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Thursday, 30 September 2010

FCUK (Sylvester Staline/Joe Pesci)

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Historically the worst of foes, but now on good terms the cheese eating surrender monkeys (I kid, I love the French) and the Queens glorious subjects have come together to release an ultra fast baseball bat to the face Powerviolence & Noisygrind double act. Aside from the Hollywood namesakes, these guys have one other thing in common and that is to produce music that is fast, and I mean break neck, I wouldn't be in the least surprised if their hairtrigger supersonic drumming didn't breach the sound barrier..
Sylvester Staline bring to you some of the meanest powerviolence available on the street, listening to the music just wants you scream and to thrash about your room, throwing all manner of Ikea furniture out of the window hitting unsuspecting passer-bys.Lyrics are ultra-punk fast paced screams of rude, abusive and amusing subject matter, not that you can ever keep up, and kudos to Lord Crust described as the 6 string ayatollah for making sure the sleazy punk feel is not lost in the haywire of playing so fast.
As for fellow Kinsmen Joe Pesci, expect nothing but the best AxCx worship you have heard ever. The only subtracted element by  Joe Pesci is the blatant and sometimes comical; sexism, racism, and pro Nazi themes  which we are an unsure if Anal Cunt really advocate or just do so for laughs, however they do keep lyrics and song titles in line with more unprejudiced AxCx with song titles like Crouching Tiger, Biro in the Neck and Thats not a cat. Drumming has been raised from typical incoherent inaudible mess, to a level where one can actually hear and recognise it, but fear not vocals and guitar work are about as Noisecore one can get before merely becoming noise.
I am not even too big on Noisecore and Powerviolence, yet I still love this gem of an album, but
these guys don't care what you and I think, hell S.S myspace even tells you "if you want a good band listen to another one", both bands just play fast, loud and carefree, so if you still not interested, in the spirit of the bands I will politely say "Fuck Off!"


Monday, 27 September 2010

Wormrot I Adore (Wormrot / I Abhor, 2010)

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The day has finally dawned, I have my much awaited copy of Wormrot/I Abhore, listened to it God knows how many times, and finally decided to spread the word of our Lord and share its Glory!
Introductions with Wormrot should not be needed, but if you so happen to  have been in a coma between late 2009 and now then all you need to know is that these Singapore trio release kick ass more often than a falsehood leaves a politicians mouth. As for the other band present, I Abhor  are a hell bent quintet based in L.A with a grim dystopian approach to some fast paced Grind, and should not be neglected in the shadow of Wormrot's awe.
I Abhor start off with a few rogue shacky notes struck out, then accompanied by a simple generic cymbal beat, creating an aura of suspense, then a short lived warping guitar work drags us into the realm of blast beats and shifting screams of anger and despair.  Throughout their tracks the drum work has a eminent echo from  constant snare bashing, and at first glance may sound messy and repetitive, however you should notice that drumming is highly above standard and is the main driving force, behind the songs. The guitars are very much only used to fill space, and when they are used independently nothing exceptional is performed, but nothing terrible either. Vocals are gruff, and compliment the angry raw drumming perfectly , expect nothing but pure energetic low tuned screaming. One can easily identify Assück as being the overall feel the band are trying to achieve, and although it is certainly a good route to go down, I have my own suggestions for the band. 
The band certainly have all the elements that makes them a fantastic band, however I think the way they play out these elements needs adjusting, instead of going the Assück route, I recommend making the drumming more clear and the vocals a bit louder as it was too often drowned out in the snare blasting,and if these where to be achieved the band will never be second rate to Assück, but have their own sound and feel, alongside their already impressive ability.

This is purely and simply 100% cacophonous defenestrative Grindcore. It's rowdy and upbeat nature is only superseded by its addictive temperament which will get you hooked faster than chocolate flavoured crystal meth. They even toy with their audience having the first 13 seconds of their track a tribute of counting to the number 12 before Arif's vocals explode your eardrum in a 3 second blast, powerful enough to give Gulf War Syndrome even to the most resilient of men. These guys are just relentless, at no point do they waiver or pull out a short straw on their instrumental lashing, we have 8 grinding tracks of biblical proportions. "Critical Human Stupidity" is the second track and by far my favourite, with its energetic virulence  one can not find a fault in such a wild tune.
These guys stick a middle finger to the concept of one album wonders, and bash out nothing but Grindcore of the highest order, everything seems to be there, amazing guitar work? check, blast beats galore? check, ear piercing vocals? check, crystal clear sound quality? check, elements all thrown together through a black hole? check, what more could one ask for? A bassist I hear you say? Sorry I can't quite hear that over the crushing guitar work of Fit. The overall Abuse formula has been fine tuned to near perfection, we have a more fluid rhythmic structure in place, but at the other end of the table these guys have brought a more overall Insect Warfare stranglehold to their already mind-blowing songs, and they just make it work as if there was no jump from one to the other, not even a shudder. There is only one way to play this and that's with the repeat button on, volume maxed out and a health hazard warning outside your front door, any other way and its wrong.
Lastly, all I have to say is Wormrot LEAD US ONWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wormrot   -   I Abhore

Monday, 20 September 2010

(Kill the Client vs Thousandswilldie, 2009)

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At 7 minutes, there is not too much one can actual delve into before realising all your arguments and observations have been exhausted before kicking up enough pace, so just like the release the only thing to do is to leave it short and sweet.

Kill the Client  use their 3 tracks to show the listener they still have the Cleptocracy momentum in full swing, and are able to kick more ass than the UFC Heavyweight division combined with chainsaws. Prominent guitar work with an ever uncompromising percussion have been the key features of defining Kill the Client's success, with the vocals adding another layer of awe to the already grindtastic set up. This release is no different to that, and is a nice sign of life and integrity since they last threw out an album back in 2008. Once again strength has been added to the claim that Kill the Client are well on their way to establishing themselves as a Grindcore trademark.

Now Thousandswilldie, have somewhat of a less palatable form of Grindcore, but their fast paced scruffy frantic fury certainly burns a soft spot in my heart for them. I would best describe these guys as what would occur if one was to breed Watchmaker's unconventional approach  with Insect Warfare's razor wire barbarity. Moments of musical mess are untangled fluidly, as Thousandswilldie  shift from more recognisable primitive Grindcore to weird and wonderful things, that leaves the listener in bewilderment as to how they pulled a stunt like that off. They certainly confirm all the suggestions their self assigned tag of Eastbayhategrind implies, this is one giant portion of vehement hatred to feast your ears on.
Sadly Thousandswilldie are no longer active, they have however stated that they will be posting on  a separate website all their out of print material, and also unreleased material, but in the meantime I highly recommend checking out their earlier material to get better acquainted with their hateful music.


Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Legacy of the "Core"

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Being my 50th post, I decided to do something a bit experimental and somewhat more edecutional than my normal reviews,and if it is received well to continue to bring content that breaks away from reviews.

There seems to be an ever growing trend for bands to emphasize their "break away" from more conventional or established music, and often this starts with a titular overhaul of the classification of their music, this is often done by placing a prefix with a noun or adjective of choice (which often reflects on the genre), and then adding the suffix core. This article will touch the tip of the iceberg and introduce the reader with a number of followings who have done exactly so.

Generally an association of crust punk and death metal, but pioneered by early bands who fused thrash metal and hardcore punk, Grindcore is a genre that come into being mid 80's. Renowned for its exceptional speed, heavily down tuned guitars, blast beats and generally inaudible screams/growls, Grindcore boasts a heaviness unmatched even today. Evolving and in its early days associated with the Crust Punk the Anarcho Punk scenes, lyrical content was often highly politicized and almost poetic in nature, however as death metal dug itself deeper in the genre lyrical themes shifted to reflect this, by covering subjects of vile and malevolent nature, simultaneously the distinction between the hardcore punk scenes and Grindcore became more apparent. Throughout the decades it has existed, it has spawned numerous sub-genres although there is much debate whether these sub-genres are merely separated on the basis of lyrical content alone. Grindcore has often mixed with a vast array of other genres very well and it also has developed certain identifiable trademarks such as the microsong and the blast beat.

I will be less encyclopedic on this one given that  if I did, I would probably have to attend a medical tribunal to assess my mental health. I chose this genre next merely for the fact the Coolidge adaption of Napalm Death's Scum, is pure genius, if you click the picture it should bring up the full sized version, perhaps it will make a fun game of spot the difference.
I think to make the claim that your band is fronted by animals and you are the first to do so, is certainly worthy of allowing you to create your own subgenre. As the term canine implies, the animal element of the band is dogs, sadly to my overactive imagination the dogs don't take on any instrumental roles, but purely a vocal performance. In a strange twist of cognitive thought processes, the only things my mind can't come to terms with the fact that the band refer to themselves as "The Orchestra", yet I find it perfectly acceptable for them to use dogs? The band make the statement that while some bands try to sound as animalistic as possible, they have never explored the idea of cutting the crap and instead actually using the real deal, namely two pit bull terriers, and they do quite an impressive job of it. I highly recommend checking them out, even on the strength of their novelty value also check out the unassociated and wrongly titled Napalm Death Chihuahua.

Grindcore and Death metal are often wrongly associated with this genre, and this has often caused much frustration to fans of Grindcore and Death metal , to explain to a general novice the distinctions. There are a number of borrowings from the death metal sphere which are integrated into metalcore, strong use of palm muting and break downs are the most recognisable traits. Songs majorly follow a set song system, featuring chorus', numerous breakdowns and few simple riffs. The general flaw with Deathcore, it tries to create a "Brutal" sound, but it is achieved in a very simple manner, and as such many music listeners find a lack of musicianship, professionalism and creativity in the music and therefore find it mundane and very generic. Additionally image seems to be of far more importance than the music, and the genre is highly commercialised and as such traditional metal heads have a general abhorrence for the genre (myself inclusive, please note I tried so hard to write that part proffessionaly and not rant on about how it boils my blood!).

With its humble origins in the 80's, metalcore exploded with commercialism and mainstream success as being the new face of metal post 2000. Once again a fusion of hardcore punk and lighter metal elements, it broke away from bring associated with Crossover as the use of breakdowns became a fundamental feature defining the music. Although it had mass commercial success until recently, it is becoming less popular as bands fail to keep the following going and it seems to be a popular gateway genre for people to discover either more punk or as more often is the case heavy metal.

This music is loud, incoherent and more often than not obnoxious. Musicianship is cast aside, and music is played as fast as possible and without any structural constraints, creating an undecipherable mess. Often labelled as an "Anti-Music" ,the general objective is to achieve as much noise as possible. In recent years electronics have played an ever more progressive role in it, from sampling of various media's, electronic drum beats which achieve superhuman levels and often computers are used to skew the music, usually with a static fuzz.

Early Grindcore outfits evolving from the Crust Punk scene, would often play a form of punk that was highly politicised, and had a significantly stronger ratio of hardcore punk to metal. Crustcore has been the term coined to such bands that follow this formula, most bands that come under this moniker are actual bands that were around at the time of Grindcore's inception or soon after, sadly therefore there is a lack of new blood in the genre. I often associate Crustcore as being the grinding opposite of Death grind,  not just in musical formulation, but also in lyrically content.

My knowledge on this subject is minimal so feel free to enlighten me. Stenchcore is a filthy breed of Crust Punk, instead of as traditional punk dictates lyrics are to focus on a counter-culture or a critic of mainstream culture, Stenchcore instead loves to take a focus on screaming out a vile descriptive illustration on pestilence, decay and anything truculent to the bone. Stenchcore came into being after the general demise of Crust Punk, it borrowed many of its elements from other musical genres, the lyrical theme and morbid overtones taken from death metal, and an attempt to borrow heaviness from Grindcore. Although its speed and ferocity never accumulates to that of Grindcore, it is is a strong step up from Crust Punk, and definitely recommended for fans of either genre.

Sophisticated rythmns are played with irregular time signatures, and often with polyrythmns, all the whilst being played on very unconventional chords, thus creating the sense of information overload if one where to look for a general sense behind it. The above explanation is a more polite theory to explain the genre, many critics have argued that all the above is merely a sign of poor musicianship, and by putting all those together you are not creating a musical anti-systemic approach, but you are merely just creating a mess, and by throwing in hundreds of random riffs you are bound to find at least one in the song that is decent, even if it only lasts the duration of 3 seconds. Take your side.

A cult like following of Grindcore spawned by the prolific mincemaniacs Agathocles, artists that belong to this very select community are notorious for their number of releases, but the most defining trademark is the lyrical content, which often advocates a mockery of current day socio-political shortcomings or using music as a form of outreach to their political ambitions, their anti this and that stance is so long, I dread to list its entirety. The music itself is rather primitive, and hasn't evolved since the birth of Grindcore, but it has that instinctive appeal about it.

Hardcore Punk
The oldest of the genres listed, this 70's offshot of Punk rock was meant to be louder and faster than its predecessor, and gained a large underground following. It later spawned various sub genres and movements each with their own agenda and following, however some elements remained the same throughout such as the strong D.I.Y ethic, a dislike for larger record labels thus favouring and creating numerous independent record labels, and a distinctive fashion, which has become more identifiable than the music.

Body Core
Not an actual genre, but in fact a band name, these Swedish metal heads, bring in a new experimental approach to death metal, described as being as if "John Zorn would have written Brutal Truth's Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses". Although a bold overstatement, it does hold true for parts, and is a fantastic listen to start to finish.


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Misled by Normality, Fuck Normality (Cephalic Carnage, Misled by Certainty 2010)

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Denver Colorado's own self assigned: Hydrogrinders Cephalic Carnage, give some proof to the pudding that weed can result in some really creative visonairy works of art, however on the flip side of the table they beseige the listener with an absurd lyrical content featuring conspiracy theories and UFO's, exhibiting classical signs of delusion and paranoia. Although the subject of narcotic consumption and musical ingenuity is quite the classic debating point, my priority is to infact review the album, which in a round about way may reflect on the debate, so onward we go! (feel free to debate it in the comments section)

 Cephalic Carnage manage to shatter any preconceived abstraction you could ever envisage on the technical side of music, they literally present to the listener with a colourful 54 minute segment of writhing sophisticated grind, that continues to shine vibrancy coupled with originality, all the whilst keeping the listener captivated and overwhelmed by the sheer awe that it sprays upon the gracious audience.
 Cephalic Carnages  modus operandi has a general inattention for time signatures and abstruse moments are found by the dozen, but all this adds to the appeal of their dexterous speedy riffing with the accompaniment of a grooving bass line and tight , integrated drumming. As per usual Cephalic Carnage like not to be underpinned by genres and release a vast fury of genres across their 14 tracks of boundary slashing mastery, expect a range from the doom, sludge to the loud to the more mellowed out, all the while being underpinned by an ever approaching grinding blitzkrieg. 
The Incorrigable Flame, is the first track and the only bad track on the album, perhaps for a musician it is desirable as it seems to be a fantastic showcase of their musical ability, however not that of a song for your standard listener, due to a lack of hooks,instrumental  integration and engaging moments which give me a feel that it is a weak as a song, and perhaps best left unheard to preserve the sanctity of the rest of the album. Luckily track 2 Warbots AM, brings back the users attention with blast beats and screaming intro followed by a parade of catchy riffs to reach and holds its zenith just over a minute in, with a slow paced grinding onslaught, and then to revert to back to a period of guitarmania, before once again breaking into the a full frontal Grindcore assault.  
Plentiful are moments of zen like slow paced drawn out harmonies, only to have them smoothly juxtaposed by moments of vehemence, all the while the temperance of the nimble guitar lead innovation remains intact, creating a staple flow that holds the polar elements together, namely the marvelous shifts of the speed and heaviness.
Vocals are well assimilated into the tracks, and reflect the constant mood swings of the album, giving another stratum to the sheer alluring nature of the album. One cannot take the application of the genre; namely Grindcore lightly,  albeit their previous releases, this is nothing like any other grind band, and it may be hard to associate with Grindcore's notorius extremity and cold blooded nature. However if you dwell deep into the music, and deep within all the non-grindcore elements you will be acquainted with some of Grindcore's hallmarks in loose application. Even if you struggle to these underpinnings, you will clearly notice in song structure of a return in force back to a staple of Grindcore, which emphasis the fluidity of the music.
Although similar in annals to their previous strongholds of Xenosapien and Anomalies, this album is unique in its own right, and in my opinion trumps the priors, in all fields be it originality, musical professionalism and overall appeal and re-playability. They have refined their game, cutting out elements which were feeble or misplaced, and those that were strong have been reinforced and reforged to give it a contemporary semblance, all the while never loosing sight of the original aim of original grind.
Musical praise aside, the artwork itself is worthy of distinction and perhaps best metaphorically represents the music; with a primeval skull constructed by various avant-garde entities, and in the distance a eye catching space craft, yes I am a sucker for art work
To conclude whoever said originality is dead, clearly never heard  Misled by Certainty, and whoever also said that originality and quality don't go side by side is also a liar. Misled by Certainty is a fantastic album, with every crevice teeming with originality, technicality and equally as good professionalism, this is certainly my favourite release of the year so far, and I tip my hat to them for blessing me with such an exhilarating roller coaster ride of audio ecstasy.

Post Script: Check out this interview with them, interesting read. (here) 


Monday, 6 September 2010

Putrefactive Pain (Neuropathia vs Putrescence, 2010)

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 We all love covers among some of the classics in our respective genre, but rarely if ever do we actually come across a cover which is actually preferable to some of the most fundamental defining building blocks of Grindcore, and much to my surprise I have come across a  a cover of Scum which I greatly prefer to the original, and furthermore a cover of Dead Shall Rise which I find almost en par with the original. Now I love N.D and I love Terrorizer, and for me to make such a statement is not merely a sign of rampant fanboyism , but a well grounded statement, read further to explore.

Neuropathia are perhaps the most famous of the Polish extreme metal acts, and such a reputation is anchored in a fist full of releases scattered amongst their veteran career. Across their 9 tracks they manage to ram in 3 cover songs, Nasum - Time to Act, Napalm Death -Scum, Carcass - Manifestation of Verrucose Urethra, these covers as to be expected are "Neuropathiasised" and that certainly ain't a bad thing. We all remember Scum  with its notoriously dirty down tuned fuzzy guitar work, gritty bass lines and echoey drums well Neuropathia scrap that and play a clean cut fresh approach to it, and they effectuate this fantastically well. Among early grind fans, this might not appeal given the nostalgic appeal has been severed, however certainly amongst  those who Grindcore has come into being second hand, then I am sure you will rest on my side of the camp and prefer the cover. The other two covers are not quite as good as the original, the Carcass cover lacking the outright heavy fear factor which Carcass brought into the genre, and the Nasum cover lacking the general Nasum feel, although both attempts are commendable endeavors and worthy of a listen in their own right.
The remaining six songs are straight up standard recent Neuropathia with their death metal that occasionally dances into the realm of Grindcore, it has an upbeat rythmic stance to it, which although does not create a seriously heavy sound which we are accustomed to, it does have a nice catchy groove to it however. Certainly a recommendation for those seeking something fresh in Grindcore.
 Putrescence spawn from Canada, and romp about a sui generis blend of many genres, from straight up Grindcore, Death metal, Deathgrind and even on occasion tangoing with the Gore. The lack of genre consistency is what produces the delightful and unique sound which has made Putrescence's name, they are pretty much a band that will please any lover of any extreme metal genre. Racking up a total of 10 minutes across 5 vile tracks, we see no hint of technicallity, nor that of any insane guitar work or drum work, but merely a carcass of simple and catchy uncomplex extreme metal, yet somehow they manage to pull it off to create a very decent 10 minutes.
Sadly as per usual I shall commit myself to the typical moan; that the song titles are half-witted attempts at creativity however, the musical content behind the poorly strung names is of good character, and easily redeems such an injustice. They also do an amazing cover of Terrorizer's  Dead Shall Rise, from start to end they do not fail to give the old grinding classic a nice makeover, although being a fantastic cover, it does not quite reach the audio attack ecstasy of the original, but I am yet to meet a band who can.

 If you like something new to feast your senses on, and/or if you want to hear some fantastic covers of some Grindcore's best tracks ever or you just want a mishmash of death metal- grindcore - Goregrind, if any of these satisfy you, then get your ass in gear and get yourself a copy asap.

Sorrry about shit sound quality