Cory Smoot Experiment: When Worlds Collide

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Cory Smoot Experiment: When Worlds Collide
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The Cory Smoot Experiment: When Worlds Collide
Progressive Metal, Thrash Metal
Metal Blade Records
June 5th, 2012
Release length: 40:20
Cory Smoot, also known as Flattus Maximus of Gwar, was developing on a solo recording back in 2010. Working in his own Karma Studios, much of the material had been laid down for this endeavor, but due to scheduling conflicts, the full concept of When Worlds Collide never came about. Due to this, instead of using guest vocalists of local bands like originally intended, Cory went ahead and handled all the vocals prior to his final outting with Gwar in the Fall of 2011. While the album has been finished, he sadly will not get to see it released due to his tragic passing. Gwar and Metal Blade Records, however, have made sure that it would see the light of day, and all proceeds from the purchase of this release will be going to the Smoot Family Fund to help provide for Cory’s family. If that isn’t enough of a reason to lay down some cash for this album, then perhaps the music found within will help sway your purchase. Or will it?

First off, fans of Gwar will obviously see a good deal of influence from his main group throughout every track. Even his vocals can sometimes come off like Oderus (David Brockie) behind the mic. But, this isn’t a typical Gwar effort. While it boasts many similarities, you’ll find plenty of intense Progressive Metal foundations and Thrash Metal performances throughout the rather dirty recording. The distortion on the guitars is very heavy and noisy, standing out greatly in that unclean respect, as do the heavy bass chords that add that extra bit of bite to the mix. The drums sound fantastic and, for the most part, clear. There’s a solid click to the bass kicks that is slightly drowned out with a bit of a hollow sound to the snares. Many of the cymbals are crisp, but like the kicks end up pushed in the background. Here and there you’ll pick up on one of two that crash a little oddly, but not to the point where you will really care whether they are too compressed or not. The singing is mostly a clean approach that ends up like the cymbals and bass kicks in volume, but when a little harsher and/or with extra enthusiasm, they greatly stand out above the music.

One of the biggest attention grabbers for this album is how well many of the songs end up working together, whether or not there is a nice transition from one track’s ending, to another’s start. “Religion is Fiction” has a furious, mid-paced intensity to it that really stands out, though has it’s mild moments found largely in the vocals that can become a bit distant. The consistant bass kicks keep the beat in a controlled environment, only slowing down at certain areas after the halfway point. The vocals carry over the fading in guitars that signify the start of “Rebirth,” which doesn’t focus so much on a crushing approach, but slows the pace down either way for some chugging chords that seem like an extended breakdown for just over a minute before picking things up with the guitars against the somewhat technical lead chords. The instruments ring out, and just as it began, “Brainfade” does the same against the fading held guitars and bass. This ushers in a completely different short experience of layered vocals that clash with one another, having one style a bit deeper, while the other higher in pitch and even nasal, all playing in contrast to the softer guitars. Eventually it kicks in with heavier, richer chords and harsher vocals for a short period of time before crashing straight into “Mandatory Purgatory” with a very modern Gwar-esque Thrash Metal approach.

As you can tell, it’s really hard to stay focused on just one style here, as it ushers in so much variety in such a short amount of time. As you become accustomed to one approach, the song ends and you’re greeted with a whole new musical vision. This seems a little odd, but given how the songs bleed into one another most of the time, it really works out to make When Worlds Collide more of an experience than simply a music expression. Of course, not all songs do carry over, such as with “Mandatory Purgatory” that momentarily stops the madness, concluding the first half of the release to allow the next portion to kick in with a countdown prior to what seems to be a rocket taking off. The aggressive music kicks back in a little ways in similar to “Mandatory Purgatorty” and “The Blood Red,” another heavy and intense faster song that harkens to Cory’s time in Gwar and the obvious influence it had on him. Like many others, this track offers up a genuinely catchy experience that will have your head at leat bobbing along to the rhythm, and the softer moments really help to extend the life of this song without being anything one might consider padding or filler. This makes it one of the very few elongated tracks that you can really get into without dealing with a serious case of ADHD.

Of course thins become much more dominant on length towards the end, much like how it all starts with “The Blood Red,” though not always bleeding into the next offering. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out. The title track “When Worlds Collide” is a prime example. It’s a very chaotic track with off-key chords against crushing, slower riffs that give off a dismal astral tone. But, among those closing tracks, “Hollow Tree” really sticks out the most. For the first two minutes and forty seconds, it ends up more like a groovey Stoner Metal track that easily hypnotizes the listener with it’s catchy yet mind altering riffs that are perfect for banging your head along to. The pace picks up with some very impressive chords for a guitar solo that ends up sounding more like it’s a keyboard performance, feeding back into the whole deep space concept once more.

Overall, When Worlds Collide does have its downfalls here and there. Many songs end up sounding largely Gwar influenced and aren’t the most unique cuts you’ll come across for a solo recording, though the variety and transitions in and out of many tracks is very interesting. Unfortunately, you can’t help but get urked here and there when you find a kick ass song you get into, and it’s suddenly shifting into a new track with a different sound, pace, and/or approach. The Cory Smoot Experiment winds up being comparable to babysitting your neighbor’s ADHD riddled child that finished a whole pack of Pixy-Sticks before you even got there, and is on the mid to late stages of the sugar rush. It’s obvious what Cory was trying to accomplish, and as a final testament of his musical skill, it definitely pans out to a very respectable recording. If you’re a fan of his work as Flattus Maximus, then give When Worlds Collide a spin. The sound incorporated here may not be that original, but the whole vision to the release definitely is, and leads to some great matewrial. Not only that, but you’ll also technically be donating to a good cause, which, at the very least, will make you feel better about yourself in some way.

01. The Blood Red – 4:18
02. Fortunate Sun – 2:13
03. Religion is Fiction – 2:29
04. Rebirth – 1:34
05. Brainfade – 2:09
06. Mandatory Purgatory – 2:13
07. Countdown to Oblivion – 4:16
08. The Gauntlet – 2:21
09. When Worlds Collide – 5:03
10. Mutilation – 5:38
11. Hollow Tree – 4:28
12. Sloth Loves Chunk – 3:38
Overall Score: 7.5/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records.