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Cult Fiction

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Album Review

Any album with a second opening lyric that reads "Bi-curious husbands with seven-year itches" — screamed out at the top of one's lungs with post-screamo rough-voice élan, the better to burst through the riffage on top of further riffage — is, at least, looking at humanity with an off-kilter eye. Cult Fiction's artwork further marks the conflation where anarchopunk and doom metal and more once again reassemble — everything from the Rev. Jim Jones to butchered cows to a well-staged murder-suicide is featured — and ultimately what Spitfire aim at isn't breaking boundaries — understandable enough after a decade-plus of work together on and off — but making a mark with the familiar. Which the band does very well — touching on everything from an almost romantic sense of epic melodrama ("Apnea 1" is a beautifully bombastic piece that, at three minutes, almost feels too short) to subtle but effective samples and similar touches with their arrangements — is it a guitar on "Chemo Therapist," the trumpet of an elephant, both? Spitfire start off sounding OK enough and end up somewhere better by the end. This said, for a band with a lot of experience under their belt their various borrowings and inspirations are sometimes a little too clear — that everyone from Metallica to Pantera to Iron Maiden to the calmer side of the Mars Volta and back again can audibly be heard makes it hard to listen to Cult Fiction without drawing the many connections. (At one point on "Mother Earth in Labor" they almost sound like early Red Hot Chili Peppers gone thrash, a confounding prospect.) But sometimes moments like the combined seagulls and cymbal hits and alarm clocks on "Brain Debris" — Pink Floyd for a grimier world — just plain work. If Spitfire do too many things at once to make their own sound distinct this time out, they still entertain very well.


Formed: 1996 in Virginia Beach, VA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

While under the influences of heavy indie/hardcore hitters such as Fugazi, Motörhead, Slayer, Unsane, and Godflesh, among others, Matt Beck (guitar/vocals), Jimmy Reeves (bass), and Chris Raines (drums) formed Spitfire in 1996 in order to make a little noise in their quiet Virginia Beach community. With the release of their debut EP, Straining Toward What's to Come, Solid State took notice and signed a deal with Spitfire; this resulted in the release of their first full-length, Dead Next Door, in...
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Cult Fiction, Spitfire
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