New Hampshire’s unassuming noise rock / mathcore quartet, Willyzx, who dropped their debut EP in 2017, returned with an absolutely massive single and accompanying music video earlier this year, “Error In Facade,” that gained some serious traction in the underground community and which we discussed our companion podcast.
Shortly thereafter the band announced their 2nd EP, “The Raw Congenital Complex,” and today we have the distinct pleasure of bringing an exclusive early stream of the full release.
Two things are immediately evidently on the first listen of “The Raw Congenital Complex:”
- The production has improved significantly
- The band are capable of writing a broad variety of styles under one umbrella
Apart from the improvement in audio quality, Willzyx really do display quite versatile song-writing on this new effort, giving every song distinct character that still very effectively conveys their overall aesthetics across a variety of shifting moods, tempos, and dynamics.
“Panic Corpse of a Smile,” the EP’s opener, presents to an us overture of sorts that nicely summarizes the band’s sound, hitting the listen first with their off-kilter groves and fuzzy, thick guitars, which are probably the star of this release. This song also sees the band experimenting barely more than a minute into the first track, introducing some almost unexpected melodic material comparable to some of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s more accessible works, with rich and atmospheric guitars and sung vocals that soon shifts back into the staccato language of mathcore we all love.
There’s also a strong air of creepiness on Willzyx’s 2nd effort. “Cauterized Eye” is a slow burn, beginning with arpeggiated chords and reverb heavy vocals that sit ominously in the background before turning into a straight 4 to floor full on dance banger. “Error In Facade,” the EPs leading single and strongest track, has an infectiously catchy pianissimo mid-section with thought provoking lyrics that soon develops into a full on explosion of rhythmic reiteration, punishing the listener with angular guitar work a la Daughters and their primary influence, Arab on Radar, but delivered with far more aggression and all stamped with the band’s own unique take and color palette.
“Impractical,” the 3rd track, sees the band dabbling more extensively into sounds that are more purely math rock, with its glitchy, Battles tinged intro and Arab on Radar inspired bridge (which is so short, one could blink and miss it). This track has one of the EP’s more memorable conclusion, with chorus and otherwise effects sliding heavy guitars that strongly invokes the speech-to-song illusion; any sound or speech pattern, if repeated enough times, will start sound to sound like a musical phrase, and Willzyx effortlessly employ this almost exclusively noise rock device in the mathcore context. “Cast Off,” similarly to “Impractical,” begins slow and more methodically with clean guitars and soon crescendos and subsequently decrescendos at the track’s conclusion, but mostly serves as an interlude and a primer for the EP’s final track.
“Calloused and Cynical,” which contains the EP’s eponymous lyric, also neatly describes the overall vocal and lyric approach to this EP. Aside from the guitars, which I praised earlier in this review, the vocals and lyrics are also at the forefront of this release and are both very dark and thought provoking:
“The raw congenital complex dripping through your pores / this atypical activity divides / you want the pardon with your contracts under fire / waiting to commandeer the imminent death if in it a bond.”
Willzyx have done what some bands aren’t even capable of accomplishing album to album without releasing an actual LP: make significant stylistic progression. I expect we’re in store for an excellent full-length if they continue to develop the sound they’ve made their own on this EP.
“The Raw Congenital Complex” drops tomorrow via Bandcamp.