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Oozing Wound Dish Out Halloween-Friendly Nihilism

Oct. 11, 2016
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Photo by Joe Martinez Jr.

One of the best things about the Halloween season is that pop culture as a whole takes a turn toward the unusual and extreme, including the mix of bands coming to town, to the point where certain acts become something of a seasonal ritual (god only knows what GWAR gets up to in February; one assumes it’s something badass). The last few years, that’s certainly been true of Chicago stoner-thrash outfit Oozing Wound, whose pummeling, ostensibly macabre sound is almost tailor-made for the holiday. However, to hear bandleader Zack Weil tell it, the timing is less marketing and more serendipity. 

“It’s just what always happens,” says Weil, attempting to explain how each of their three LPs, including the new Whatever Forever, all happen to have come out so close to Halloween. “I mean, I’m all about October, so no problems here. I think it’s funny though,” he says. He still seems to understand how others could see it as more than coincidence, considering the darkness and frustration that infuses their music. “Everything’s so infuriating and aggravating,” Weil says of the band’s nihilistic streak, “I mean, I don’t even know how to grapple with most of the major issues that exist right now.”

Yet, while there’s no shortage of gloom-laden riffs and speed-freak solos, what really makes Oozing Wound so enjoyable—and what sets them apart from legions of other metal artists—is that they never take themselves too seriously. “I’m not trying to be a joke band or anything, but at the same time my entire sense of humor and personality has that sardonic, sarcastic way of dealing with shit; it’s the only way I can deal with reality,” says Weil. “There’s been a kind of detachment that allows me to write songs without that weird pressure some people put on themselves.”

As if there weren’t enough reasons to check the band out, they’ve also recently enlisted Milwaukee’s own Casey Marnocha, former drummer of defunct local favorites Catacombz, to take over for founding member Kyle Reynolds. “I don’t know what we would have done if he hadn’t found us; he’s amazing,” says Weil, “We’ve already started working on new material and he’s got good ideas, so I think it’s going to be a really smooth transition. Most people probably won’t even realize there is a new drummer. I’ve actually already read like three things that say Casey is on the new record.” 

While Marnocha is not included on the release, the LP does come complete with a full comic book from Chicago artist and Oozing Wound’s go-to designer Sam Nigrosh. “Sam the man!” says Weil. “He has done basically every piece of artwork that we have, but he’s been more focused on comics recently. The man’s a genius; anybody who doesn’t realize it is a fool.” As far as vinyl-only incentives go, it’s persuasive, and of course there’ll likely be plenty on hand when they make their yearly visit this Thursday at the Riverwest Public House. Wouldn’t be a proper October without them.

Oozing Wound play the Riverwest Public House on Thursday, Oct. 13 with Platinum Boys, Christmas Bride and Powerwagon at 9 p.m. The cover is $5.

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