophone takes over, playing sax-lead acid-jazz-freak-metal. It is outlandish and kind of freaky, but executed immaculately.

If Sweep the Leg Johnny, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Mr. Bungle, and the Dillinger Escape Plan had an orgy while eating sheets upon sheets of acid, The Mass would be the dirty, stinky mess left on the sheets. Truly too eccentric to be explained properly, you must listen to this a few times to wrap your head around it. Easily the most intriguing release thus far in 2005.