REVIEW: Ashnikko, Weed Killer
Born Ashton Nicole Casey, Ashnikko makes a thundering, thirteen-track debut with Weedkiller. Following their career-propelling ‘Hi, it’s Me’ in 2019 and ‘DEMIDEVIL’ in 2021, Ashnikko’s mighty strides to dominate have not fallen on deaf ears, after amassing a huge following and an unapologetic community.
Their career is the ultimate revenge that they’ve been yearning for. Now, the singer invites us to their forest-inspired dystopian apocalyptic realm on Weedkiller. Inspired by their love for video games and nature. They showcase their vocal flexibility and their genre-bending prowess. We inevitably succumb to their intricate web, witnessing their unruly unravelling.
Supported by experimental producers, Oscar Sheller, Slinger and a few others. Weedkiller was born to break barriers, rummage through the dirt and grim to ultimately unearth the hidden eerie corners of the human experience. ‘World Eater’ acts as the opener with a head-banging, socio-horrific production that sounds like it belongs to an apocalyptic video game. The distorted guitar and mid-range growls in ‘You Make Me Sick’ and the alt-pop feel in ‘Worms’ retain the same sentiments of ‘losing your shit’ over an ex. We’re not strangers to Ashnikko’s uncensored, voracious thirst for revenge and the annihilation of those who once poisoned them.
Although revenge remains undeniably sweet, Weedkiller seems to serve as a burial project. To finally close that chapter filled with trauma, allowing the scars to heal, emerging as a fresh layer of skin, embodying resilience and renewal. We get a glimpse of this in tracks like cult-inspired ‘Cheerleader’ (“I want it, I’ll win it, call it ambition”), and with title track ‘WeedKiller’ (“We always knew it would come to this / That I would be the one to eliminate you”).
The apocalyptic landscape fades slightly and reveals sweeter, sensual melodies, navigating the terrain of innocent queer love and heartbreak in ‘Miss Nectarine’. The dance-pop-influenced track illustrates the vulnerable early teenage years that Ashnikko experienced within a conservative upbringing. ‘Possession of a Weapon’ resonates as a sinful hymn and a shameless confession. The lyrics “How dare I have private desires” pierces through the veil separating the deemed ‘holy’ from the shunned.
At the surface, Weedkiller presents as a hardcore, aggressive, gruff-sounding production. But if you dig a little deeper in the end, Ashnikko unveils their long journey towards tenderness in the midst of chaos, uncertainty, queer love, unfiltered self-expression and assurance.
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