Friday, 27 February 2009

Crass antics for Desalvo


Desalvo’s first record, Mood Poisoner, is a barrage of ferocious metal-core noise. Their tattooed, shaven headed behemoth of a singer, named simply P6, is an intimidating sight to behold. Taking these facts into consideration, you could be forgiven for not believing that his articulate Glaswegian speaking voice could possibly belong to the same person who produces the desperate screams and depraved behaviour that P6 is renowned for.

Their deafening aural assault is complimented at their live shows by a healthy dose of juvenile silliness, as P6 explains, “There’s usually five or six maniacs who’ve brought their own Mexican wrestling masks and are having a party.” Their camp and somewhat theatrical performance, combined with the audience’s childish tomfoolery might seem like the kind of thing that would alienate the veterans of the Scottish metal scene. But, P6 assures us, this is not the case, “I was once lap dancing for a Hell’s Angel when we played a show in Aberdeen. He loved it!”

Desalvo have an element of the ridiculous about them, with song titles like ‘Cock Swastika’. “Using a title like that is about castration and deconstructing masculinity.” He explains. “I try and subvert that through the shows. I’m a big gay man; I’m perverse and threatening but also quite disgusting.” Taking an 18 stone man in a pig mask seriously is difficult, particularly if he is wielding the porcelain head of a moustachioed chef on stage. An unusual mascot for a metal band, with an appropriately unusual story. “I was at a party, getting it on with this guy and his Mother was really into the idea and was watching us.” He reminisces, “It was pretty Oedipal and strange. On the way home I found that chef’s head. I kept it as a memento of that Freudian nightmare scenario.”

The band draw musical comparisons with the likes of Mastadon and Converge, although they are not as fast or energetic. Their sound Ranges from the laying down of slow grunge like grooves, to building up an almost impenetrable steel wall of down tuned riffs, through which occasional snatches of emotion laden, melodic guitar seep through. The sound is not original but does fill an aching gap between the legs of the whore that is the modern metal scene. “There are so many haircut bands around, a 43 year old man rutting and fucking a monitor at the front of the stage is gonna look a bit different to somebody who has styled their hair in 14 different directions, then got their neck tattooed, so they look as pretty but as hardcore as possible.” P6 is happy for his band to remain on the fringes of the metal scene, stressing the importance of a DIY mentality. “Our points of reference go back 25 years to the DIY ethic of Crass, Amebix, Antisect and a lot of the crusty punk bands and the independence of that.” Perhaps it is for this reason they claim to have no interest in pleasing the fans of commercialised modern metal. “We get people at our gigs who say, ‘I shouldn’t be into this type of music. I’m not even particularly into rock music. I’m into nonsense pop, but that was amazing!’ That is the biggest compliment we can get.”

Published: The Stool Pigeon, December 2008

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