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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Obssessive Grindcore Compulsion (Mesrine, Obssessive Compulsive, 2010)

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Mesrine are a death metal styled Grindcore act who hail from the idyllic backdrop of Quebec, but punish the Franco-Canadian outset with a bomb of dirty and loud noise raging across it. Much like many death metal acts, Mesrine take their name after an infamous criminal who's exploits reached both sides of the Atlantic. These late 90's grinders have an impressive roster of albums and split releases. Band's they have done releases with include ROT, Epitome, Dahmer and Fuck the Facts. This band is no longer the new kids on the block band I mistook them for prior to releasing that I actually own their split with Fuck the Facts.
Across 41 tracks totaling 38 minutes, we have a nice blend of short and long songs,and have sufficient album length to satisfy any thirst without having to change C.D, or choose another digital album to play.  This release reminds me alot Leng Tche, it has all the elements that are required for Grindcore but fails to produce a sound that is en par in terms of "Heaviness" with other Grindcore releases. Leaving this comment as it is will be an unfair comment to the band and the quality of the release, so instead I will just say that although it is not as heavy as Grindcore it is certainly heavier than Death metal, so it may be seem as an interim between the two.
Throughout Obsessive Compulsive at the beginning of the songs I hear the Napalm Death heavily down tuned slow paced grind from Scum. This is a nice blast from the past for me, it has been something which I have not heard in a while, and was very welcome.
 The guitars are good and the general flow of the album is quite nice, now however I march into my list of criticisms.  Firstly although for the most part the vocals are pretty top notch, they for some reason that baffles me add in  deathcore vocals, and seem to use these repeatedly to pad out the songs, and I beleive if they trimmed this undesirable taint, the release would be of significantly higher quality. My rant aside, I personally would of upped the volume of drums, you do have to strain to hear the blast beat, the drumming is beyond mediocre and sadly the album only at small parts reflects this however on the compulsive arguer in me also suggests that the guitar is good and by putting that on the focus and not the bread and butter of Grindcore: the blast beat you have a release that is not generic and easily identifiable.
 Perhaps my criticism was harsh, however it is slightly frustrating hearing something that is so close to be a very impressive piece of music, only to hear them bring in something so detested. All in all this release isn't bad and is highly audible, I certainly would recommend it  for those who like their old school Grindcore with heavy death metal overtones (and a tad of Deathcore), at the end of the day 99/100 your innovations will be shit, but you might make that 1/100 which will change music forever. Perhaps I am lagging behind is Deathcore the post-Grindcore? Don't get me wrong I like some Deathcore like Oceano (well thats really about it), however I still think Grindcore is where it is at.
Grind Out
Rating 57/100
(This is what I want to hear!)


Thursday, 15 April 2010

381 Reasons why ENT Rule! (Extreme Noise Terror, Damage 381, 1997)

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Extreme Noise Terror are exactly what it says on the tin, they are a rampaging sound which is sure to upset many neighbors and possibly get you an ASBO. However despite this I am determined to keep my ENT playing at a volume which really creates some sort of sonic boom or wind, In fact my original statement is an exaggeration, my Neighbors are pretty cool and never complain about all manner of audio rape that emanates from 3/4 of the occupants of my household, and the council have never bothered us at all, only political activists posting all manner of shit through our letterbox, has pissed me off.
The 90's seems to be where it was as, at least I seem to suffer some sort of irritable Nostalgia which makes wish I was born about a 15 years earlier so as to appreciate and be present at the birth and growth of Grindcore. However the other half of me, which is probably more correct that the epitome of Grindcore lays in the future, not only do we have many of the early releases available to us legitimately or illegitimately, and in addition of being able to hear the historical archives of Grindcore, we have the new absolutely killer releases by bands such as Squash Bowels and Wormrot, and even the old bands are producing killer material.
1997 was a year similar to the present, relativley high unemployment, mass disillusionment with mainstream politics, a constant looming terrorist threat to name a few. However it was not all doom and gloom, for starters an amazing album was released called Damage 381 by Extreme Noise Terror.
For those of you who are not really familiar with ENT, they are basically one of the Founding Fathers of Grindcore and Crust-Grind, and a inspiration to a countless number of bands, both in the Punk and in the Grindcore genres. These old timers are veterans of the genre and have always maintained a high quality number of releases.
 This release has a number of interesting facts behind it, firstly the title of the release is called Damage 381 because the title track is 381 beats per minute, pretty damn fast if you think about it, thats just over 6 beats a second. Screw your crappy 220-320 bpm speed metal, this is what it is all about.  This is also the only release to feature the legendary Barney (Vox on Napalm Death) as the vocalist(The vocalist pictured is not Barney, but Phil Vayne I beleive). It is also their first release which was not Crust Punk, it is pretty Death Metal like, with no clear borrowings from Punk. In addition to this, to my knowledge I am the only person online to have reviewed this album.
All the tracks are the finest death metal, disregard whatever perceptions you have about early death metal, this band don't fit the general mold of death metal that existed at the time, they tear up their own brand of death metal that is invigorating and full of energy. The drumming is always top knotch, and plays the slower and fast pieces with a perfect precision, and occasionally releasing a furious bellow of heavy beats, that really immerses you into the tracks. The guitarist or plural I can't tell, also  ranges from standard riffs, solos and more complex rhythmic pieces, and pulls it off with a high level of professionalism, and refrains from doing what many technical death metal bands do and show off their musical talent at the cost of creating a good well grounded song. Barney's vocals shine through in this, very similar to what he uses in Napalm Death, but at times with that more coarse edge. When I say coarse edge it is that more fitting with the music and again adds another layer to the already smashing release.
Across the 10 tracks we have an half hour assault of some of the best British Death Metal on offer. The album features an instrumental which  is 45 minutes long and absolutely will tear up whatever room it is being vented into through your sound system. Although a fast and furious fury of an album there are time it slows down to prevent the release sound from a constant noise or drone. A track that definatley needs mention is Punishment Solitude, this is in fact my ring tone, and at 1 minute 15 seconds, with its speed and aggression I am convinced is more of a Grindcore song than a death metal song, but the rest of the release is without a doubt a fine Death Metal album. The following track is an absolute killer, Icon of Guilt and really is the elite of the album.
Damage 381 is UK death metal at it's finest, Extreme Noise Terror seem to be unhindered by their roots in Punk or early Grindcore, and have shaped a fine death metal album. The only element that is borrowed from Punk and Grind is the high level of Politisation and the poetic of sorts lyrics and song titles.I would hope given the political parallels with the situation in today and the 90's that this could be a catalyst for similar releases by other bands., but perhaps this is wishful thinking on my part. Get this release pronto, you are neglecting one of the greatest release from our small Island.
Rating 88/100

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Something Sickening Closer to Home (Fleshrot, Traumatic Reconfiguration 2010)

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I first heard Fleshrot when they did a split with Katalepsy and Blunt Force Trauma, on a split album called Triumph of Evilution, I was impressed and I awaited for them to reappear on my radar. Little did I know that in fact Fleshrot come from the same town that I reside in, well I say reside, I mean where I live when I am not at University, so for under half the year. This prompted me to support my local scene and purchase my copy of their first full length album, Traumatic Reconfiguration.
This album is best described as a Brutal Death Metal release, which has heavy inspiration and presence of Old School Death Metal. I quite like this set up, Brutal Death Metal is a genre I like but it can get silly by trying to out Brutalise the opposition. By not neglecting their roots of Old School Death Metal, Fleshrot have created a digestible sound, which maintains that high levels of brutality we like, but does not overdose on it, and they do this by interlacing Old School Death Metal to peak the sound off.
Inspiration comes from the best of sources, namely Death, a bit of Chuck Schuldiner's solo project unimaginatively named just Chuck Schuldiner, and  in my opinion Possessed.
Each of the 9 song is well crafted and averages at about 4 minutes, the songs don't get stale, with a high level of variance, but still have that generic Brutal Death Metal aggression.
I have never seen this band live, but it is on my to do list, however I do know some people who have, and they were impressed. Just by listening to the CD you can guess that this band is going to be good live, the release emphasises the musical ability of the members, the production value however has done a good job of producing a clear cut resonating sound. Unlike bands like Mortician, they have opted for the sort clean sound and not the fuzzy static noise, and I am grateful for this, although Mortician pull it off perfectly as do other bands, it is one of the most overused traits in the Brutal Death Metal genre.  A song I really liked is Essence of Decay,  they let loose the amazing guitar solo, and shows how high calibre the guitarist is, and once the solo is done, they unleash a fury of savagery, thus creating a nice balance of harmony and barbarity.
This release is pretty amazing, and Fleshrot are my favourite UK BDM band, and I am certain we have many good things to hear from them yet, I would love them to release a cover of a proper old school death metal song that what just be the piece de resistance for moi.
Rating: 78/100
Grind Out


Saturday, 10 April 2010

Behold the Swiss Success!!!!!!!!!!! (Mumakil, Behold the Failure 2009)

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I don't know how Switzerland is perceived to the rest of the world, but to paint a racist but idyllic picture it is pretty much: Mountains, Lakes, Banks and Mumakil. To my knowledge (which is very limited) nothing happened for a long time on the Swiss Grindcore scene, well not anything to my knowledge that got International recognition. This was up until a bunch of Tolkein fans let loose the beast we call Mumakil.
I first heard Mumakil way back in 2008, with their split with Misery Index, nicely named Ruling Class Cancelled. I then bought myself their Customised Warfare Album and thus established myself as a "fan". Then in 2009 sitting in our comfy armchairs/desks/beds we were unbraced for a Grinding Explosion of this magnitude and terror of the release of Behold the Failure.
 Before we even touch on the music, I love the title of the release,  it has that deep anti-something witty vibe to it. To reference Grind and Punishment the jokes really would of written themselves had the release been terrible, just as well it wasn't. The elephant thing in the album art is a metaphor as to how this album will pave its way to success, by pure animalistic force, stampeding, impaling and crushing all those in its path.
The song writing compared to other albums has become more fluid, than previous releases, influences in this new found creativity definatley has Nasum written all over it. However I also reckon that Misery Index have taught them a thing or two, in all respects from drumming, guitaring and vocals, although having said that I am the only person who thinks so out of the people I have asked so maybe I am going insane, and if I am insane I blame it on this album, too much moshing and head banging.
Mumakil still maintain that high level of the tainted word "brutality", but have gone a better way about implementing it. in their previous releases a unwanted presence of deathcore, however I do forgive them for this, I believe they have always striven for a noise that was unruly and malicious sound, and sometimes you walk the wrong path before getting on the right path. So the shift from Deathcore to Grindcore is what I think has spelled Mumakil's success in this album, and something I hope they will keep to heart in future releases. This audio terrorism lasts a total of 35 minutes across 27 songs, which satisfies my over 30 minutes of grind madness before I call it a good album(many exceptions to the rule). Everything is top rate in this release, all instruments and vocals are what I would call Grinding Perfect, although criticized for having a lack of creativity and the same sort of sound throughout the whole of the album, I am not holding that against them, probably against my better judgement, I like what I hear and I don't want it to stop, screw experimentation and releasing the inner creative spirits keep it as it is: savagely rampaging on your ear drums in such a way you crave more and scream "Mumakil release another!"
Rating: 90/100

Friday, 9 April 2010

Se7en Deadly Grinds (Mincing Fury and Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay, 7 (2007)

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After reviewing Spineless Fuckers here, Reef got in touch with me (the first band to do so)and sent me links to his other band which is quite a handful to say, but here it goes Mincing Fury and Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay. From my understanding, the band could not decide on a name, so they chose to merge all their names.Anyway I got consensually a digital copy of their albums, and today I decided after being away from the internet for a few days to listen to and then review their album 7. Being the musical fascist I am, I have   the expectation that it will be of better or equal quality to Reef's other band Spineless Fuckers, I was not disappointed.
This album is named after a great film of the same title, Seven or Se7en (depends where you live), in fact in a interview I read M.F&GCOQD were asked to do a song for it, I don't know if they ever did, or whether it was joke(I Can't find the link for now but will look again). Like Spineless Fuckers this release has an emphasis on the weird, in fact like most Czech Grindcore bands, weirdness is prevalent throughout. By using the adjective weird, I am not applying it in the negative connotation, but in the positive. A mishmash of unique, creative, catchy and addictive, is what I mean by weird. This release in general is more of what I would call death metal infused with elements of goregrind and what for now I will call the Czech element. Those of you who listen to Jig Ai, Pigsty, Spineless Fuckers and Negligent Collateral Collapse, may understand what I mean by the Czech element, or perhaps I'm just imaging that their is a common unique thread in which case I blame long term alcohol abuse.
The opening track opens up with a excerpt from 7 talking about the 7 deadly sins, and then we are knocked off our feet with the most savage assault, of killer vocals, explosive drumming and sonic piercing guitars, in addition to this standard grindcore setup we have an additional 2 vocalists, and a Horn player (I hope I have read that write). You have a nice range of vocals, well you would expect so with 3 vocalist's wouldn't you, if any of you know Colombian Metal heads Phalagore, their whistle type of vocals appear in the earlier tracks of this release. On a side note, despite what the name suggests I don't believe there is any level of Mincecore in the release, however don't worry, It is still Grindcore.
My favourite tracks of this release is Eat your Soul (Eye for Eye II) and Sea of Weakness. Eat your Soul  starting with some sort of Mexican/ Hispanic intro streamed in with the rolling drum beat, and after a second of silence the Grindcore kicks in with full throttle, with a systematic use of choruses and verses, only to have at the end a proper old school metal solo play alongside a furious uproar of Gore infused death metal. Sea of weakness also plays heavily on the metal genre standardised guitars, but still retains it's psychotic grind.
The musical ability of this band is really good, the range of vocals prevent the release from ever sounding stale, alongside the upbeat diversified drumming, they have a good thing going. The guitarists are in the backdrop 90% of the time, putting  a well deserved emphasise on the vocals and drumming. However would like it if in a few songs they would shift the forte to the guitaring, this way they would display how skilled they are at all the instruments, but other than these I have no qualms with the release.
This release is definitely of the highest order, If you like your whacky psycho mental Grindcore or Death metal releases than this certainly has it all. They are not afraid to innovate and pull of to a high degree of professionalism their new elements and those firmly established in the genre. A must have for all true fans.
Rating: 84/100

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

You have just been Napalmed (Rotten Sound - Napalm EP 2010)

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Just got my copy of Rotten Sound's Napalm Ep 2 days ago. I love Rotten Sound, and I love Napalm Death even more, both are Behemoths of the Grindcore genre, Rotten Sound hailing from the Finnish city of Vaasa, and Napalm Death from Brum. I could hardly contain myself, I was first introduced to Rotten Sound through their Exit album back in 2005/2006 and loved it, and it still is my favourite release of theirs so far, although can the Napalm Ep beat the Grinding Masterpeice of Exit?
The Cover art itself looks very early Napalm Death like, I believe it is meant to be an  adaptation of the infamous Scum album art, more compacted and more demonic like. I certainly like the cover of it, and believe the artistic depiction breaks away from the politcal centric themes in Napalm Death, to a shift of a more Rotten Sound visual projection of violence and horror.
This release has 6 songs on it, 3 of which are covers of Napalm Death, and the last remaining 3 are new Rotten Sound songs, I am hoping they are a taster for a new album to come.
This release is good through and through, Rotten Sound have done a very good job at transforming the Napalm Death songs into their own, perhaps for the die-hard Napalm Death fan, this release will not be loved.
Aside from the lyrics it doesn't sound too similar to the original Napalm Death at all, it is a tad more accelerated in my opinion, Suffer the Children seems to be about 40 seconds shorter than the original release. The guitars are the fundamental difference to the songs, I can't describe the difference well, but Napalm Death have a more clear cut, but at the same time have a little fuzz at the end, whereas the Rotten Sound version seems more electrical and the movement from chords more fluid. The 3 Rotten Sound songs, have titles that are typical for both Napalm Death and Rotten Sound releases, and are your typical Rotten Sound like songs. As per usual Rotten Sound releases, the vocals are the predominant driving force within the music, the instruments are in the backdrop but not neglected. The uniformity of the instruments is pretty impressive, and they collaborate a pure Grindcore sound with an equal balance of Metal and Hardcore in my opinion.
To collectors and fans of Napalm Death and/or Rotten Sound this is a must have release. If you don't like Napalm Death, but like Rotten Sound then this is a must have as it is more Rotten Sound than N.D. However if you like Napalm Death and dislike Rotten Sound, then you still should get this EP, it is a testament to the far reaching legacy of the God's of Grind, Napalm Death. If you like both Napalm Death and Rotten Sound, then get your ass in gear and get this release pronto.
Rating: 72/100
(Would be higher, but 6 songs for 11 mins is too short even for Grindcore as a release, I know it is an EP, but I have cast my judgement, they have left me wanting more , but cant satisfy my hunger)
(Not on the release, but an amazing cover non the less)


Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Great Nasum Revisted in Dune

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You like Nasum? You happy to settle with a Nasum like sound? If so then check out Sayyadina, and if you like what you hear you will be happy to know that Relapse Records have released a compilation of some hard to get Sayyadina material. If the word Ex-Nasum were not enough to spark your interest in Sayyadina, then let me say a few more General Surgery and Victims(To be fair I have never heard of the Victims, but I am told they are good), well with this sort of line up your brain must be tweaking to check them out. For those still clueless at the title then I shall explain, the album to be reviewed is called The Great Northern Revisited, but due to the parrallels with Nasum, I have opted for the The Great Nasum Revisited, and the in Dune  is a reference to Sayyadina itself. The well known book Dune, has a term called Sayyadina that means "friend of God". Voila, onward with the Review!
I am ashamed to say that it is only in 2009 I first ever heard Sayyadina, and even then I didn't bother to check them out, they laid among my library of music unheard and unappreciated until many months ago, but even though I liked what I heard, it was pushed aside to be replaced by Abuse, GrindVirus and Time Waits for No Slave. However all good things come to those who wait, about a week ago I got my hands on this release, and I let it roll and I was certainly impressed.
Don't be fooled by the black metal style album art, this release is 100% grindcore. I personally like the album art, I don't think it is representative of the musical content inside, but it is pretty sweet as a an album art. I suppose being Scandinavian there possibly may be a high level of Black Metal Influence, although this is not apparent in the Music.
The Hardcore Punk influence is really visible in this release, so although it is 100% grindcore, it shifts more towards the Punkier side of things than it does to the metal. The metal side of things is not neglected though, and they constantly produce this solid sound greatly similair to Nasum, but not quite acheive the full blown Nasum effect. It is sort of the frame and some elements of Nasum tied in with more "heavier" elements taken from Hardcore Punk: namely Crust Punk in my opinion. Just like Nasum there are elements that are somewhat more melodic than your typical grindcore release, In my opinion this was Nasum's strongest point and is nice to see they have learnt from the success of Nasum to incorporate this into their music.
It is not frequent as I would like, however the likelihood is that if it was then this would be another Nasum clone like Afgrund, so perhaps this is good that they retain their unique musical identity, without sacrificing quality of musical ability.
Given that I enjoyed the entire album from beginning to end, I actually look forward to seeing more stuff from these guys, hopefully not at the expense of their other bands (I do like General Surgery). I do think it is a shame that their first few releases where neglected not only by me, but the whole Grindcore community on the whole. On my trawls through the vast web known as the internet, I have noticed that this band are becoming more popular by the day. It really does seem that Sweden is becoming a hub for all manner of metal: Regurgitate, Afgrund, Birdflesh, Coldworker and Nasum, and this is just Grindcore, let alone all the death, melodeath and black metal bands.
So all in all you can summarise this album with one question: would you like a more hardcore orientated, heavier take on Nasum? If yes then this is the album for you, If no then go back and listen to Nasum for an hour and go back to the question, repeat until your answer is yes.
Rating: 84/100

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Weird and Wonderful: It is just a real one

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 I saw the self assigned tag, of Dance Grind, I decided that this band was either going to be really good or terrible. I have no love for Dance music, but I thought if like Ultra Vomit who used the tag of pop among others(read my review here), then this could be another humorous release I can add to my collection. So before getting the release I thought I would do a bit of research before acquiring this release. When I released that all bar 1 of the band members belonged to a band called Mincing Fury and Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay, I just had to get it. Although I have never heard of them the fact they were a Mincecore bands, and they had done a split with Fuck the Facts, which I was ashamed of not knowing about, I decided to get myself a bit of Spineless Fuckers and Mincing Fury and Guttural Clamour of Queer. On a  side note, after searching google, I don't think anyone else has reviewed this album yet.
It Is Just a Real One  is not like your typical grindcore releases, similar to fellow Czech grinders Jig Ai (I did a review here) they have decided to go against the established Grindcore path and have opted to have a go on their own take on the genre.
The intro and second track use a Cello as  the predominant sound, playing some manner of depressive discordant but professional classical, and from there they backdrop the grindcore elements, and  they really do fuse this sort of sound well to create this eerines to the music. The cello makes many other appearances throughout the album. They mix a good combination of micro songs and long songs, long for grindcore in any case. The use of vocals is highly varied, and this also holds true for the instruments, going for high level of variance from heavy, to catchy, normal and even I think somewhat groovy. The use of a short blast beat is often throughout all their songs and never blast beat for a length longer than 4 seconds per blast beat session without a pause.
The use of audio samples of what I guess are old Czech show/films/radio excerpts are common throughout their songs, being able to speak Polish, I was able to understand some of it, being from the Slavic side of languages, however not enough to fully comprehend what it was about. Much like Brujeria, not singing English I thinks add that extra depth to their songs and gives it very much that unique character. In my opinion they are heavily influenced by fellow country men Jig Ai and Pigsty, and addition to this I think there use of the very Czech artistic characteristic of dark and morbid satire plays a fundamental role in their music. I was expecting some level of Mincemania, however there was none, but I was not disappointed. They seem to be one of those bands that are in it more for the fun than fame, and it seems to have paid off. They do seem really talented and bring something good to the scene which is why I think this whacky album is really good and add a new sort of humour to the grindcore genre, this release most certainly has been fun to listen to. There is a high level of Deathcore in it, however the basic grindcore ingredients are there, it is only really one set of frequently used vocals that are Deathcore like, however I do think they compliment the music more than degrade. I know this review is short, but it's one of those one's that are best listened to than explained.
Rating: 80/100
(No Video Today :( all those I could find where from previous releases that were to Deathcore for me)