I’ll say this for Metal Mothman, the new EP from Washington DC based rockers The Love Load: it’s aptly titled. Before I’d even given the thing a listen my head was already swimming with retro metal riffs and cheesy horror movie lyrics about mysterious winged creatures lurking in the shadows. Much to my delight, that’s exactly what I got; Metal Mothman is 15 minutes of gleefully silly old school rock and metal about a giant moth delivered with the camp, low budget aesthetic of a bad 70’s B-movie. To say that this EP is good might be stretching it a bit, but it’s definitely fun and well worth a listen.
Metal Mothman opens with a melodramatic spoken word intro chronicling the supposed origins of the titular monster over a lumbering Black Sabbath inspired riff. The sheer level of ridiculousness offered in this first track might be enough to turn away less dedicated listeners/monster hunters, but the music that follows isn’t actually all that bad. “The Awakening” and “Tower of Babbling Arrows” borrow liberally from the sleazy, feel good metal of yesteryear, pilfering thrash riffs, snarling vocals and dual guitar harmonies that hearken back to a time when heavy metal monsters like Iron Maiden, Helloween and Slayer ruled the earth. Musically it isn’t remotely original but it’s competently put together and authentic enough that you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a forgotten vinyl from some obscure 80’s cult band rather than a new release. The guitar leads in “Tower of Babbling Arrows” are particularly cool, and the southern tinged bridge adds an unexpected but welcome classic rock influence to proceedings. The recording quality isn’t great, the playing is a touch sloppy and Ted Watt’s vocals aren’t fantastic, but it all adds to the quirky, home-brewed DIY aesthetic of the music. If this were just a normal thrashy retro rock EP with the usual lyrics about sex, drugs and booze then it would be fairly inoffensive. It’s the ludicrous subject matter that takes Metal Mothman to unprecedented levels of weird.
The weirdest moment by far is “The Bridge”, a song so bizarre it’s rather hard to describe. The track is essentially three and a half minutes of screeching feedback and random guitar noises, over which a sinister, distorted voice waxes lyrical about the folly of mankind through the ages, alluding to the collapse of the silver bridge in Point Pleasant in 1967, which is supposedly connected to the Mothman legend. Keeping a straight face is nigh impossible while listening to lyrics like “Man: the most baffling of the beasts” and “arrogantly putting bridges across waters to look down upon the lonely fish”, or my personal favourite “Alas, the chink in man’s armour doth begins to show!”
Clearly The Love Load are more interested in a love of monster movie clichés and goofy conspiracy theories than making innovative music, but if you’re into that kind of thing then you may well find Metal Mothman to your liking. It’s too silly for me to wholeheartedly recommend, but equally it’s just too darn weird to ignore. In other words it’s everything you’d want an album called Metal Mothman to be.