EP REVIEW: Penguin On Fire – Ma’Or

PENGUIN ON FIRE are a deathgrind and grindcore band from Ma’or, Israel and formed of Tom Rachmann (Vocals) and Eden Goldstein (Guitars, Bass, Backing Vocals). They are, as described on their website “two village boys who got together in the summer of 2010 to make the most brutal and heavy music they could do.” The origin of their name is a mystery to me too.

Formed in 2010, their previous release Casket Builder was largely slept upon by the masses. I don’t want to see the same thing happen here. 

The EP opens with Ma’Or and it starts big. It and the following track, Yeled Hara, is a drum roll up to Ashusharmuta that’s well deserved. It’s likely the mood I’m in but when I was listening to this for the first time, reading along with the lyrics provided in the press kit it hit especially hard.

“Fill my bones with antidepressants
Feed my ego with dissocialisation
I am the product of psychiatrist analysis enough drugs to kill me if I please.
Using self asphyxiation just to reach realizations, I find reality in dissociations.
Medicating with a blade, stomach destination.
Night terrors live beside me like they’re my neighbors.
Anxiety fills my lungs. I see hallucinations”

If I ever manage to write lyrics that resonate with someone that well, I’d be immensely proud of myself. The lyrics are the work of Rachmann, I don’t know if he actually has anxiety or depression, but for me they hit very close to home. It’s one thing this release does extraordinarily well. They haven’t felt pressured to give every song lyrics and I think that it really allows songs like this to shine instead of being lost amongst the noise.

Ya Malshin continues the theme of anxiety going so far to state that he “smokes to kill his anxiety”. A significant amount of the lyrics here feel as though they were written for hip hop rather than metal, which doesn’t come across in the performance but it’s interesting to read them with that in mind. I’d be interested in knowing if they were in any way influenced by artists of that nature.

I hear ghosts in the village screaming out my name

I am like them I am a ghost I don’t feel no pain

Shrill whispers guiding me to paranoia

The sun blinds me as I’m waiting for the rain.”

Again, this song shines for it’s lyrical content but it’s more than that. Whilst it starts in a similar way to most other songs of the genre it subtly separates into its own defined entity. First the tempo changes to a much slower almost doom laden riff, and then the lead guitar stays playing almost mystical arpeggios over the top. It is one of the most satisfying things I’ve heard this year.

Eventually the song ends with the lyric “Save me from this ghastly village” which brings the message of the album into the open and makes it as clear as day.

This isn’t something for a new lover of metal, I think you definitely have to be at least owning the t-shirts of at least two extreme bands by the time you listen to this. It is a solid release, and it’s worth listening to even if it’s just to bang your head or to examine the lyrics.

Rating: 7/10

Words: Jacob McCrone

Ma’Or will be released Thursday 3rd September.

Find PENGUIN ON FIRE on Facebook.

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