Pist.On – Cold World +

Cold War + Album Cover Art

Pist.On – Cold World +
M-Theory Audio
Release Date: 29/07/22
Running Time: 40:28
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

When I was a child I played with childish things. When I became a man, I was supposed to put away childish things but I fucking didn’t because growing older is mandatory but growing up is entirely voluntary and I’d rather be an excited and overgrown child than a staid and miserable adult. Despite all the shit that comes from being a grown up, I’d like to think that I have retained a certain childish and Puckish sense of humour and adventure. And part of that is a glorious and shiny enthusiasm about certain things, music being the main one of them. I am capable of quite staggering feats of idiocy to this day (witness playing a gig at the sadly defunct Lemon Factory in Swansea – My debut gig with Black Rose Park. Got horrifically pissed, struck up an enduring friendship with Kayleigh, who fronted a punk band called Grim Citizens at the time (now they are Ignitemares and are rather good if you like a bit of pop punk), and formed a wall of death while they were covering the Misfits’ ‘Dig Up Her Bones’.  I also broke two ribs during said wall of death and hit someone so hard that I managed to eject my left contact lens and had to drive all the way back to Newcastle Emlyn with my left eye closed. Oh, I forgot. We were due on after Grim Citizens. It was a glorious, filthy mess) and I refuse to grow up.

Now THAT was a good night.

Another magical night I had was many years ago when I went to see Brooklyn miserablists Pist.On when they were touring “$ell.Out”. I had fallen in love with their muscular, yet uber gothic sound when I first heard ‘Grey Flap’ and I think every metal fan of a certain age had a bit of a thing about Val Ium… Anyway, the show was tremendous and Henry Font and Burton Gans were very polite and generous towards the particularly excitable and gauche young Dark Juan and talked to him for some time and generously signed a poster which I still have somewhere. They are a band for whom I have a considerable and long lasting regard and love…

So, it was with considerable excitement and enthusiasm I snatched the expanded edition of the recently reviewed (by the mighty and insightful Simon Black of Ever-Metal.com, no less. https://www.ever-metal.com/2022/03/23/pist-on-cold-world/ is the link for this and I strongly encourage you to read his sage counsel. I agree with every fucking word) “Cold World” EP. This is a special and rather brilliant release because it now encompasses the rare as hens’ teeth “Saves” EP from 2001 that was self-released by the band and is more difficult to get hold of than an honest fucking Tory. I shan’t repeat everything Simon told you about the three songs on the original release of “Cold World”, apart from to say that if you dig melancholy and melody you’ll fucking love them, but I shall tell you whether it is worth you splashing out the wonga on a version that essentially is a three tracker of new music, a twenty-year-old EP, a song from the 1995 Metal Blade compilation “Metal Massacre XII” and four unfinished demos.

ABSOLUTELY IT FUCKING IS!!

Pist.On are one of those rare bands that have something to offer nearly everyone – us sad old goffs appreciate the black humour and melancholy, the doomsters appreciate the lack of speediness, the word freaks enjoy the lyrics which are shot through with snide, self-deprecating wit and there’s melodies and vocal harmonies and one of the great strengths of the band, the raw, gravelly delivery of Henry Font’s singing,  being as it is a fluid, sonorous, sinuous thing that can be dripping raw pathos at one moment and switch gear to vituperative fury in seconds. He is gifted with a remarkable set of pipes indeed and manages, somehow, to project an air of friendliness and danger, AT THE SAME TIME.

The “Saves” EP is comprised of three songs – ‘Vamp 69’, ‘Opera’ and ‘ I Don’t’. All these songs are fucking classic Pist.On – vocal interplay between Font and Ium being the highlights of all three songs. But these are the past of Pist.On, not the future and while they are part of an enviable canon, I want to look towards their future so I shall concentrate on the demo songs from 2021. Although I will state that I fucking adore ‘Vamp 69’ and have done for twenty years.

Of these, ‘Light’ is an absolute monster of a song that showcases everything great about Pist.On – even though they are not the fastest band in the world, they are capable of crushing you easily with their heavily bass-driven sound. It manages to even fit a thrashy little lick or two in there. Listening to Pist.On is like being made to suffer peine forte a dure, but instead of stones flattening you, it’s the bass work of Jack Hanley which is really satisfyingly forward in the mix and loud as fuck. The guitar work of Burton Gans is also fucking exemplary, playfully slipping and sliding beneath the rhythm work of Henry Font, who is also a very capable player. ‘Pain’ is also another very good song indeed, a ponderous, dangerous grooviness slowly overtaking the senses and then slamming you back against the wall and punching until your torso is a bloody, floppy mess. Where other bands might be users of weapons and guns, Pist.On are Brooklyn streetfighters – they’ll still kick your arse from here to Timbuktu, but fists and feet are all they will need to employ. Compared to the comparatively lightweight, arctically clear production work modern metal seems to employ, this record has a most refreshingly heavy, treacly and organic sound that adds a peculiar warmness and deep intimacy to Pist.On’s work that was shared by their compatriots in Brooklyn, Life of Agony and of course the Drab Four, Type O Negative (whose Josh Silver is credited with dragging Pist.On out to the attention of the world). ‘Exhume Her’  is a bit of a cheeky homage to the Drab Four, as it happens, as well. If you substitute Henry’s anguished howl for the mellifluous baritone crooning of Peter Steele in your imagination, you’ll see what I mean. 

In short I can’t tell you how simply fucking delighted I am to have heard this record. Pist.On have lost none of their eclectic romanticism for me (even if teenage Dark Juan was absolutely head over heels for Val Ium) and they have managed to retain their idiosyncratic charm that sits somewhere between metal, goth, punk and grunge. 

I fucking love them, and chucking in the extremely rare “Saves” EP would have earned a high score all by itself although I generally disapprove of re-releases, but “Saves” was something of a unicorn and to have it added to modern Pist.On tunes to compare and contrast is just fucking wonderful and the demo songs also add a raw je ne sais quoi to the experience as well. A twenty-year obsession has just got even worse.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is bouncing up and down like a sugar-fuelled toddler at a birthday party and can’t help but offer the Brooklyn bruisers a full throated 10/10, mainly because I finally have a copy of ‘Vamp 69’, but because this is a beguiling record full of contrasts that fondly remind you of past glories, yet still manages to retain importance and relevance. The world has missed Pist.On, and so have I.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Cold World
02. Ruin Your Day
03. Icicles
04. Vamp 69
05. Opera
06. I Don’t
07. Ice Bath (Demo 2000)
08. Another Day (Demo 2021)
09. Light (Demo 2021)
10. Pain (Demo 2021)

LINE-UP:
Henry Font – Vocals and guitar
Burton Gans – Guitar
Jeff McManus – Drums
Jack Hanley – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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