Are you fucking with me, Relapse?
“Dick to Mouth Resuscitation,” cartoon artwork featuring shemales with man-sized cocks, casual misogyny and tales of dirty, coke-snatching ex-cops with acetylene torch fetishes elicit no warning from the label, but lace an album with a few drug references and suddenly Relapse feels the need to get all PMRC on our asses and slap a (non-ironic?) warning label in the middle of the back artwork telling kids to lay off the heroin? On an Agora-fucking-phobic Nosebleed album?
[I am a fucking retard. Thank you Chris for pointing out I missed one of the best jokes on the album. I pulled out my old Sepultura vinyl and laughed my ass off -- at the joke and at myself. Doh.]
That whiff of mall chain store appeasement aside, Agorapocalypse, Virginia’s ANb’s second long player brings all the brain bleach worthy imagery befitting of a band that has consistently provided a bad acid trip tour through the 24-hour cable network news cycle of the end times.
Where the band’s last solo outing managed to lube and cram 100 micro-grind bursts into our tight, hairy ear-slits in less time than it takes to watch a sitcom sans commercials, the band leisurely strolls through a mere 13 songs in about half an hour. This is the South of Heaven to Altered States of America’s Reign in Blood and guitarist/mastermind Scott Hull has boosted his songwriting repertoire with repeated listening of old DRI and Dark Angel albums, augmenting the classic Earache scoop sound.
First proper song “Agorapocalypse Now” and closer “Flamingo Snuff” strut dive bomb whammy bar abuse lifted from Eddie Van Halen’s wallet while he was busy hate fucking Diamond Dave. “Question of Integrity” trots out a drum machine solo longer than a vast majority of songs in the band’s recockulously overstuffed catalogue.
Tagging in ex-Salome tonsil scraper Katherine Katz for the MIA Carl Schultz with no appreciable loss in psychosis or increase in femininity as the fairer sex gets lyrically molested in classic grindhouse film fashion. While some of the lyrical abuse veers dangerously close to the faux-ironic misogyny of a legion of pr0n grind imitators, ANb back away from the precipice with bizarre Voivod-shout out time travel narrative of the three part “Timelord” penned by Drugs of Faith’s Richard Johnson. “Hung from the Rising Sun” also finds J. Randall dipping into the Shoko Asahara insanity well that fueled Altered States’ freakiest interludes.
The invective-spewing hydraheaded beast may have backed off the microgrind that crowned their rise through the grindcore ranks, but that just makes for a more leisurely tour through the pretty pill-colored wasteland we call modern day America.