Otto von Lumberghast starts his career as a professional wrestler this year. Though we cannot verify the truth in these claims, we know he is the vocalist and programmer from Hertfordshire industrial black metal duo, Zebadiah Crowe. In that band he goes by the name of The Horrid, but Lumberghast is his solo project. It seems the aim with First Person Shooter is to write an aggressive form of synthwave as his walk-in music for his first wrestling match. That’s an unusual raison d’être, but it should produce the adrenaline spike he needs for his debut fight.
Lumberghast likes blast beats and heavy synths, but he eschews the former in favour of muscular drum machine sequences throughout the eight instrumental tracks on offer here. Opener, ‘Hello Decimator’, uses radio static loops like drum accents and feeds film dialogue through the speakers as if remixing a Ministry song from their 1988 The Land of Rape and Honey LP. The eruption of double-kick beats prepares you for an industrial metal crusher that never arrives. They six-string axe is much louder on ‘Splatterhouse’, where the thick bass frequencies bristle with hooligan delight. Melody has no place in the dark cauldron of Lumberghast’s vicious synth onslaught.
First Person Shooter lacks the high-frequency programming and horror film nostalgia of synthwave’s most famous artists, yet the slimy thrash metal of ‘Arcade Bloodbath’ deserves more than one spin. The guitars on this record sound like new machines installed on the factory floor next to the old ones. It might explain why ‘Kaiju Headache Flowers’ evolves like an obscure remix of Prong from their industrial metal era. This one is the closest thing to a fugue, with the main repeating sequence comprised of four different layers of sampling to complete a basic hook. ‘665.999’ tries something similar and almost succeeds. The problem with this record is the lack of variation in the drum department. Every song plays the same high tempo 180 bpm pattern as if imitating Ministry’s ‘N.W.O’. You’ll struggle to distinguish closing track, ‘Nero’, from anything that came before it. Listen how the sinister metal riff brewing in the background sizzles like a false scare of vertigo – it goes nowhere in the end.
Lumberghast will have no problem flexing his muscles for the wrestling ring, but this album suggests he has limited moves in his repertoire and might need to rely on stamina rather than skill to see him through his first fight.
Release Date: 01/05/2023
Record Label: Self Released
Standout tracks: Splatterhouse, Kaiju Headache Flowers, Slap Cannon
Suggested Further Listening: Perturbator – Lustful Sacraments (2021), Ministry – The Land of Rape and Honey (1988), Draven – Abyssal Arcana (2022)