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Friday, 4 March 2011

Strained Grinding (Unnatural Selection, En Theos, 2010)

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One of the perks and burdens of being a musical review blogger is that sometimes people treat you as a deity: all knowing and a source of divine musical authority, with artists bringing forth gifts of releases before me, wishing for me to approve of their gospel and spread the word to all others that lay homage to the place of worship that is Grind to Death. Now before you say to yourselves fuck this guy Alex, he thinks he is a God of Grind, what a arrogant mindless twat, although chances are I am arrogant and mindless and maybe a twat, I certainly don't feel God like, and sometimes now amount verbal magic (or lack of) that I can conjure can save bands that are quite terrible to say the least.
It's a shame that on occasion peoples passion and enthusiasm for a type of music, never translates well when they actually start playing the music. 
Sadly one such band is British Drum Machine duo Unnatural Selection, there are quite a few things lacking greatly, and although by no means a drastically terrible release, a general lack of feeling and oomph fail to hold the listeners attention for any period of time, degrading the music to an irritable background noise of grunts and blasts, that often results in a quick turn over to something more interesting, in my case usually Assuck or Gridlink (seriously I listen to these guys several times a day)
Now I can't deduct marks for the generally poor recording quality, I have listened to enough Agathocles, and cassette rips to actually enjoy the degenerative slurs and static discharge in their own right. But as an observation recording quality sounds like it was recorded through a guitar hero microphone in the living room, with the volume not too loud in case it wakes up their parents in the floor above.
Some of you other readers may know well the curse of the last song, well I propose that there also exists a curse of the first song, Unnatural Selection are not the only ones guilty of this and by no means a scape goat, but in all honesty no grinder in their right mind wants to sit through a minute and a half of abstract white noise, with layered echoes, we are impatient, we want things done quickly, we want to hear them now, and hear them loud, delaying us does not intensify the experience when it arrives, it just puts us in a sour mood before we have even heard one note of what you plan to put out! Also such expressions of artistic abstraction of noise are shit. End of. So I beg you bands refrain from putting garbage in your music, If you feel you must, preferably not at the beginning or else you really are doing it for the purposes of decreasing my already dwindling life expectancy.
Like I said earlier, its not drastically terrible that I feel I have to pull an Ichi the Killer and forcibly insert stilleto's in my ears, resulting in deafness (and in Kakihara's case hallucination), but generally we look to music to evoke emotion and feeling, not necessarily in a 80's Power Ballad Symphony that will force me to conquest Mount Everest to find my life love locked in a castle where I must smite a dragon to set her free into my arms, only to find the mountain, castle and dragon are all metaphors for my inherent character flaws namely attacking random people's houses with medieval siege equipment and fire. Back to the point, I can guarantee as a universal feeling, free of cultural, gender or any other separation physical or idealogical, when we hear a song we like we all get the voice, and it pretty much says the same core thing "This is pretty good" or if it is something really off the hook like the new Rotten Sound (wait how has he? is he bluffing? The European release date is not yet!) we all get the "THIS IS FUCKING AMAZING" voice in our head, usually in the imaginary voice of a young teenager who has just found the joys of alcohol for the first time. Well we get no such feeling, and sadly just get the sound of tumble weeds rolling in the wind, in anticipation of something that will break forth from its bleakness and issue something worthy of positive commentary. 
Now for all my slagging off and verbal abuse to the band, I now offer some consolation; its not that you have done something fundamentally wrong, hell I actually like your choice of song titles from those that satisfy my Latin taste buds "En Theos" (also the title of the EP) to the really humorous "Born from Porn" and "Violently Opposed to Violence", and I even like your choice of samples for the songs, but the most common flaw across the board is that you don't fully develop what you do, you need to give more body to what you initiate,  if Da Vinci had done the Mona Lisa equally as undeveloped as what you guys try to do, it will probably look more like my attempt at it(not really mine).
All in all you certainly have the foundations right, but drastic development is needed before people will even take the music seriously, but what the fuck do I know, I don't even play an instrument, nor am I in a band, what the fuck am I doing writing here anyway! I should be writing my dissertation! Argggggghhhhhhhhhh! 
 Oh yeah if this has at all taken your fancy feel free to listen to it for free over on their bandcamp.

P.S. Abrasive DIY raw sound only works if you play punk styled grind not metal!