Rating this one is tough. Do you call the band out for the miles of pretentious horseshit they dish out? Do you praise them for being freaked-out and weird enough to send more closed-minded metalheads running for the door with puckered buttholes? This record is a fucking mess, no doubt about it, but sometimes a mess can be a beautiful thing — it all depends on your tolerance for art-damaged, deliberately whacked-out genre-bending chaos.
"Minute Man For the Moment" has gotten some pretty savage reviews, and you have to think this is the sort of band of jokerheads who'll get a kick out of those. But I submit that the album's fine, it's just not finding its audience. For one thing, the idea of resurrecting the Combat Records name — a label known for thrash and death metal in the '80s, and once home to DEATH, DARK ANGEL, POSSESSED, EXODUS, and many others — makes almost no sense given the new label's flagship bands. No one under 30 remembers or cares, and anyone excited about a new Combat is gonna think LOOK WHAT I DID and their labelmates (HORSE THE BAND and AT ALL COST) are pure garbage.
Then there's the fact that the band is being compared to DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and DEAD KENNEDYS, fer Chrissakes. I realize that more accurate comparisons, like prime THOUGHT INDUSTRY or THE DISMEMBERMENT PLAN at their weirdest, might draw blank stares — but Jesus, put it in the ballpark! LOOK WHAT I DID has more to do with DEVIN TOWNSEND, MR. BUNGLE or DOG FASHION DISCO than Jello Biafra.
LOOK WHAT I DID startle immediately with the vocals of Barry Donegan, who starts off with some screaming, but is soon crooning with a pleasant, assertive melodic clean vocal. Rhythms start and stop willy-nilly, Donegan vamps over cranky tech-metal, guitar parts come and go as if trying to create maximum chaos in the smallest amount of time. It's all structured and controlled — it'd have to be — but it takes a few listens to sort out the method to the madness, and if you're not looking for such an adventure, it'd be easy to see why you wouldn't want to bother.
Me, I find the chaos of LOOK WHAT I DID, and the moments of deranged smoothness amid their self-inflicted turmoil, interesting and enjoyable. This is the kind of record where you keep hearing new elements to with each listen, and after a year of well-done one-trick-ponies, that's interesting and worth supporting. Like I said, a rating is all but pointless — giving this an 8 doesn't mean it's the same as, or even in the same solar system as, other 8's recently released. It's great for what it is, but you'd better be well aware of what you're getting into before you sign on for the ride.
LOOK WHAT I DID will irritate most people, but this is the sort of band that nudges the bar upward for everyone, and makes that much more room for individual quirkiness and deliberate madness in the overall metal canon. And if we all loosened up on our collective phobias a bit, we'd probably have a helluva lot of fun listening to "Minute Man For the Moment". I ain't saying it's gonna happen or anything, but there should at least be enough wackjobs and malcontents out there to give LOOK WHAT I DID quite a cult following.