Intense nudity and Capri Suns, stagnating water and chicken blood, witches and… mist. These wild and wonderful talking points sound like the musings of a madman, which they may very well be, but they’re also a few of the more random topics that come up when we spoke to ‘damaged sludge metal two-piece hog punching machine,’ to use their words, St Fenton The Tainted.
The sludge-fuzz metal duo released debut album Jaw of the Tyrant Hills on Friday, which they summarise as “six tracks of agonising hatred.” The intrigue is built even further by frontman Fenton T describing it to us as: “It’s our personal festering carnival of unpleasantness really, that and general misanthropy. It’s the Lord of Rot falling down a flight of stairs to the tune of merry go round broke down. It’s…. the gurgling sound of depression and impetigo burnt into rotting skin running down a dirty sink. All these fun things and more wrapped in a two-man sleeping bag used for a hobo orgy and set on fire.”
We asked the guys about the eye-catching band name and who Fenton is, on which Fenton tells us: “Who knows? The juice from the bottom of a thousand dumpsters that have been used to hide the dead? Or Just another denizen of the ether, I mean, from a physical viewpoint currently he’s me, but who knows.
“On a metaphysical level, he can be whichever festering meat sack he has chosen to inhabit and drive onwards until the inevitable destruction his capricious opium scented whim deems fit to indulge in. I like to imagine he’s out there for everyone, giving barefoot lectures on street corners through a bullhorn or the shadow sliding down the inside of a drainage ditch out in the fields.”
And, building on that in more depth, Fenton adds: “I live in the middle of nowhere next to a poultry farm and we had these songs sort of written but we couldn’t get them to sound right. It was a warm month as I recall, like sticky warm, mosquitos everywhere from stagnating water and chicken blood and I have this broken down shed. So we set up an 8 track recorder with some mics etc and started drinking. Now, it’s one of those steaming unpleasant long weekends you get that seems to last a month and you can smell the trees and bushes humming. So we wait, we wait and we drink, and we wait some more and it gets dark, so we drink more and play some music, and the heat’s stifling, but we know we have to wait.
“A day passes and it’s mid-afternoon and my drummer is wandering around the long grass in nothing but his baggy y-fronts and a gas mask and is busy hacking at this old dead tree stump with a hedge scythe and I’m in a deckchair on my concrete back porch just out of my mind thinking my cat is speaking to me, quite literally off my tits on blues and rum when…. we hear the thunder. He looks at me and I look at him and we both kinda jinx a little. So next thing I know we both run into the shed and all the little animals go quiet, ‘cos they know what’s coming. We start jamming these songs out and hit record on the 8 track. The storm breaks and it’s pissing through the roof onto the electrical outlet and we’re fucked, laughing like mad idiots.
“That’s when St Fenton was born…”
Absolutely bonkers, but fascinating. And, if you were thinking about giving their music a go then, well, be warned, as Fenton explains their sound as: “Horrible! I would then go on to find a duck skeleton to use as a glove puppet and through the medium of 3 hours of interpretive dance and intense (and I do mean INTENSE) nudity convey the utter wet flapping wretchedness we’ve tried to conjure on this release.
“There would then be a 10-minute recess where I would hand out mints and Capri Sun orange juice drinks, maybe a bathroom break… then, right back to the despair… and nudity.”
The album begins with the sound of flies and rolling thunder then a lone low-tuned guitar riff kicks in as opening track You Stepped On My Grave begins slowly. Suddenly the guitar kicks into overdrive under gruff drawn-out screams and drums.
That builds into second track Kill What You Love, with darting guitars and pounding drums under disturbing screamed vocals. A repeating riff is driven forward by some huge drums, then a long held guitar noise eventually builds into a series of low growls.
That’s followed by the brilliantly titled God Sent Rain, You Sent Blood and Piss, which opens with a spoken intro then launches into a terrifying fast-paced dark smash of guitars, wild drums and low screamed vocals. It builds into a huge mass of noise, with massive driving riffs under unrelenting vocals. It’s absolutely huge. Check it out in the video below:
And the fuzzy guitar goodness continues with unabated ferocity on Ghost of the Stillborn Summer. It’s frankly terrifying but brilliant, with chugging riffs that will obliterate live audiences across the UK.
But things get even heavier on the penultimate track Do Your Devils Know My Name. Darting riffs are supported huge driving drums and more wild screamed vocals, building to repeats of “Do your devils know my name?” through a chorus that gives way to a huge smash-up of big riffs and drums.
The album closes with another fuzz session Death Wanders Home, which ends with around four minutes of the eerie sound of flies and crashes of thunder that opened the album to add further weirdness to the album.
Given all this madness, you could probably be forgiven for being scared about what inspires it. Scratch that, you’d be absolutely bang on. As Fenton explains: “Appalachian murder ballads, mountain folk, outsiders, wanderers, ne’r do wells and vagabonds. Films about witches, backwoods, horror stories. Mist. If you’re gonna play this type of stuff you’ve gotta give it some personality.
“I really like a lot of very dark and gritty fantasy books like Joe Abercrombie where the characters are these gnarled gangs of surly murderous heathen bastards, but also there’s a dark stretch of humour that runs through it. So that’s in there as well.”
The guys are hoping to have gigs and festivals to support the album but, as Fenton tells us: “We’re hopefully gonna hit up the festival circuit but there’s a lot of politics there. Who knows! Quite frankly it’s like asking a fish to ride a unicycle, no one knows how it’s gonna do and the fish is pretty sure he can’t but we can all hope, right?”
And, to round things off in true St Fenton manner, Fenton says: “My drummer would like everyone to know that he’s ‘up for it.’ I have no idea what that means and quite frankly I’m not gonna ask. He plays drums like a three-legged billy goat but he’s a dreadful person. I’d not leave him alone with your sister… or your pets.”
“Our time here is done. The mist calls and it bids you take your place with us beneath the mountain.”