Wednesday, January 30, 2013

G&P Review: Beatriz Carnicero

Beatriz Carnicero
No Reces

Continuing the theme of kickass albums Andrew should have addressed back in 2012, Uruguayan fastcore/power violence gauchos Beatriz Carnicero run the Infest back catalogue through a modern filter and puke out pure awesomeness on the other side with killer little EP No Reces (No Prayers). Beatriz Carnicero sling the kind of high protein power violence that doesn't linger beyond 60 seconds (copious samples included) as the band reels off 15 songs in a comfortably re-playable eight minutes.
Ubiquitous samples aside, Beatriz Carnicero do not deign to grant you the mercy of any buildup or decompression. They body slam straight into the various songs with concussive force. This is grinding hardcore played with all the subtlety of a multicar pileup on the freeway. The songs, themselves, are universally fragmented and jagged, lacking any smooth edges to ease your landing when they drop you back to earth.
The only knock I have on No Reces (and this is getting into seriously nitpicky personal pet peeve territory) is that they slap the overused Howard Beale freakout rant from Network at the very end, but even that's not enough to mar the amazing music Beatriz Carnicero are serving up. It just encourages me to stop it 15 seconds early and roll it back to song number one yet again.

[Full disclosure: the band sent me a download.]

Monday, January 28, 2013

Grindcore Bracketology 3: The 4-5 Matchups

Despite Jon Chang's laughably desperate attempt to stuff the ballot box by voting twice, some of his favorite records just got torched. I call that justice. Everyone savor the tears of his failure. Which sons of bitches met their mortality? Read on.


More Metal
S.O.B.'s Gate of Doom met its World Downfall at the hands of Terrorizer, falling by 16-2 (and I only counted one of Jon's votes).

More Punk
Disrupt disrupted S.O.B.'s second entry in the contest when Unrest stomped all over Don't Be Swindle by 13-5.


More Arty
No matter who goes down, Takafumi Matsubara won this round, and you guys decided GridLink's Amber Gray was superior to Mortalized's Absolute Mortality 2 by 14-4.

More Farty
Kill the Client's Cleptocracy stole the show, outlasting Agoraphobic Nosebleed's PCP Torpedo by 9-6.

As always, the updated brackets are available for your perusal here.
So that brings us to the last batch for the first round. Here are the 4-5 matchups. As always, you have until Sunday to vote either here or at the Facebook page, whichever suits you. Just a friendly reminder, you only get to vote once (*cough*Chang*cough).


More Metal
4. Brutal Truth-Need to Control v. 5. Carcass-Reek of Putrefaction

More Punk
4. Siege-Drop Dead v. 5. Assuck-Anticapital


More Arty
4. Dephosphorus-Night Sky Transform v. 5. Agoraphobic Nosebleed-Altered States of America

More Farty
4. Suffering Mind-Suffering Mind v. 5. 324-Boutoku no Taiyo

Friday, January 25, 2013

G&P Review: Ape Unit

Ape Unit
Unforgiveable Holidays

Comedy grind is a tough business because it opens you up to new opportunities to crash and burn. Not only will people turn a critical eye on your grindsmithery, but it opens up your lyrics, presentation and art to additional scrutiny and people talk shit about your sense of humor.
Ape Unit's grind is adequate but maybe a touch too enervated to blast them out of the pack. Unforgiveable Holidays has a nice low end hum to it, but it's just missing that adrenal piss and spit that jolts the best grind to life. So the Italians' success will largely depend on how you react to their smirking sense of humor.
Their humor is more heh than ha-ha funny. It's all giant fat kid butt cheeks on the CD, goofy samples and absurdist song titles like "The Bad and the Breakfast" or "The End is Near, Tijuana is Nearer." So goofing is their business and business is good. But unlike Birdflesh or Crom, Ape Unit keep far back from that precipice where their clowning overpowers the actual songwriting. The songs are more likely to skate by at a punk beat rather than go full on blasting, but Ape Unit bend comedy in the service of their grind rather than allow the whacky hijinks to overwhelm the art.
I wish Ape Unit had a bit more musical punch to go with their Punch and Judy show, but Unforgiveable Holidays is a comedy grind record that doesn't go all Carrot Top desperate to make you laugh and keeps things in perspective.

[Full disclosure: the band sent me a review copy.]

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Their Bodies, The Performance Machine: Cloud Rat Unleash an Ode to Daunting Daughters

I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?
London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down
Poi s'ocose nel foco che gli affina
Quando fiam uti chelidon--O swallow swallow
Le Prince d'Aquitaine a la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Whey then Ile fit you. Heironymo's mad engine.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Shantih shantih shantih

T.S. Eliot
The Waste Land

According to a variety of Eastern religions, our karma chains us to a nearly endless cycle of rebirth and suffering. But occasionally the blessed few achieve enlightenment, transcend their limitations and break that cycle through a process of liberation called moksha.
Cloud Rat's Moksha is built on a lifetime of bad luck, poor timing and worse decisions. The Michigan trio's latest, breakout record is a baker's dozen songs about addiction, loss and hard times, but it's so much more than a simple recital of misery. No matter how gray the skies get in Cloud Rat's world, there's an uplifting glimmer of hope that creeps through when you're not prepared.
The result is the clear frontrunner for album of the year and it's only January.
"Madison initially had the idea of using Moksha as an album title, and we just kind of ran with it because it can represent so many things that our lyrics address," guitarist Rorik said. "Liberation in a literal sense, i.e. animal liberation, Earth liberation, humyn liberation, feminism, sexual/gender liberation, etc. This existence that we all inhabit is so full of suffering and despair, and has always been that way, whether by nature’s hand or man. We all were brought in to this world against our will, and death is absolutely the only way out. There is a song in particular on this record that touches on that whole idea, 'Infinity Chasm.' I have a nine year old daughter, and the lyrics to the song are written like a note to her. First reminiscing about all of our time spent together, then apologizing for subjecting her to this world with all of its suffering as well as joy and beauty, and then showing the reality that eventually I will be gone and she will be gone, and there is nothing we can do about it."

The Needle...

For a band that went from daydreaming about starting a band to recording their first album in a scant six weeks, Moksha, released by IFB Records and Halo Of Flies Records in the United States and by React With Protest Records and 7 Degree Records in Europe, is a breakout moment that finds Cloud Rat expanding their sonic palette beyond simple hardcore without ever sacrificing the aggression that nurtured them. Instead, they build on their natural strengths with an extra layer of stumble-toed gloom. The mumbled misery of "Infinity Chasm" and a devastating take on Neil Young's junkie lament "The Needle and the Damage Done" may anchor Cloud Rat to their karmic penance, but salvation is in within the trio's sight.
Moksha is centered around vocalist Madison's emotional purgative, and she spits and screams her way through a lifetime's frustrations. No woman has so utterly dominated a grind album like this since Alyssa Murray stole the mic with Disrupt. Madison wails and eviscerates your heart like a hardcore Billie Holiday. Rorik and drummer Adrian smartly give her the foundation she needs to lay on the line one of the most bare and provocative vocal performances you'll ever hear. Where too many grind bands hide behind layers of metaphor or safe political abstraction, Cloud Rat is deeply personal and emotionally jagged.
"I always feel really self-conscious about my vocals in the studio," Madison said. "I didn’t really prepare much, just brought my lyrics and screamed them at Rorik because he stresses me out in the studio. Kevin Kitchel makes things really comfortable for us though, so that helps. A lot of my lyrics are very personal, so that brings out some demons as well."
Madison's lyrics are so personal she's occasionally shied away from setting them to tape, but her bandmates urged her to share her experiences.
"There have been numerous times when recording over the past three years that she has been reluctant to put some of this stuff out there, this record included," Rorik said. "She usually does though, and I commend her for it. We all come from broken homes, abusive upbringings, past drug problems, etc. There are a lot of other people out there who have dealt with the same things and worse, so that’s why I think it’s good that she puts that out there, so others can relate."
Kitchel (of The Oily Menace fame) has recorded all of Cloud Rat's music, and he said the band has become increasingly comfortable in his home studio. That allows the band to dig deep and focus on their performances, he said.
"My studio isn't a studio; it's just my dining room and a live-room the size of a mini-van down in the basement. So when people come to record, it's also hanging out with my cats, making food with stuff from the garden, and probably a lot of drinking because I have a kegerator that is usually full of homebrew or local stuff," Kitchel said. "We were fast and firm friends! In the years since the first recording session we have got to be much closer, and Madison even lived here for a while. She even pushed the bass player for The Oily Menace (who also lived here) through a window while dancing, so like I said, firm friends!  It's that level of comfort that lets bands be real. There were tour deadlines for each and every recording, but this time the guitars and drums were done months before the vocals. It's pretty amazing to me that they had so many great songs written for all these releases. The Moksha vocal and mixing sessions were I think over one weekend just before they left for the tour with thedowngoing, right down to the wire."

...and the Damage Done

Ecologically minded and unabashedly feminist, Cloud Rat also continue to stripmine the matriarchs of antiquity for metaphors to encapsulate their songs' themes, combining the band's penchant for feminism, paganism, and Eastern spirituality into a single package.
"Moksha does again borrow a bit from paganism/mythology, significantly in the tracks 'Olympia,' 'Vigil,' and 'Daunting Daughters,'" Rorik said. "We are all somewhat spiritually inclined. I think that mythology, especially Eurasian mythology/spirituality, is fascinating, and using it for imagery and lyrical allegories and metaphors makes things a lot more interesting than just lyrics like 'The world is fucked, government sucks, burn it down,' etc. I mean, I am way into a lot of bands that do that kind of thing, but we just choose not to."
While Cloud Rat have not abandoned the grind that has built their buzz the last few years, Moksha is largely defined by their extra-genre excursions, centered around their take on Neil Youngr. Drummer Adrian was the impetus behind the band's first recorded cover.
"It was Adrian’s idea to cover Neil Young. We always talk about doing covers but never do it. He was set on it, so one day I sat down with it and started figuring out how we could go about it," Rorik said. "I decided that we should basically just do it the way Neil did it, only full band/distorted, a bit slower and gloomier, with all three of us singing. As I mentioned earlier, drugs have been a big part of our lives since we were young. I’ve done a lot of crazy shit and started when I was 11 years old. The three of us have similar stories. Heroin ripped our community apart once, where about half of the punks in Mount Pleasant were into it. We lost some friends, some dead, others in prison, lives destroyed, etc. That’s why we did this song, because we know what it’s like, and Neil said it best: 'I’ve seen the needle and the damage done / a little part of it in everyone / but every junkie’s like a setting sun.'"
Adrian also provided the plaintive piano outro that delivers the album's final emotional uplift. More than a throwaway track at the end of a record, Moksha's title track punctuates the psychological journey. It's a spiritual culmination of Moksha's overriding themes.
"Originally 'Infinity Chasm' was going to be called 'Moksha,' but then Adrian brought this to the table a few days before we were going to finish vocals and mixing," Rorik said. "We all thought it was perfect for the record, so we kept it. He has a project with our friend Tom called Found Letters that is ambient/noise stuff, and they did this track one night fall 2012 while really drunk and depressed, at a barn in the middle of nowhere."
It's that kind of inspiration and confidence that make Moksha the must hear album of the year. It's a record guaranteed to place Clout Rat near the top of many best of 2013 lists.
Shantih shantih shantih.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Grindcore Bracketology 3: The 3-6 Matchups

Round two brought us the first upset and it kinda surprises me. (In retrospect, maybe not so much.) Who got unceremoniously dumped? Let's get to the results.


More Metal
Napalm Death's From Enslavement just got obliterated by Assuck's Misery Index. What many consider to the be the most influential grind albums in history got smoked 14-9.

More Punk
This one wasn't even close. Unseen Terror's Human Error mustered a single protest vote, losing to Brutal Truth's Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses by 21-1.


More Arty
Even the mighty Nasum couldn't stand against Pig Destroyer as Prowler in the Yard trounced Helvete by 15-7.

More Farty
Sakatat gave us eight blissful minutes of grind perfection with farewell album Bir Devrin Sonu, but that wasn't enough to come close to Singaporean masters Wormrot and their totally out of left field debut Abuse, which triumphed 19-2.

So that was round two. As always, you can view the updated brackets here. Just keep in mind I'll be reseeding when the first batch is done, so the matchups it shows right now might not be the final faceoffs.

Anyway, on to the 3-6 matchups.


More Metal
3. Terrorizer-World Downfall v. 6. S.O.B.-Gate of Doom

More Punk
3. S.O.B.-Don't Be Swindle v. 6. Disrupt-Unrest


More Arty
3. Mortalized-Absolute Mortality 2 v. 6. GridLink-Amber Gray (ya think I did that deliberately?)

More Farty
3. Agoraphobic Nosebleed-PCP Torpedo v. 6. Kill the Client-Cleptocracy

Have at it. Once again, you have until Sunday. You can vote here or at the Facebook page, whichever is most convenient.

Friday, January 18, 2013

G&P Review: Blastanus

Self Released

Blastanus sounds like it should be the title of some super-skeezy Eastern Bloc porn flick investigators would find n the VCR of Buffalo Bill's body part-strewn sex dungeon. Instead, this Finnish quintet (featuring a saxophonist) churn through death/grind that leans heavily on the balance of aggression and obsessive technicality established by the early Willowtip roster on this 2011 album. Comparisons to Decapitated would not  be far off either because Blastanus shove the guitar histrionics to the forefront for better or for worse.
Over 11 songs in just under 45 minutes, Blastanus's vocals veer between Afgrund rasping and Karl Sanders straining to drop a deuce after a Taco Bell binge, which puts the band squarely in the realm of metal's norms. The drums are afflicted by that modern typewriter rattle, but they serviceably move the songs forward. So make no mistake, this album belongs to guitarist Antii Oksanen. Where everyone else is turning in a by the books performance, Oksanen's florid freakout at least endeavors to give the band some personality outside of the zillions of other bands who have mastered odd scales. One note will never serve when he can squeeze in 50 and he takes full advantage of the range the full neck of his guitar offers. The solo of "Liberation/Salvation," one of the few really stand out moments on Collapse, is ganked straight from the Slayer playbook but given a skronkological rectal exam.
Blastanus spend about 90 percent of Collapse toiling to turn in a generic but inoffensive death/grind record, but then out of nowhere they tack some smooth jazz on to the end of the album. If you have a full time saxophonist in the band, it seems odd to keep him lurking around for one track just in case you were wondering what it would sound like if Kenny G ever went on tour with Sadis Euphoria. Nobody has ever wondered that.

[Full disclosure: the band sent me a download.]

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

G&P Review: Water Torture/thedowngoing

Water Torture/thedowngoing
Nerve Altar Split
Grindcore Karaoke/Nerve Altar

If I had my shit together (I know, I know; just pretend, ok?), somebody would have gotten bumped from my best splits of 2012 list because this violent and violenter pairing towers over the landscape like a classic Godzilla/King Ghidorah smackdown. No matter who wins, Tokyo's ass is getting leveled. Water Torture and thedowngoing are two bands at the peak of their abilities arbitrarily laying waste to the landscape.
If you haven't jumped on the Water Torture bandwagon yet (and seriously, what more does VII need to do to get your attention?), this is a perfect entry point because the bass/drum neo-violence duo have never been tighter or more abrasive. This is a bad mood, morning after hangover, waking up with your skanky ex kind of bummer trip, drool faced, red eyed and pissed off at the world. The secret to Water Torture's downtrodden groove is their blend of Iron Lung stumble getting electro shocked to the balls courtesy of The Endless Blockade. It's a devastating, thoroughly modern combination that nods to masters old and new while still leaving its own indelible mark.
Flipside, Aussie dervishes thedowngoing play a cold eyed game of chicken, piling all seven of their songs into a single, unrelenting five minute track. There is no off ramp, no exit and they dare you to blink. Musically, the duo are picking right up from where the awesome ATHOUSANDYEARSOFDARKNESS and their contribution to Monomaniac left off. In Water Torture, thedowngoing have finally found a band that can match their auditory killing spree. These are two of the most hostile, abrasive and uncompromising bands working today and each need only two members to drown out every other band that fancies themselves extreme. So yeah, I was too slow to get this one lined up for 2012, but 2013 isn't so old that we can't fondly look back one more time before we step forward.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Grindcore Bracketology 3: The 2-7 Matchups

Round one is in the books, folks. I don't think there were any surprises with this one, but here's who will be hitting the showers early.

I don't  think any serious grind fan will discount just how awesome and quietly underrated Enemy Soil's Casualties of Progress is, but Horrified is a grindcore cornerstone. Repulsion trounced them 20-4.

In a matchup of early punky grind, Napalm Death's Scum ran all over Extreme Noise Terror's A Holocaust in Your Head by 19-5.

We all appreciate what Matt Widener did with Liberteer, but cmon, Discordance Axis' The Inalienable Dreamless is The Inalienable Fucking Dreamless. (I'm kinda a fan of this record). This one wasn't even close at 22-3.

Finally, I was curious how this one would go down since I juiced the rankings to force proteges Cellgraft to square off against masters Insect Warfare. I thought this might be the best chance for a spoiler, but I underestimated your love of World Extermination, which stomped all over External Habitation by 22-2.

So that was round one. You can keep tabs on how the brackets are shaking out here. Meanwhile, here are your 2-7 matchups. Once again, you have until Sunday. You can vote here or at the Facebook page. Have at it.


More Metal
2. Napalm Death-From Enslavement to Obliteration v. 7. Assuck-Misery Index

More Punk
2. Brutal Truth-Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses v. 7. Unseen Terror-Human Error


More Arty
2. Pig Destroyer-Prowler in the Yard v. 7. Nasum-Helvete

More Farty
2. Womrot-Abuse v. 7. Sakatat-Bir Devrin Sonu

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jersey Boys: Amputee Go Out on a Limb for Grindcore

Extreme metal revels in the sort of morbid, tasteless fascination with death, destruction and misery that most people who consider themselves well adjusted endeavor to avoid. In fact, a blunt indifference to social niceties is often treated as a point of honor in the ongoing arms race to provoke the biggest rise out of the squares. And then there are those hilarious moments when metal's fascination with dismemberment and B-movie gore makes its awkward acquaintance with flesh and blood reality.
Case in point: Actual amputees have crashed grinders Amputee's social media profiles, mistaking the New Jersey  band for some sort of support group.
"I obviously have nothing against actual amputees, but I don’t know why they add us on Facebook or send us 'Amputee and Proud' messages," guitarist Bill Sikora said. "That’s cool and all, but I think it’s pretty clear we’re some shitty band they don’t care about. Our videos on YouTube get insane amounts of views as well. I’m assuming it's total creeps looking for amputee porn and settling for us. I would say that is the biggest blowback aside from trying to tell your grandparents and co-workers your band’s name, but that's every band I’ve ever been in. Band names suck."
Sikora is being a bit modest because Amputee is an awesome band name and he and bandmates John and Ben previously played in the wonderfully titled Chainsaw to the Face (notable for their contribution to the first volume of This Comp Kills Fascists). Rounded out by vocalist Brian (ex-Doomsday Machine Schematic who will be ceding his spot to new screamer Chris this year), the New Jersey quartet have built their buzz on a devastating demo, a tidy 7-inch and a split with Nimbus Terrifix that exhume, embody and update the path blazed by Assuck before them. Along with likeminded grinders Cellgraft, Backslider and Triac (with whom they are readying a split), Amputee revel in the no frills grind path blazed by the Floridian band. But Amputee would like reductive internet assholes who appointed themselves as musical arbiters (not thinking of anybody in particular, here) to know the band does have other influences too.
"I would say, for us, we have no intention on revolutionizing grind or whatever," Sikora said. "We just grew up on old Slap a Ham and Earache stuff. I think people get too hung up on nostalgia. I mean, we’re not trying to relive something we were never apart of. Realistically, how could we ever get sick of being compared to Assuck? I am nothing short of flattered to the comparisons to [Excruciating Terror] or Fear of God as well, but I don’t want people to think we are a revivalist-type band. What it comes down to is playing music that isn’t complete horse shit and having fun. Our direct influences would be bands like the three mentioned above, Autopsy, Crossed Out, Gorguts, Entombed and Infest."
Reached from the studio where he's laying down the beats for Triac's half of the upcoming split, drummer Jake Cregger enthused about Amputee's raw, relentless approach, regardless of any influences.
"If you boil their sound down to its raw essence then you have high energy and … malicious intent, (Name that song!)," he said. "I’d say that if Amputee were equipped with a bag of potatoes, an old boot and a can of chili, they would still manage to make something forceful and nasty. That is why they exist and they don’t have patience for much else. I think that comes across well, live and on record." 

Draw Back a Stump

Amputee will get to parade their command of grind beyond the cream of Florida circa 1991  this year as they ready their upcoming split with Triac (who are recording tracks for their own split with Backslider during the same session) as well as a planned full length.
"We’ve known the Triac guys for years from playing shows with Chainsaw," Sikora said. "Out of mutual love for each other’s bands, we set up a tour and a split soon followed. Those dudes were seriously great to be on the road with and some talk of future touring has come up. Both bands are finishing up and Haunted Hotel will be putting it out. I honestly can’t say when it will be out but for sure no later than 2013."
 Cregger said split was a natural idea because the two bands are simpatico both musically and on a personal level.
"We are really excited to do a split with Amputee because, aside from being great guys, they are such a consistently nasty sounding band live and on record," Cregger said. "We have slowly been moving in the same direction sonically as best we can, and it seems to be a great fit. They really enjoy what they do which makes a huge difference and they execute their husky blend of grindcore very well. On top of that, having toured with them, they are truly the sweetest bunch of fudge-pots and made every day of tour a good time. Touring with them is like living an endless Three Stooges bit. They might not be pretty, but there is a ton of character underneath those gnarled mugs."

A Leg to Stand On

While the band is still hunting for a label to partner with for the full length, Sikora said the new material is "way less Assuck-worship," which may force me to compare them to a new band when it finally comes out.
The band also plans to commemorate first vocalist Brian's run with the band with a limited run of discography cassettes essentially collecting all of the band's output with his contribution. Stepping to Brian's mic will be new vocalist Chris.
"Our new vocalist is our good buddy, Chris. I have played in numerous hardcore bands with him and he has the biggest Ripchord button I’ve ever seen. Amputee will be back in action [this] year and playing shows around March. Brian will be on our upcoming split with Triac and that will be his last. We're bummed to see him go, but he’s a busy guy. We wish him the best."
While Sikora promises the new full length will expand Amputee's repertoire beyond Assuck, he can't dodge his influences in his self proclaimed Larm-core band Attitude Era. In fact, it turns out just about every member of Amputee has secret musical identity as well.
"Chris and I are in a poorly named fastcore band, Attitude Era," Sikora said. "Logan from Backslider, Chris, our buddy Jim and I wanted to start a band that sounded just like Heresy, Intense Degree, Deep Wound, etc. I play drums and we don’t distort the bass. We just put out a tape on Eat The Life from Chicago. You can google 'Attitude Era Philly' and a Bandcamp link should come up or one of our several three minute sets are on YouTube. Also, check out Brian and John’s band with Pat from Backslider, Callous. Ben also does a band with Josh from [Doomsday Machine Schematic] called Goat Thrower. If you’re into Dissection or At the Gates, you’ll love them."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Grindcore Bracketology 3: The 1-8 Matchups

There must be something about news of a new Squash Bowels album that does it to me because I have the flu yet again. But I won't let a little thing like leaking from orifices I never knew existed stop me from kicking off this year's bracketology. You'll just have to forgive me if I keep it short and sweet.
Here are the 1-8 matchups. You have until Sunday to vote here or at the Facebook page. Have at it.


More Metal
1. Repulsion-Horrified v. 8. Enemy Soil-Casualties of Progress

More Punk

1. Napalm Death-Scum v. 8. Extreme Noise Terror-A Holocaust in Your Head


More Arty

1. Discordance Axis-The Inalienable Dreamless v. 8. Liberteer-Better to Die on Your Feet Than Live on Your Knees

More Farty
1. Insect Warfare-World Extermination v. 8. Cellgraft-External Habitation

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Namesake Series: "Aeon"

Whether it's a pretentious spelling of eon our a shout out to the helper spirits that keep the world running per gnostic philosophy, "Aeon" the song title inspires bands from a variety of genres to go big and go mystic. It's time to sit back and really think about your place in the universe. As some dude once said, "That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die."

Though Gigantic Brain was birthed out of grindcore, the one man band (now a duo) has never been one to be restricted by stale convention. And GB announced its liberation with the first track of the Betelgeuse EP, part of the band's post-Invasion Discography creative burst. In Gigantic Brain's hands, "Aeon" is a placid, beautiful, meditative piece that seems to have evolved from a separate phylum compared to the band's prior material. Gigantic Brain's oeuvre has always had a pensive soulfulness that's often missing from the accustomed hostility of grindcore and "Aeon" is a great example.

Probably the most famous "Aeon" would be the penultimate song from Neurosis' masterwork Through Silver in Blood. Either definition of aeon plays to the band's man and nature mystique. Neurosis get all spiritual with a tinkling piano opening that gives way to their wonted crush only to stumble into a clashing, staggering mid-section only to roil back up into a crushing finale. It's like Gustave Dore engravings being transfigured into radiant sound.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

G&P Review: Under Vultures/466/64

Under Vultures/466/64

466/64 is either a reference to Nelson Mandela's prison number,  the fashion company he's not affiliated with or a math nerd way to name your band 7.28125, the IP address for a chunk of Columbus, Ohio. But it's hard to tell what they have in mind because their web presence is absolutely nil. But you'd think these Canary Islanders (now there's a part of the globe we don't usually hear from) would want to shout their name from the rooftops after they backended their share of this 2011 split album with 15 songs of a sweet ass Looking for an Answer-style hostility. 466/64 have actual riffs buried under their feral aggression, like the serpentine wiggle of "Monstruo." I've listened to a metric fuck-ton of grind in my life so it's not every day some out of nowhere band (from an out of nowhere corner of the world) comes along and de-socks-es me, but 466/64 had me hitting up Google Earth to plan my next vacation in what sure must be grindcore's next holy land.
None of that gushing is to overlook the mighty work Spain's Under Vultures do opening up the album. Playing Nashgul to 466/64's Looking for an Answer, Under Vultures bring a burlier, thick-bodied slamming that leans heavily on the rusty, serrated guitar tone. The comparison only goes so far because Under Vultures don't have the same tunesmith knack that erupted from Nashgul's empty grave and they are not shy about falling back on unadulterated blastbeats when they need to move a song along. The band's strongest selling point will likely be the vocal tradeoffs between dedicated screamers Fran and Sebax, creating a screech versus growl interplay that punctuates and advances the songs even when the songwriting falls into a chugging/blasting rut.
This one's up for free download on Under Vultures' Bandcamp page. You'd be wise to avail yourself of that opportunity. Look for me jamming this one on some Spanish beach somewhere in the near future.

[Full disclosure: the band sent me a download.]