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Fuck the Facts

Ontario avant-grind quartet Fuck the Facts engage reality on Stigmata High-Five

Imagine a three-dicked demon wolverine in a roaring match with Pluto (deity, planet, Disney dog), and you’ll have a fair approximation of Mel Mongeon’s unearthly rasp. Now, take away the demon part, the wolverine part, Pluto, and the penii—all of ‘em—and you’ve got the Fuck the Facts singer herself. “People are still sometimes a little shocked when they find out I’m a woman,” Mongeon explains by phone from the apartment in Toronto she shares with the Ottawa-based grindcore quartet’s founder and guitarist, Topon Das. “Some kid’ll come up to me and say, ‘Oh, I thought you were a guy.’ I also get some weird reactions because I’m really small. A lot depends on where we play. In Toronto and Montreal, people are used to it, but when we play some hick town, there’s definitely more surprise.”

It’s easy to understand how rustics might be flummoxed by the contrast between the singer’s appearance and the way she projectile-vomits sound. On Stigmata High-Five, the band’s third album and first for Relapse, Mongeon rages with supernaturally feral intensity—in French, on opener “La Dernière Image.” Hers isn’t the only inhuman presence on the seven-minute epic: Das, drummer Mathieu Vilandré, and bassist Steve Chartier, slip, lurch, leap and careen through countless time signature, tempo and key changes with infernal nonchalance, maintaining a ferocious hold on the songs’ conceptual spines all the while. FTF excel at slipping non-grind moments into songs without being overtly like, “Hey, here’s a melodic thing,” or “Hello, noise!” or “Check this little gesture we nipped from Converge.” Stigmata’s the sort of record a lot of jazz and experimental types could easily latch onto if they weren’t such chickenshits.

“Pretty much all of our songs come out of jamming situations,” says Das. “That’s definitely the case with ‘La Dernière Image.’ We just started with a couple riffs, a couple ideas, and it grew. Before we knew it, it had become a seven-minute song, very naturally. One of the basic ideas of the band is that we never want to force anything. We do what we do because we think it’s good. We’re not asking ourselves stuff like, ‘Does this song have enough blast beats? Is this part tech enough?’ Whenever we write, it pretty much just flows.”

Lyricist Mongeon’s approach couldn’t be less jam-like. “I’m a more rational writer. I sit and figure out how long the song is, what riffs are where, and what I want to write about. I don’t write about chopping up my neighbor. I’m more interested in realistic subjects, everyday stuff, human behavior, world problems. Not that I have anything against gore lyrics; it’s just that that kind of subject matter could never inspire me for long."

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