Evoking equally the manic insanity of the Birthday Party and the grim insistence of Swans, New York City's Bellmer Dolls make vicious Weimar rock & roll that's steeped in shadow and stinks of blood. It's no surprise that bassist Anthony Malat used to be in LoveLife (the goth/horror band that also spun-off Celebration) or that singer Peter Mavrogeorgis played guitar for Angels of Light; like those bands, the Bellmer Dolls push terror to its extreme, creating songs that shriek and twitch and howl. The tension comes from the balancing of contrasts: the bass is low and creeps like a fever while the guitar lines are spastic and spiky. But it's never just throttle-and-screech: there's a passage at the center of the preciously-titled "L'Condition Humaine" where the guitars indulge in a harrowing highwire act, twitching and wobbling anxiously. There's a cold horror at the core of these songs that nags and unsettles. The Big Cats is an exquisite corpse, a great demonstration of violent decay.
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