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Monday, 10 May 2010

Of Radiation and Coffins (Repulsion, Horrified, 1989)

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In a totally unprecedented move, which may cause panic and possibly a mob outside my house, I am going to review one of the Holy Grails of the Grindcore world: Repulsion, Horrified. Some may say I am not worthy to carry out such a task, others may say my words will do no justice to this infallible masterpiece, and that by doing so I disturb the natural order of things. I say to such people may you suffer "pestilent decay" with "maggots in your coffin" "six feet under", as a result of "Radiation Sickness". If you don't get why I have "" those words, then you are not worthy to read my Z list blog, until you have heard everything by Repulsion 100 times.
This album has been a fundamental feature in defining Grindcore, not only in terms of music but aesthetics. The daunting radioactive skull has been an instantly recognizable trade mark(See GrindandPunishment's take on skulls in Grindcore here) in recognizing a Grindcore release, although outdated by modern day art work it has that air of nostalgia; watching zombie horror flix on betamax, hair styles which literally depleted the Ozone and American youth that could understand geography.
 Being a 20 year old Anglo-Polish UK citizen, I have never experienced nor lived through any of those things, however I like to think that I captured the essence of the 80's America through the eyes of Repulsion. Originally known as Genocide these Mad hatters from Michigan decided in 1986 that the status quo of Music was not good enough, so in 1986 they set about recording 3 demos known the most famous of which was known as Slaughter of the Innocent. It was in 1989 that Jeff Walker of non other than Carcass, got in contact with these defunct God's of Grind and asked if his also now defunct record label Necrosis Records which was a sub company of Earache Records could release and mix the infamous, Slaughter of the Innocent demo. The end product is one of the wonders of the Grindcore world: Horrified.

I own the 2006 remastered edition, which features 2 discs and covers to my knowledge all their demo material, however on this disc is nice little qoute “ Repulsion is the band that introduced the world to insane blasting drums, bone-jarring distorted bass, and the most vile lyrics imaginable” although each point is debatable, they were certainly the first to put all together and by a long shot the most influential. I don't think you can come across one good Grindcore band or post 80's death metal band who has not in his youth or grinding days been swayed by the rabid influence of Repulsion.
It is difficult to say whether or not this release is Grindcore or not. It certainly is one of the founding fathers of Grindcore, and created many of the inherent traits which give Grindcore its distinct noise and attitude. However this release features a constant of thrashy twangs, no one can deny these raised the bar in Music and went well beyond the confines of what was music, however I can't help but feel that for all their great innovation, one of their feet is stuck in thrash metal. We are now left in a peculiar state of affairs, we can't classify this as thrash it is far too heavy and savage for thrash, however we can't classify it as pure Grindcore, as it literally is one step away from Grindcore, mind you I am unaware what that step is, but I feel it is not quite a Grindcore release. So what do we do to classify such a thing, we do what every intelligent person does when he can't be bothered to delve deeper, we stick a prefix to it so we now have Proto-Grind.And what a lovely thing it is.

 From the fuzzy distorted guitars, to the fast frantic drumming, raw vocals this is everything we love in our releases. With song titles that are influenced by B list but loveable zombie flicks, which in turned have influenced the grindcore massess. Imagine the thematics and ideals of the Misfits, but crank up the aggression, horridness, speed and heaviness from level 1 to level 11(uncanny Spinal Tap reference).
The guitars have that gritty addictive tune to them, that are easily recognised, the first track starts of with a thrashing intro to beat into a tidal wave of vile Grindcore, as most metal bands they are fond of their solos but compress the aggressive solos into at maximum of a dozen seconds, but keep each one unique but maintaining the grotesqueness and violent tempo.
The drumming is fast and manic, in a non stop blitzkrieg blast beat they cross the best of thrash and grindcore, to create a catchy drumbeat which has a heavy emphasis on the kick drum, giving it that coffin slamming noise we love to hear. The bass is fuzzy that brings back memories of an Evil Dead Chainsaw, which I had to pleasure of re-watching today. Evil Dead 2 followed by Repulsion, with copious amounts of alcohol during both is certainly the lifestyle I am sure these guys lived and wanted us to. The vocals belt out all manner of horror and gore, they are rough as hell and true to early death metal outfits, their harshness and raw cruelty is unmatched, and the same goes for the lyrics.
Put these ingredients alongside the Necronomicon, we have possibly the most profound release ever. Repulsion's influence is unparalleled, and this holds true with the album as well, these are the innovators, the Da Vinci's and Hades of our monotonous drone of our every day life's.
Rating 96/100