CD REVIEW The Cory Smoot Experience

Band : The Cory Smoot Experience
Album title : When Worlds Collide
Label : Metal Blade Records
Distributor : Rough Trade Benelux – Concreteweb Promotion Office – Tone
Release date : 01/06/2012
Release : CD

Cory Smoot? He was the guitarist whom, in September 2002, took on the role of the character of Flattus Maximus in the wonderful hellhole circus band known as GWAR. At that moment, he dah already played with the band Locus Factor, and would continue to occupy his off hours from GWAR in the bands Mensrea (released self-titled album in 2005 and followed that up with the 2008 album Media Coil Interrupt, both issued through Karma Productions) and Misguided (no extra info available at moment of info-gathering).

Actually, Smoot had already applied for that position in 1999. As a talented producer, he would rent his services for the recording of GWAR's War Party, and also co-mix the 2006 album Beyond Hell with Devon Townsend. Both albums were recorded at Smoot's own Karma Studios. He also co-produced (alongside other GWAR members) Beyond Hell's follow-up album Lust In Space, and even sang lead vocals on the album's track “Release The Flies”. On GWAR's latest release, Bloody Pit Of Horror, there's a 12-minute string of 4 tracks bound together, which Smoot originally intended to release on a solo album. However, at the suggestion of GWAR lead singer Dave Brockie, it was re-written to be featured on the GWAR album.

But those were not his only contributions to the sound of GWAR. Brockie (a.k.a Oderus Urungus in GWAR) himself states, “Cory Smoot is one of the great unsung heroes of Metal. His musical abilities transformed GWAR from a splatter-Thrash phenomena into a top Metal act. The album was recorded by Smoot at his own studio during 2010, with the intent of inviting some of his singing friends (among which the aforementioned Brockie, and Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God) of the Richmond Metal scene to come in and do some contributions. Regretfully, conflicting schedules didn't allow for this to happen. Undaunted, Smoot finished all vocals himself, renamed the project from Religion Is Fiction to The Cory Smoot Experiment, and finished the whole package just before his final tour with GWAR in the fall of 2011.

So, why do we speak of this guy as in past tense? Well, it's because he died of a “coronary artery thrombosis brought about by his pre-existing coronary artery disease” on November 3rd, 2011. He died alone, his fellow band members finding him dead in the band's tour bus as they boarded the bus in preparation of crossing the border from North Dakota into Manitoba, Canada. The day after, Dave Brockie announced that, out of respect to Smoot (who'd been the longest-running impersonator of the GWAR character), the character of Flattus Maximus would be retired.

That the man indeed lived and breathed GWAR music, is proven sufficiently by this solo album, which is lyrically a step away from the futuristic phantasms of GWAR, as it is a critical appraisal of the world we live in...but musically could actually be a copy of what GWAR brought, including the subtle layers in the music and vocals. In some ways, it's his best work yet but, of course, some critics will not agree with that assessment (I mean, just read the shitty review made by that guy from (www.) zwaremetalen.com), but I personally believe that fans of GWAR are gonna regard this as the man's ultimate achievement. Oh wait...there may actually be a follow-up, you know, as at Amazon.com I found 3 previously songs (with a combined length of almost 37 minutes) under that The Cory Smoot Experiment monicker,  which have not been released in another form that by downloadable mp3 yet!Well, count me in as a surefire taker for that!

Meanwhile, I'm afraid that other the 30-second samples provided for the album's track by your trusted online sales sites (the above mentioned included), you will only find a full-length version of the track “Countdown To Oblivion” at the artist's page on (www.) metalblade.com. Although a relatively representative track, there's still unexpected sides to the album, like the doomy slowness of second track “Fortunate Son”, or the wacky Psychedelics of album closing “Sloth Love Chunk”. In essence, this is thé alum of the year for fans of heavy Metal with Progressive leanings. In effect, any purchaser of the album will be contributing to a fund, especially raised to support the Smoot family after the far too early parting of their beloved family member.

GWAR fans and members alike will always remember him as the only true Flattus Maximus, but the latter will certainly keep in mind for the person he was underneath. In the words of Brockie, “We really loved the man, and there is not a day that goes by or a GWAR show that is played, where he is not sorely missed!”

95/100

Tony.