One thing you can count on the Americans for is, when they’re not copying ours, some amazing town names. One of the things that grabbed our attention with this Massachusetts hardcore act was not only the amazing band name Bottomfed, but the brilliantly named town from which they hail, Buzzards Bay.
We had a chat with the band’s singer Tom Cifello this week, and first up asked him about life in their hometown. Tom said: “Living in Buzzards Bay is great! We live right near Cape Cod, which is a big tourist attraction for Massachusetts in the summer. It gets pretty crazy in the summer. I love it here though. Ryan (Meehan, lead guitarist and songwriter) and I have both lived here for most of our lives.”
Tom describes their music as “aggressive, emotional and relentless” and that hits the nail absolutely on the head. They’ve been influenced by a whole host of metal’s finest purveyors, such as The Dillinger Escape Plan, La Dispute, Converge, Mastodon, Touche Amore and Protest The Hero. So it comes as no surprise to learn there’s wild guitar riffs, screaming solos, smashing cymbals and driving drums, with all manner of creative vocals. To borrow from Tom’s words, it’s a hugely entertaining emotional rollercoaster of energetic metal.
Gardener, from the 2014 EP Whatever, Humanity, is a fast-paced romp of wild metal, with some crazily awesome riffs and gruff vocals amid screams of the likes of “Go on kid, break a fucking leg.” That’s followed by the slightly more laid-back Hartwell, which opens up with a funky, cleaner riff then some big screamed verse vocals supported by meandering guitar licks. Then there’s a great singalong chorus and a huge smashing metal rock-out as the track builds into a heavy ending with some superb guitar blitzes.
A year later they released three-track EP Impatient Pile of Bones, which is potentially darker and more polished but equally brilliant. In particular Cheap Machine is a swift but savage blitz of metallic brilliance, which starts with awesome, fast-paced guitar riffing and brutal screamed vocals throughout. The scream of “I carved your name into my gravestone” gives you an idea of the tone of the track.
This was followed up last year with a two-song split EP with their friends at West Berlin. Bottomfed’s contribution is the excellent Blackened Angel, which sees their trademark outbursts of violent metal underpinned by a truly brutal instrumental breakdown mid-way through. The track is about coping with immense loss and dealing with death, but channeling those feelings into positive memories rather than sadness and grief. That fusion of darkness with a tinge of light is personified by the closing lyrics: “Darkest ditch. Trapped by rust. Death won’t save you from my love.”
Describing their music, Tom tells us: “Our influences to write music are everything from day to day life to major situations. That and listening to music daily, of course. This band has always been the primary form of expression for Ryan and I. Everything I write about lyrically is pretty personal for the most part. The themes that appear are often based around death, perseverance and family.”
Bottomfed have big plans for 2017, as in addition to touring and playing some big shows they will be recording their debut full-length album Chasing The Light, which has been in the works for a couple of years.