Child Bite – Burnt Offerings: Covers And Rarities 2010-2017 [Compilation] (2018) REVIEW

Scouring my sub-conscious for the last year as ‘that band that opened for Unsane‘ this Motor City metallic, punk-janked noise rocking Child Bite band have been a boil behind my ear waiting to pop until now. Without any familiarity with their full-length releases I was more than happy to jump into a B-sides/Covers compilation as an introduction to their studio sound. Their live show is intense, like The Jesus Lizard pre-Capitol Records intense, and apart from missing out on the -swinging beards and crazy eyes- the first disc of this compilation captures that same intensity. ‘Burnt Offerings: Covers And Rarities 2010-2017’ ties off the severed limbs and chronicles the detritus before the staff changes of mid-2017.

The kief, the chaff, the tight pairs of tracks floating about actually make for a great listen on the first disc as the impossible to ignore Child Bite energy gnaws at my ankles throughout. Carried by the mania of Shawn Knight‘s vocals and the uncertain direction of bassist Sean Clancy, many of the band’s influences are clear well before you get to the covers disc. Even though this compilation ties up a second era/line-up for Child Bite I think it serves as a wildly effective introduction to their style and distinct personalities, much like rarity compilation ‘Scott Case’ did for 16 back in the day. Nailing down the band’s sound really requires some wriggling, but the best reference point that comes to mind is the Jello Biafra NoMeansNo collaboration ‘The Sky is Falling and I Want My Mommy’ where Biafra‘s range was stretched by the jazzy noise rock/hardcore style of NoMeansNo. Child Bite is far more intense, aggressively shaking their loopy late 80’s Black Flag fists in your face, and informed by decades of hardcore, extreme metal, and whatnot since. None of it is pretty, none of it is cock-out metal riffing, and all of it is driven by crawling basslines and Knight‘s caterwauling.

The second disc is basically everything I was listening to as a boner teen in the mid 90’s and all of it irreparably changed my life, roughed up my taste and my mind. From Black Flag, Bad Brains, Minor Threat and Unsane this is a greatest hits for any 90’s loner kid discovering metal/punk/noise while getting stoned in his mom’s garage and playing guitar all day. Projection, right? But I never get sick of any version of “My War” or “I Against I”, those songs and full records are things I personally worship, it’s an easy on-board for any rock-adjacent band that’d publish any such tribute. Also included is a throng of Anal Cunt and Celtic Frost covers featuring Phil Anselmo, who also produced their ‘Negative Noise’ record from last year. This session rounds out the second disc just in terms of listenability as the band’s takes on old classics are all ‘out there’ with some sense of humor coming through and Anselmo‘s presence takes over in a cool way, particularly on ‘The Usurper’.

Showing up for the first disc and figuring out who the hell Child Bite were was a mind-bending shock of insanity with a sound appropriately ‘outsider’ enough for long-standing fans of noise rock to sit and chew on all day. The covers disc is a nice extra but I most appreciated the primer that the rarities provided with motivation to claw my way back to ‘Negative Noise’ and light that one up too. I might recommend this more as an introduction to the band’s sound and personality rather than their songwriting, not that it is ‘less than’ their other material but I’d also include ‘Negative Noise’ for a closer look at how strongly Child Bite fare on a focused full-length.

Artist Child Bite
Type Compilation
Released  May 11, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Housecore Records’ Bandcamp! Child Bite Official Website
Genres

Beg for death again. 3.5/5.0

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