Friday, November 14, 2014


Eyehategod, formed in 1988, are from New Orleans, Louisiana. To this day the only remaining original members are vocalist Mike "IX" Williams and guitarist Jimmy Bower. There's something you need to know about New Orleans. It is one of the worst cities; it is a third world country within the USA. It is thirty feet below sea level staying dry by virtue of levees made of paper mache and rubber cement paid for by the lowest bidder. It is a city whose abject poverty is so pervasive that it took a hurricane to wash most of it away (and even then, the powers that be left much of the poor folks to rot after). Then after that hurricane, the refugees fled to the major cities of Texas where the Texans were desperate to kick the refugees out and send em back to Louisiana. It is a place where the religious fervor is actually oppressive. We use that term a lot to talk about fanatical Christians, but in Louisiana you can actually feel the religious right's sleight of hand at work. Lastly it is a place where the racial divide is palpable. Hyperbole aside, Katrina really did paint a stark picture of how whites and blacks live both together and separately from each other in New Orleans.

Newton's third law states that "for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction." In the subculture, we have a law of our own: "the more fucked up the social conditions are, the better the music is." Consider Ronald Reagan's repressive, regressive, and reprehensible administrations and how that is we arrived at USHC (more or less). When you look at how bad New Orleans the society is, it is only logical that the music scene would produce something special. The result was New Orleans' famed sludge metal scene featuring Exhorder, Crowbar, Acid Bath, Down, and Eyehategod. Everyone obviously knows Down because of Phil Anselmo and Pepper Keenan (of Corrosion of Conformity). Down also features Jimmy Bower (of Eyehategod). A lot of people know Crowbar because of their heavy (and oh so polished) riffs as well as Kirk's heavy, baritone vocals.

Eyehategod is the champion of New Orleans sludge. They're the truest representation of New Orleans. Questionable socially (refer to songs like "Hit A Girl" and "White Nigger"), tortured, deviance bordering on anomie, and drug-addled. Obviously we've heard about Phil Anselmo's (mis)adventures with drugs. If Eyehategod has taught me anything, it is that Phil Anselmo is really bad at drugs. While Phil brags that he's been pronounced legally dead from overdose like four times, Eyehategod has been mainlining heroin (for that matter, anything else they can snort, smoke, or shoot) for a long time and functioning(ish) as a band for that time.

One of my favorite stories about a band ever is an Eyehategod story. It talks about when the band was recording their third album, Dopesick. This was at the height of the band's relationship with heroin. The story goes that Williams wanted to capture the sound of a bottle smashing so they could sample it for the album. He goes into the booth and smashes the bottle and then lets out the most viscerally piercing shriek you'll ever hear. While smashing the bottle, he messed up, and sliced his hands up badly. He screams and the next thing you hear is the recording booth door open and slam. The whole thing was used as the intro to the album on the opening track "My Name Is God (I Hate You)". The story doesn't end there. The rest of the band, doped up and watching all of this unfold, thinks it is the funniest thing ever. They can't stop laughing. One of the members dips their fingers in Williams' blood and starts writing stuff all around the studio, like "Hell" and "Death To Pigs". The owner of the studio had to call the label and inquire if Eyehategod was actually insane.

While bands like Down and Crowbar are polished and controlled, Eyehategod goes the other way and offers listeners a glimpse of what aggression, hate, and drug addiction in New Orleans really sounds like. Williams' vocals are pained, not like Crowbar's Kirk Windstein who sounds like a riverboat singer or Phil who sounds like a worn down country singer (for Down anyway). Williams' vocals sound like someone who was abandoned by the world, by family, by God, by love. When you truly feel like you have nothing, you won't sing about it, all you can do is scream. Jimmy Bower's guitar work has comprehension of what Eyehategod is and what New Orleans is. The riffs sound foreboding and anxious. There are times when you can actually hear Eyehategod fiending for a fix on record. Coming from a forsaken place breeds forsaken men. It was inevitable that some of them would pick up instruments and start playing music.

Included are their first four albums: In The Name of Suffering, Take As Needed For Pain, Dopesick, and Confederacy of Ruined Lives


  1. Mikey Williams actually isnt their original singer.

  2. Mikey Williams actually isnt their original singer.