Review: GREAT FALLS – “The Fever Shed”

The Fever Shed cover art

A “fever shed” or “pest house” was a type of building used for quarantining persons with communicable diseases in the 18th century and well into the 20th. Though some inhabitants of these houses received treatment, many were left to perish within these structures. It is only fitting that Seattle noise makers Great Falls chose The Fever Shed as the title of their most sickening full-length to date. Instead of plague-stricken individuals, an abyss of psychosis and neuroses can be found in Great Falls‘ fever shed. Upon entering The Fever Shed, the listener will want to escape the chaos and insanity but will be too enthralled by what they are experiencing to even budge.

In just under 35 minutes, The Fever Shed succeeds in dismantling the listener’s psyche with its unique brand of noise metal. Mind-numbing dissonant, bending guitars open the record on the nauseating “Dressing the Saints”. The riffs cycle between skull-caving pummeling and disjunctive, writhing licks that bleed into bass-heavy, slow-burning interludes. The song is propelled by vocalist Demian Johnston’s pain-stricken ululations, which are the essential ingredient to the album’s mental instability. The volatile duo of “Copper Boneless” and “Cold as Charity” follow shortly after “Dressing the Saints”‘ climax of disorienting feedback. Both of these chaotic compositions unleash discordant, spiraling riffs that intertwine with each other like otherworldly vipers born out of a fever dream. Disfigured sludge arrangements also make an appearance and prove to be catastrophic, only to bleed into walls of cacophonous noise that seem almost inescapable. The band dial back speed in favor of aberrated, Gorgutsian sprawls on “A Gathering in the Head”. Massive, dissonant sludge riffs morph consistently into new, frightening shapes as the song marches towards total disequilibrium. The record is brought to an apocalyptic close with the seven-minute, titanic “Shaped Like Another Man”. The misshapen, monolithic sludge rears its ugly head once again to jerk and twist in arrhythmic, while noisy guitar acrobatics cause ears to bleed everywhere. It proves to be a fitting conclusion to an album so rife with grotesque tunes.

The Fever Shed is a terrifying, claustrophobic experience that proves to be Great Falls‘ most exciting work to date. It’s an extremely dark, ear-splitting release that is sure to excite the most masochistic of metal fans. It is not by any means an easy listen, but that is part of its appeal. It is a polarizing record that will definitely weed out the weak and leave only the most damaged individuals to truly appreciate this work of unbridled insanity.

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Rating: 9/10
Label: Init Records
Release Date: November 14, 2015
Favorite Tracks: “Dressing the Saints” and “A Gathering in the Head”
For Fans Of: Kiss It Goodbye, Playing Enemy, My America and Gorguts

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