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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