Album: Tenkiller/Lake Time (Mr. Rodan) - Single
Artist: Chat Pile
Sub-Genres: Sludge Metal, Industrial
Label: The Flenser
Non-Airable Tracks: All
Listening to Chat Pile makes you feel like a psychopathic, axe-wielding serial killer stumbling around an abandoned convenience store in a small, downtrodden town built around a plastics factory in rural Texas. I never knew I wanted that, but the shoe fits.
Hailing from the creatively titled Oklahoma City, the four-man industrial sludge metal outfit originally made waves with a double EP release back in 2019, showing off their penchant for bloodcurdling riffs and vocals. Each EP had a different side of the band, with This Dungeon Earth showcasing atmospheric doomy chuggery in spades, while Remove Your Skin Please sounded more punk-adjacent and schizophrenic. These elements would eventually materialize into a distinctive sound on their debut record God’s Country from earlier this year, which, for me, is still one of the most chilling and terrifying albums of 2022. Its tracklist radiates depression and dread, and vocalist Raygun Busch sounds like he’s violently losing his mind right in front of you.
So with that record being as sick-nasty as it was, I was very excited for the next step in Chat Pile’s discography. Sure enough, the next body on their murderous journey showed up on November 15 in the form of a new single: Tenkiller/Lake Time (Mr. Rodan), off their soundtrack for the upcoming film Tenkiller. Who’s Mr. Rodan? Your guess is as good as mine, I figure he’s most likely either a heinous murderer or about to be killed by one. Tenkiller starts much like you would expect a Chat Pile song to: With a swampy, grimy, dissonant riff and some characteristically schizophrenic moaning from Raygun Busch. The lyrics are as morbid and depressive as ever:
“In the face of recovery, we laughed at you
Kicking dogs in the face”
“And put my dick in a vice
And all the sorrow around you makes you laugh
I kill myself all the time”
I wonder what goes through Busch’s head when he writes this stuff. Maybe it’s a group effort. Maybe they sit together in the studio just spitballing ideas at each other: “Dude, what if he, like, puts his dick in a vice?” “Oh yeah, that’s sick!”
The rest of the song pretty much continues along the same lines for the rest of its duration, only getting heavier and more distorted as it goes along. And don’t forget the very healthy dose of amplifier feedback, just in case you hadn’t figured out they’re an industrial band.
Lake Time (Mr. Rodan) is a surprising departure from Chat Pile’s usual style; a good old country track with no riffs in sight and supreme amounts of twang. While this through me for a loop on my first listen, somehow it still feels like it fits right in with the band’s character; after all, I did say that the axe-wielding psychopathy was taking place in rural Texas. Or Oklahoma, in this case. The lyrics are a merciless parody of redneck hillbilly culture and its issues with alcohol and substance addiction:
“Tarkus, Godzilla, bet you know who won
Smoke a bowl of ice in the hot, hot sun
My cousin’s the sheriff
I got nothin’ to hide”
After doing some research, it appears that Mr. Rodan actually refers to a massive pterosaur kaiju from the Godzilla universe named Rodan. This checks out, given that the song is filled with references to various other iconic Godzilla monsters like Mothra and Ghidorah. Case closed.
All in all, I can’t really say these tracks had me impressed. Tenkiller is a decent single, but it almost feels like leftovers from God’s Country without much sign of new things to come. Lake Time (Mr. Rodan) is a cool novelty, and it's more likely something just for the movie than it is indicative of the direction the band might be going in the future. I hope Chat Pile proves me wrong with their next release, because this single didn’t get me revving my chainsaw quite like I wanted it to.