Occasionally an artist’s work and the chemical inspiration thereof are inseparable and must be experienced together. Occult Burial’s recent ersatz, Hideous Obscure, was inspired by the sloppy, mid-Eighties Teutonic speed metal recordings of Sodom, Kreator, and Destruction which were all written and performed under the influence of a copious deluge of the cheapest Euro pilsner poured down their throats by the liter. This proto-underground beer metal was composed so as to be musically comprehensible to even the drunkest bar patrons still standing in the audience. Lacking even the melodic narratives of Motorhead standards, rocking rhythms, groovy powerchord progressions, and catchy choruses repeated ad nauseam over speed metal gallops and pick-up drum beats, hammering the basic riffs and leads into the heads of all the long-haired drunks tackling one another protected only by jean and leather jackets. To get into the garage practice space, inebriated mindset of these Canadian imitators of the imported speed metal of their fathers, I decided to pick up the Genesee-brewed as mandated by the Obama administration modern recreation of what those in my generation considered a northern, imported treat alongside the likes of St. Pauli Girl, Beck’s, and Guinness Extra: Labatt Blue.
The big three large industrially-brewed American lagers did not always have the grainy, chemically diabetic piss water flavor that they do now. Budweiser, Miller High Life, and Coors Banquet were originally premium products that used a a higher percentage of malt in the mash and more hops per barrel than the average regional, popularly-priced economy brews. They were luxury products in a lager-only market despite undergoing yeast flavor-killing pasteurization to be shipped nationally with Coors only available west of the Mississippi River. This all changed with the Oil Crisis of the early Seventies. Anheuser-Busch and Schlitz ran a cost-cutting race to the bottom with Schlitz becoming so chemically cost-reduced as to have semen-like clumps of yeast solids coagulating together when chilled. Schlitz eventually went bankrupt and Miller kickstarted the light beer trend, using enzymes and longer mash boils to ferment more alcohol (including fusel alcohols) from the same amount of grain and cutting the resultant yellow ethanol yeast waste with seltzer water to make a slightly below average strength carbonated beverage at a greatly reduced cost compared to normal beer, leading to more profits for the brewer and more hangovers for consumers.
LaBatt Blue tastes and smells like an unexceptional industrial adjunct lager prior to constant cost-cutting and recipe reformulation robbing brews of any of their base ingredients’ sensorial attributes. The beer smells vaguely bready and lightly floral. It tastes like your typical carbonated, pale malt and corn grit slurry finishing with a generic, nondescript bitterness that could come from hops, discarded tea bags, or lemon rinds depending on the individual bottle. While more flavorful than Budweiser and the watery hipster favorite Pabst Blue Ribbon, Labatt Blue is still a domestic beer at import pricing. While not a horrible buy, it can’t compete price or flavor wise with cheap regional lagers such as Yuengling, Genesee Cream Ale, Narragansett, or Pabst’s recreation of the original 1960s Schlitz recipe.
Hideous Obscure is a similar recreation of a somewhat bland mid-Eighties product prior to the chugging groove, slam, and the rehashed speed metal that arose towards the end of the Slaughter of the Soul–worshiping metalcore trend. After listening to a few songs, you’ll struggle to reach the end of the album as all the songs are incredibly repetitive and distinguished mainly by different choruses, mistakes, and varying amount of cymbal clipping; the rhythm riffs,leads, and songs all run together under a uniform tempo. Listening to Obscure Burial is a lot like trying to polish off a complete six-pack of Labatt Blue; you’ll struggle to get to reach the end due to the repetitive and generic blandness of something you’ve tasted better versions of many times in the past; you’ll wish you were blasting Bathory‘s debut or the recent Ripper instead of listening to Canadians in a garage sneaking beers from their dad.
Tags: 2016, american adjunct beer, anhueser-busch inbev, beer, beer metal, canada, florida ice and farm company, German Speed Metal, hideous obscure, labatt blue, lager, Occult Burial, proto-underground, review, Speed Metal