On their sophomore album DISPOSING OF BETRAYERS (out September 14 via Unruly Sounds/The End Records), fellow Chicagoans THESE ARE THEY mine the rich history of Organized Crime in our city to create an album that carries with it a unique topical approach wrapped within it’s brutal sonic delivery.
On the surface, the nine-song set is an impeccably-produced throwback to the glory days of early 90’s death metal, bound to capture the ears of those into BRUTAL TRUTH, OBITUARY, or ENTOMBED. Beneath the surface lies something much more sinister and delightful – THESE ARE THEY are friends of ours.
“Growing up on the streets of Chicago, it’s “underworld” was always present. The streets were tough. Shady characters were a part of life, and you knew who was friend or foe. The dangerous subject of this collection had to be approached with tact,” says guitarist Steve Nicholson – and he’s right.
Those that have grown up or lived not only within the city limits of Chicago, but in it’s vast network of suburbs can identify with a feeling that others may not be able to fully relate or comprehend. The criminal underworld is always there – always present – and for some reason, always felt. Despite being on the “right” or “wrong” side of the law, there’s a sense of pride that comes with the association – one that may not be politically correct, normal, or morally sound – but it’s a part of life in Illinois.
From the moment you see the cover art for DISPOSING, you know what you’re in for. A dead body lie inside the trunk of a Cadillac, his dirty hands bound with rope – his blood-drenched face smothered within a clear plastic bag. It’s a fate met by more than a few within the Land of Lincoln.
Can you get a lesson in gangster history from an album? Let’s look at a two examples:
“The Massacre” opens the album, delivering a heavy groove that recalls Entombed’s 1993 album WOLVERINE BLUES and tells of a “meeting of the minds” where a bloody hit will be carried out – The Saint Valentines Day Massacre of 1929.
“La Mano Nera” is based around The Black Hand, an extortion technique made famous by the delivery of cryptic, hand-written messages demanding payment (like protection money) and signed with a crude black hand. “The message has been delivered,” says the song, “a choice of life or death.”
In the end we all have a choice.
For you the decision should be simple – come September 14th, don’t make a shadowy figure hold a gun to your head. Pick this one up or be disposed of. As our former governor would say, “It’s Fuckin’ Golden!”
Rating: 5/5 Gangster Stars!