ALBUM REVIEW: Car Bomb – Mordial

Release Date: September 27th 2019
Label: Holy Roar Records


Returning with fourth record, ‘Mordial’, New York’s Car Bomb have created an unforgiving and memorable listening experience.

As the contorted melody of ‘Start’ gives way to the frantic chords of ‘Fade Out’ it becomes clear that Car Bomb haven’t lost any of their trademark aggression. Taking cues from grunge, the melodic chorus and bridge create a stark contrast from the onslaught of riffs, with a different tone than previous attempts. Balancing bone shaking rhythms and swimming melody, it displays a new aspect of an ever-evolving group.

‘Vague Skies’ challenges structure and conventional melody from the get go, diving between breathless clean vocal codas, breakneck chugging, and rapid-fire screams. Holding the stylistic and technical deviations together, Elliot Hoffman creates a tight yet organic foundation of drum patterns that allow the harmonically rich bridge to change shape throughout.

On ‘Scattered Sprites’, the band displays a unique take on the breakdown, with guitarist Greg Kubacki using unconventional techniques to create a fresh approach on crowded subgenre. The same can be said for ‘Dissect Yourself’ where, yet again, the instrument is attacked with disregard. But what sets the group’s experimentation apart from others is the revolving hooks that wrap around each track, as vocalist Mike Dafferner unleashes soaring vocals to ground the lofty ambition of the track.

Highlighting the group’s use of melody and fearless song writing, ‘Xoxoy’ manages to move from pounding drum beats and unchained guitars towards lush vocal harmonies and textured beds of pads to create a coda that’s not only delicate and serene, but also moves towards haunting and unnerving.

An interwoven record, each track sits alongside one another sonically to create a rich and rewarding experience. From the thick guitars of ‘HeLa’ and its hypnotising tempo shifts, to the unforgiving assault of ‘Eyecide’, ‘Mordial’ is intended to be listened to with attention. As shown with ‘Blackened Battery’, no second is wasted as the group continually twist the tracks around; from snapping guitars to swirling vocal harmonies, Car Bomb prove that there are avenues left to be explored within mathcore.

For fans of the group, ‘Mordial’ is yet another stellar record by the group, whereas for newcomers, it provides a listening experience that’s fresh and invigorating. Accessible and dense at the same time, Car Bomb have proven that nearly twenty years in, they still have a lot more sonic ground to cover.