Neurot Recordings welcomes Seattle, Washington noise rock/post-metal outfit GREAT FALLS – formed by alumni/members of Kiss It Goodbye, Undertow, Playing Enemy, Bastard Feast, Gaytheist, and more – to their family for the release of the band’s fourth LP, Objects Without Pain, confirming the album for September release and issuing its first single, cover art, preorders, and more.
Read any article or comment thread about the Seattle outfit GREAT FALLS and you’re likely to see descriptors like cathartic, heavy, crushing, and unhinged. Maybe even psychotic… And sure, those are all apt. For over a decade, founding members vocalist/guitarist Demian Johnston and bassist Shane Mehling (who also played together in the early-2000s noisecore band Playing Enemy and the experimental duo Hemingway) has honed their sludgy, overwhelmingly intense brand of heaviness, punctuated by delectably discordant riffs, terrifyingly low, thwacking bass lines, and mesmerizingly tight percussion. In the live setting, too, they’re notorious for a stage presence that is so aggressively confrontational and menacing that Mehling once broke his own arm mid-set.
But the most striking aspect of GREAT FALLS, setting them apart from the murky sea of sludge metal and AmRep-inspired noise-rock bands, is their ability to paint a deeply, utterly human story through an all-out assault on the senses: an art the band has perfected on Objects Without Pain, their first LP featuring drummer Nickolis Parks (Gaytheist, Bastard Feast), who joined the band prior to the release of their exhilarating, cacophonous, Funny What Survives EP.
Objects Without Pain takes us on a bleak, purgative journey through a separation – a snapshot of the turmoil and indecision that occurs after the initial realization of someone’s misery, and before the ultimate decision to end a decades-long partnership. From the foreboding intro riffs of “Dragged Home Alive” to the end of the closer “Thrown Against The Waves,” its eight tracks explore the thoughts that come up when a person is staring down the barrel of blowing up their life: How did this happen? Is it too late for a new life? Will the kid be okay? What will make me happier: familiar torment or unknown freedom?
On lead single “Trap Feeding,” we see the main character indulging in “dreams of alone” by scrolling apartment listings in secret. “Alone” is exciting in theory: He can be free to be himself in a new space, finding solace in records, comic books, and video games. But when faced with the reality of filling out forms and credit checks, “alone” shapeshifts into a terrifying concept signaling imminent heartache and unendurable loneliness. He finds himself paralyzed, unable to stomach the decision. “Old Words Worn Thin” considers the logistics of how a move would play out, how they would divide their belongings, what memories each object would trigger. Who gets the records? Who gets the friends, for that matter? In a rare moment of comic relief amid the emotional turmoil and discordant riffs, Johnston screams, “I know I did not make the cut / but I can drive the truck.”
The tale ends with the thirteen-minute existential pulverizer “Thrown Against The Waves.” While the other songs mostly explore the impending turmoil of a future separation, the closer looks back on the destruction after the split of two people who became “sad shelters” to one another rather than loving partners. In a particularly dramatic moment, there’s a return to the former home one last time: “I slide the key under the door / I don’t want the weight,” Johnston shrieks in anguish, anxiously underscored by Mehling’s frenzied rumbling and Parks’ intuitively precise pummeling. Suddenly, everything goes silent for a few seconds, allowing time to process before launching into an agonizing rollercoaster of palpable grief and release. The song brings the album to a close with an emotionally crushing barrage of riffs — giving a glimpse of what the trio is capable of in the live setting.
GREAT FALLS’ Objects Without Pain was recorded at Studio Litho and mixed at Antisleep, both by Scott Evans (Kowloon Walled City, Yautja, Thrice, No Lights), with additional recording by Jon Roberts and Stephan Hawks. The record includes additional instrumentation by John Schork, additional vocals by Lillian Albazi, with Albazi’s vocals recorded by Liam Moran and Sebby Hoppen at Demon Spawn Recordings. The record was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Obituary, Sunn O))) -16-), and completed with art/layout by Demian Johnston and photography by Soren Hixenbaugh.
With the lead single “Trap Feeding,” the band comments, “The song is about the anxiety and stress of trying to do something that would possibly be much better for you but then surrendering to the fact that you just aren’t brave enough.”
Stream the first preview of GREAT FALLS’ Objects Without Pain, “Trap Feeding,” at THIS LOCATION.
Neurot Recordings will release Objects Without Pain on 2xLP – Gold Vinyl in the US and Clear Vinyl in Europe, with the label webshop carrying both variants – as well as CD and digital platforms on September 15th. Find preorders/presaves for all formats RIGHT HERE.
Stand by for additional audio singles, videos, live dates, and more from GREAT FALLS surrounding the release of Objects Without Pain.
Objects Without Pain Track Listing:
1. Dragged Home Alive
2. Trap Feeding
3. Born As An Argument
4. Old Words Worn Thin
5. Spill Into The Aisle
6. Ceilings Inch Closer
7. The Starveling
8. Thrown Against The Waves
Demian Johnston – vocals, guitar
Shane Mehling – bass
Nickolis Parks – drums