When I think of Devil worship I think of all the scary stuff from my youth. I think of serial killer known as "The Night Stalker", Richard Ramirez. Perhaps the most famous Devil worshiper of the era, he had a propensity for heavy metal—flashing the horns while in handcuffs—a pentagram tattooed on his palm—and quotes like, “I love to kill people.” When I think of Devil worship, I think of "The Acid King", Ricky Kasso and his AC/DC t-shirt, King Diamond in Rip Magazine, Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan on the The Geraldo Rivera Show, and finding the remnants of Satanic ritual in the woods behind my house—a candlelit five-pointed star scrawled in ground, the mutilated carcass of a canine, and a forgotten weathered paperback copy of The Necronomicon. Yeah, good old Devil worship and I go way back.
Buck Gooter is a duo from Virginia who, from what I understand, just happen to be Henry Rollins’ favorite band. They have been around for roughly six years and in that time have released twice as much material—a whopping fourteen CDs and cassettes. This three-song 7”, titled, you guessed it—Devil Worship—is the first time they have cut anything to vinyl, and it comes courtesy of upstart label Flannel Gurl.
The title track, which is the only song on side A, was recorded live on reel-to-reel tape at a bar in their hometown of Harrisonburg. It starts off with a zealous audience member yelling “Start this shit! Let’s do it NOW,” and ends with someone from the stage replying, “There’s no reason to live.” What happens in between is hard to describe. There is a machine-driven backbeat accompanied by guitars, which have a faint resemblance to the Gang of Four jam, “To Hell With Poverty.” The vocals are either overblown ooohs-n-aaahs, totally nonsensical shouting or, on the other hand, quite clear and apropos—“I’ve been accused of Devil worship! DEVIL WORSHIP!” With about a minute left in the song, someone starts creating a squealing noise, landing somewhere between old-school Terminator X/Bomb Squad buzz and Ryan Olson’s knob-tweaking moments in Building Better Bombs and Marijuana Death Squads.
Side B starts with “Fife and Drum”, a percussion-heavy affair with much clearer vocals. “The final song will be a worship song.” (Devil worship, I assume?) The record finishes up quickly with “Echoes From a Lonely Tomb.” It sounds like the voice from Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy” played on an old tape deck at one end of a really long hallway, while a recording of tambourine marching band from the Civil War plays on the other. Both these tracks are quite comparable in scope to that of Triumph Of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death—right down to the Spencer Moody-esque vocals.
Overall, Buck Gooter’s sound is hard to pin down. It’s got a little bit of a lot of things: no wave, dance, industrial, noise, psychedelic folk, and so on. If these guys were from New York City, you’d probably find them playing shows with the likes of A.R.E. Weapons, Death Set, TV Baby, or a Free Kitten reunion. All the art school-dropout-punks would say dismissive things like, “Buck Gooter? Oh yeah, that’s like, so 2006.”
While I wouldn’t be surprised if this record was compiled with the specific intent of agitating people, I find it kind of endearing. The more I listen to it, the more it grows on me. Devil worship has changed a lot over years. It’s not just for the long-hair-black-tee-shirt sect anymore.
6.7 / 10
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