Sharp Blade Sinks Deep into Dull Minds
Joel Stallings is a fucking beast who can rock a drum kit along side grind luminaries like Dave Witte and Bryan Fajardo. Despite my ongoing, undying, everlasting man-crush on Mike Hill, Stallings’ concussive yet textured playing was the secret sauce that powered the last pair of Anodyne albums. And just in case you need a refresher course, Defeatist’s “Snuffed” and “Loathe” give Stallings a palette to get all Jackson Pollack in bruised shades of black and purple.
After waxing ecstatic for the first few years of their existence, Defeatist has tag teamed with Willowtip to collect all of their vinyl splits and 7-inch solo shots onto one handy plastic platter with Sharp Blade Sinks Deep into Dull Minds. From the black and white street grit artwork through the deliberately low-fi battery, New Yorkers Stallings, ex-Anodyne collaborator Joshua Scott and ex-Kalibas guitarist Aaron Nichols conjure the glossed over scuzz of the city before Guiliani decided to turn Times Square into Disney Land.
Nichols’ high pitched vocals can be a bit monotone and repetitive over the course of a full length, but have no doubt the music is the star of Sharp Blade and the band run a rigged three card monte song writing game on our rube asses. The Scum-grade punk is simply a launching pad for sparks of experimentation like the cork screw, trepanning guitar of “Mouth of Night,” which could have been lifted from Anodyne’s Outer Dark. Or the loping, lilting textures of “End of Suffering” and slow burn simmer of opener “Terminal Existence.”
Ferocious, intelligent and backed by a drumming legend in the making, Defeatist are grindcore brain surgeons. Their blades are sharp and if this doesn’t at least merit a listen, then your brain is pretty dull.
[Full disclosure: Willowtip sent along a review copy.]