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Backxwash: I Lie Here Buried With My Rings and My Dresses

If Montreal rapper Backxwash’s previous album God Has Nothing to Do With This, Leave Him Out of It was about feeling your pain, growing past it and learning to forgive those who disappointed you in the past, (although, refracted through an industrial hip-hop lens, that’s kind of hard to tell) then I Lie Here Buried With My Rings and My Dresses is more of a ‘let your p–s rot the coffins of your enemies’ kind of vibe. The more esoteric occult references of God Has Nothing to Do with This are toned down here somewhat, the lyrics here are a lot more orthodox and direct but no less hard hitting for that—quite the opposite. Backxwash here paints a bold and incendiary portrait of what happens when someone successfully goes clear from a community and belief system that believed they were inherently evil and needed to be controlled, only to find themselves tumbling headlong into a secular society of drugs and passive aggression.

The themes of gender identity and trans expression come more from an earthy direction here, with Backxwash sounding less guarded by Gothicism and more like someone legitimately struggling to deal with or even comprehend their emotions when they’re swimming in a sea of stimulants, depressants and hormone therapy. All this leaves Backxwash faced down by a society that has no use for someone like her, or much regard for her well-being, to which she is responding with justifiable and relatable levels of rage, and the music here works to put power behind that anger and give it extra rows of teeth. With its industrial hip-hop soundscape, I Lie Here Buried sounds almost like a Clipping take on an Atrocity Exhibition like pharmaceutical-odyssey of drugs and loathing.

Speaking of Clipping, they do provide Backxwash with one of her beats here, for the track “BLOOD IN THE WATER”. Perhaps this, and the Godspeed You! Black Emperor sample harnessed for the closer, are illustrative of Backxwash’s increased profile in the past year, with God Has Nothing to Do With This having earned her some big endorsements, including winning Canada’s Polaris prize. Hopefully her star will continue to rise in the coming months and if we get a third Clipping horrorcore album this Halloween (as I fervently hope we will), I’ll be disappointed if Backxwash doesn’t make an appearance.

I also hope the other artists featured here will benefit from their inclusion. Ada Rook of Black Dresses provides an absolutely monstrous hook for the title track that is one of the most devastating pieces of audio I’ve heard all year, while still managing to be an unshakable earworm. CENSORED dialogue meanwhile provides an opening verse to the following track “TERROR PACKETS” complementing Backxwash’s style and voice perfectly with their more aggressive delivery here.

God Has Nothing to Do With This, Leave Him Out of It was such a bombshell in the middle of last year, it’s almost incredible to believe it was really as short as it was at just twenty minutes or so. With I Lie Here Buried With My Rings and My Dresses, Backxwash displays a tracklist that’s both lengthier and denser, and with the level of intensity she maintains, you may find yourself missing the interludes that were built into the shorter project. There is something about that project’s pacing that makes it feel like the more refined and dynamic musical statement, but there’s no denying the raw venom of this album. What Backxwash loses in the noise and metal influence of past projects, she gains in the sheer no-nonsense industrial hip-hop presented here, without losing out on the ambitious song structures and frightening intensity.

Perhaps I would’ve liked to have heard a little more of the variety showcased on previous projects—I mean, her debut Black Sailor Moon saw her spit over the instrumental to Britney Spears’s “Toxic”. Each song here comes heavy with distortion and a relentlessly charging beat, but there’s no arguing it’s not a winning and unique formula and one that immaculately fits the tone she’s going for. The whole project is so cohesive and unified in its sense of devastation and fury. Besides, there are enough moments that give each track a unique flavour, like the African chanting on “666 IN LUXAXA” or once again, the fantastic Ada Rook appearances on the title track and “SONG OF SINNERS”.

Written by Hal Kitchen

Primarily a reviewer of music and films, Hal Kitchen studied at the University of Kent where they graduated with distinction in both Liberal Arts BA and Film MA, specializing in film, gender theory and cultural studies. Whilst at Kent they were the Film & TV sub-editor and later Culture Editor of the campus newspaper InQuire and began a public blog on their Letterboxd account.
Hal joined 25YearsLaterSite as a volunteer writer in May 2020 and resumed their current role of assistant film editor in November 2020.

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