Tartar Control - Holy Crap! (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Tartar Control

Holy Crap! (2011)


Have you ever wondered what a Mormon hardcore band might sound like? Did you even think that combination was possible? Well it is. This is Tartar Control, a hardcore Mormon three piece who released their full length Holy Crap! back in 2011. The band is comprised of Robert Selander on lead vocals, Sean Hart on guitar and backing vocals, and their robot named Robot on bass and drums.

Holy Crap! probably has some of funniest, sickest, and twisted thirty tracks you will hear. Sometimes bands that use a lot of comedy in their music have a tendency to rely on it too much and the musicianship then suffers. This is not the case with Tartar Control. The band clearly has mastered writing hardcore and even death metal songs, while balancing it out with humorous lyrics. The song topics seem to jump from one random topic to another like chimney sweeps, drinking gasoline, and having a peach cobbler party.

Typically, Robert’s lead vocals are low, baritone screams, while Sean’s back up vocals are usually lighter and more melodic. That’s exactly what you get with the very hilarious, yet horrifying song “Fuzzy Bunnies.” The song starts out with a quick drum fill and a blaring guitar riff, then Robert begins screaming lyrics like “Blood, bile/ Foulest stench of rotting putrid flesh” during the first verse. The verses on this track are fast and unadulterated hardcore until the song slows down significantly for the chorus where Sean sings the very gentle and haunting first chorus which has lyrics like “All the fuzzy bunnies in my head/ They tell me that I have to kill you dead/ All the fuzzy bunnies in my heart keep/ Saying I should tear your ass apart.” By the second chorus Sean is stilling singing the melody while Robert is screaming it; both kinds of vocals during this part contrast quite well together.

Another very odd, but funny song on this album is the song “Smoking Crack.” It’s a short and very fast and short hardcore song where the majority of the lyrics have a “call and response” nature to them. For example, during one of the verses Robert yells the lyrics “Because I'm out of Diet Coke,” Sean responds by yelling, “I smoke some crack!” And once that back-and-forth happens a few more times, Sean (later Robert joins in, too) sings the melodic chorus where he sort of sounds like he’s happy about smoking crack and taunting you about it. After listening to this song many times, I still laugh quite a bit at it.

Of the many tracks on Holy Crap! the most hilarious and outrageous song has to be “Sodomy Basket.” Yes, you read that right. The song is called “Sodomy Basket.” This is one of the songs where Tartar Control’s sound ends up more in the metal genre. Sean’s guitar work is noticeably more complicated and he lets chords ring out much more than the hardcore songs on this album. You have to keep in mind that this is a song about how the band hates someone so much they made a basket that is used to perform sodomy on them. Robert explains this concept in depth when he shouts the lyrics “That you’re the kind of prick that I despise/I made it in my basket weaving class/ It's a basket that goes up your ass!” Sean explains this further when he sings the melodic chorus with lyrics like, “And when you think it's done, it's just begun/ The fun is far from over” and “Sodomy basket get on all fours and/ Take it, take it/ Take it, take it, take it inside.” Believe it or not the song takes an even darker turn about half way through when the band speeds up the rhythm and they go into a hardcore bridge where Robert shouts “When will it stop, when will it stop/ When will the hurting stop?”

Tartar Control may look well kept and neat on the outside, but when you hear their songs you will think the complete opposite. That’s what makes them so hilarious -- you don’t expect any of this kind of subject matter or sound from a band like this. And to top it all off the music its self is really good and though they may be hilariously disturbing, the lyrics are very well written and creative.