Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Grind in Rewind 2008

You know the drill. Here is where I’m sposed fart out onto the interwebs for about 150 words about how about how awesome 2008 was for grind and how it had some highs and lows blah blah blah. Inevitably, half of you will probably think I’m a complete idiot and asshole. Not that I’m denying either. Like I said, you know where this is going. Here’s what rocked my grindcore socks in 2008.

10. Afgrund
Svarta Dagar
I don’t recall if I’ve mentioned this before, but I loves me some Swedish punk and metal, which is why Afgrund (OK part of the band is Finnish) was such an exciting revelation for me in 2008. While it’s always a joy to score something new from Gadget, Sayyadina or Retaliation or bask in the sheer genius that was Nasum, it’s also refreshing (and frankly a tad astonishing) to realize how much vitality and life can be wrung out of such a simple formula: no frills grind with classic Swede death production. Svarta Dagar brought that in spades, which is why it’s still in pretty frequent rotation at chez Childers.
And if you need a second opinion, look no further than those shrewd marketing geniuses at what is currently the best metal label working in Pennsylvania. What better way for Afgrund to auld lang 2008’s syne than with a well deserved Willowtip contract (who also just snagged Magrudergrind btw! who will record with the Ballou/Hull!! axis next month!!!).

9. Population Reduction
Each Birth a New Disaster
Tank Crimes
With an album title swiped from Ralph Bakshi’s 1977 fromage-stuffed swords and sorcery cum Nazi Armageddon cartoon parable, Wizards, self proclaimed “hash smoking grind fiends” Population Reduction tattoo one of Mark Twain’s many brilliant observations that “Sacred cows make the best hamburger” into your flesh with every drillbit thrash-to-grind-riff-slide and needle pointed staccato drum fill or blast beat.
The terrible two piece blithely shred riffs and metal tropes on their second release, Each Birth a New Disaster, a collection of delightfully catchy ditties about cheap weed, cheap beer, cheaply made horror films and korpsepaint kommandoes at the beach. As with every aphorism, it’s the exceptions that prove its wisdom and the whole grind world should send Peter Svoboda and Dr. X’s mothers a lovely flower arrangement next Mothers Day to commemorate two births that were far from disastrous.

8. Parlamentarisk Sodomi
Har Du Sagt "A" Får Du Si "Nal"
No Escape
Awesome artist, Burnt by the Sun-in-law and all around excellent person Scott Kinkade called this anally probing one man Norwegian machine “the best grind release of the year hands down.” That may be a tad hyperbolic considering Kinkade contributed photos to a certain new grind album of one Mr. Jon Chang, but he’s got a good ear for talent because Papirmollen’s solo excursion kicks all kinds of Scandinavian ass and is a far more mature outing than you’d expect for a disc graced by hand-drawn dicks. Deftly weaving local political commentary and scatological humor, Parlamentarisk Sodomi eschew metal’s wonted generalities about politics and call out hometown pols for heaps of ridicule by name. Best of all, he backs that mockery with brass knuckled bursts of tightly written grinding goodness and solos to pucker the taints of half of Parliament. Norway is not typically known for its punk and grind scene, but here’s hoping Parlamentarisk Sodomi are the cusp of a revolution. But remember, sodomy is like Christmas: it’s better to give than receive.

7. Looking For an Answer
Living Dead Society
For the irony-challenged commenters out there who thought I was unnecessarily picking on these awesome Spaniards' bunny huggery, here’s how you know when Andrew his being sarcastically hyperbolic: my lips are moving. While I may have joked about the Looking For An Answer’s hardline animal right’s stance, their ferocious brand of no bullshit grind is deadly serious. Felix’s speed picking on “Cada Nacimiento Es Una Tragedia” and “Ruptura” is some of the tightest chops you’ll hear all year, proving there is still plenty of life in the foundation Terrorizer laid down 20 odd years ago. Solid songwriting and sincere aggression are a potent combination and Looking For An Answer simmer up a heady brew. This is a band I’d have a steak with any day.

6. Maruta
In Narcosis
It’s not often a band makes me get my learn on, but Maruta had me hitting the books in October, getting a crash course in Japanese atrocities in World War 2, conveniently recreated for your listening pleasure as a mass of top flight tech grind. Though often delayed and plagued by lineup instability, Maruta’s Willowtip debut is without bullshit or prevarication, the single best grind debut of the year. We’re grindcore to hand out the equivalent of the Calder Trophy for the best rookie campaign, Maruta would be high in the balloting. If all you know of the swamp dwelling Floridians is their appearance on This Comp Kills Fascists, then hie thee ass unto they local record distributor or clicketh thy mouse toward Willowtip because In Narcosis is a half hour hit and run session with a refurbished Sherman tank.
And for more information on Unit 731 and other war criminals, consult your local library.

5. Total Fucking Destruction
Peace, Love and Total Fucking Destruction
The freakiest collection in Philly outside of the thoroughly awesome Mutter Museum, Rich Hoak’s traveling grindcore circus is even more bizarre and meandering than even his previous day job in stoner grinders Brutal Truth. Peace Love and Total Fucking Destruction, the band’s second full length, once again delves into the spacey corners of Hoak’s id to mine misanthropy and esoteric yoga for nuggets of pointed misanthropy and trenchant social commentary. Mixing the third eye wide open lyrical bent with a willingness to push the narrow confines of the grind, Total Fucking Destruction are consistently the most interesting and adventurous band working the style. After totally fucking destroying two full lengths in two years, I hope there’s still some steam left in Hoak’s grindfreak railroad for a third outing.

4. Kill the Client
Don’t fucking mess with Texas. With Insect Warfare gone, Kill the Client reign supreme in the Lone Star State and remain grind’s best hope for repping their home after eight years of douchebaggery wrought by Turd Blossom and Dubya. And Cleptocracy, the meanest fucking album in Client’s short career to date, indiscriminately detonating IEDs that send flesh rending shrapnel spewing in all directions. From the Wage Slave EP through debut full length Escalation of Hostility, Kill the Client just get nastier and more refined, sloughing off anything that might restrain their cluster bomb assault. While other bands may feel the need to spelunk grind’s hidden crevices, Kill the Client are happy to keep the home fires smoldering, proving there’s plenty of life left in a straight forward assault delivered with anger and intensity.

3. Rotten Sound
These Finn’s latest postcard from the land of going postal boasts their finest production ever, a grisly affair that lets you feel every tooth of the hacksaw and its shreds nerve endings and soft tissue before crunching up against bone. Cycles, available in Europe for most of the year before getting a late season stateside, should come with splatter shields like a Gallagher concert – just as many hammer smashed projectiles but a lot fewer lame ass jokes.
Five full lengths into a career with a body count higher than that pussy Jigsaw, Rotten Sound are playing with the kind of loose ferocity that bespeaks a band that has invested the years and done the shitty shows and clockwork practices to fully release the psychotic scrawl that crawls their skulls. But if you happen to see one of them unpacking a cardboard box in the next cube, I’d ask for a transfer.

The Way of All Flesh
Black Box
It was either Billy Joel or Ted Kennedy who said only the good die young. Case in point, NYC’s grind behemoths ASRA (Alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse to their moms).
Sadly defunct after one short album and a handful of tracks on Scott Hull’s outstanding This Comp Kills Fascists collection, ASRA obliterated 2008 with the most impressive assault of classic grind unleashed on unsuspecting ears since Insect Warfare dropped their last release. Unfortunately, the combo went tits up just as they seemed to be on the crest of grindcore superstardom (if that’s not a complete misnomer). But the New Yorkers left an ugly purple contusion on music’s face in their abortive existence with their Assuck meets Napalm Death brand of fleet beat manifestos. If there were any justice in the cosmos, Elton John would drag his sagging bitch tits into the studio and rewrite “Candle in the Wind” (yet again) to commemorate ASRA’s passing.

1. GridLink
Amber Gray
I cannot overstate the trouser tentage I was sporting in anticipation of this too fucking short platter of brilliance, particularly after the previously dormant Jon Chang limbered up his vocal cords on the Speak Engrish or Die thrashtastic assault of Hayaino Daisuki.
Tearing through a whole crate of Hall’s throat lozenges, Chang reminded the grindcore world why Discordance Axis kicked so much otaku ass and why dude still reigns fucking supreme. And why I hope he never spares his kidneys by cutting down his caffeine intake.
Being an Asian film nerd, the only comparable bit of kinetic artistry I could find to compare to this fidgety batch of thumb-on-fastforward goodness was Takashi Miike’s redonkulously over the top 1999 yakuza v. triad v. cops flick Dead or Alive, particularly the opening 10 minute montage of violence, perversion and absurd drug use that will pretty much shame any 120 minutes of overblown Michael Bay CGI craptacularity or Quentin Tarantino plagiarism… *cough* I mean “homage.” (I actually tried to synch up Amber Gray and DOA’s opening thinking I could bill it as the grindcore version of Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz but it just didn’t work as well as I envisioned.)
Which is too bad because Miike, back in his mid-90s prime, would have been the perfectly skewed visionary to set “The Jenova” and “Stake Knife” (already permanently inscribed in my gray matter) to celluloid in the kind of East Coast meets Far East cultural cross pollination of which I’m sure Chang would approve.
This grindcore samurai guerilla ensemble is setting the current gold standard for grind and it’s going to be a hard one to topple any time soon.

Coming Thursday: Andrew gets his punk on, 2008 style.

Friday, December 26, 2008

G&P review: Capitalist Casualties/Hellnation

Capitalist Casualties/Hellnation
Sound Pollution/Six Weeks
Iraq war, environmental degradation, government corruption. Blah, blah blah. We’ve heard it all so many fucking times before. But if you’re like me, and Mithras help you if you are, what you’ve really been dying to know is where Capitalist Casualties stands on fatal jellyfish attacks off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. If so, “Irukandji, the best jellyfish-themed slice of pop culture since Kiyoshi Kurasawa’s Bright Future, should merit special attention, belying its placidly bobbing subject matter by cruising at great white speeds.
This is CapCas’ first new issue in nearly a decade and the power violence elder statesmen have lost nary a step from their fleet footed early days, turning in their best sounding effort ever on this split with Appalachian bangers Hellnation, who have also soldiered on in the finest fastcore style for the last 20 years despite changing tastes.
While both bands’ golden years date back to Bush Pere, the transition to the administration of Bush Fils has clearly posed no existential challenge for either outfit, ripping through Dubya’s legacy of bloodshed, dubious constitutional interpretations and religiosity in punk spats played at cocaine heartbeat speeds.
Both bands essentially – and ably – work the same style, no-time-for-subtlety shots of accelerated punk that repeatedly jab to the kidneys with no respite over 16 minutes and 21 songs. They’re like aging boxers who can still show the young guns how to wear an opponent down with a relentless flurry of jabs rather than trying to land one spectacular haymaker.
With all the retro love power violence seems to be getting this year, it’s awesome to see two of the style’s progenitors surf the crest of belated appreciation without any whiff of cash-in trend-hopping or cheap nostalgia.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Blast(beat) From the Past: Gigantic Brain

Gigantic Brain
Invasion Discography
Fuck this (amusing) exchange on Metal Archives; grind is metal and Gigantic Brain is grind as all fuck.
I have a real soft spot for drum machine grind bands and short of Enemy Soil and Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Gigantic Brain is the style’s leading practitioner (what’s in the water in Virginia?). While Nintendo-core is likely to evoke horrific images of Horse the Band, Gigantic Brain stripmines the classic console brilliantly, offering up grinding covers of Shinobi and Castlevania themesongs while seamlessly incorporating the same eight-bit spirit into original Mars Attacks-infused songs about anal probes and cattle mutilation. The Brain also leaped ahead of the digital music revolution, releasing an EP exclusively on the web before it was collected here.
With a new album, World, (tentatively) set for release this winter, there is no better time to exhume this underrated platter from the Brain. The songs may lack Nosebleed’s catchy, psychotic edge or Enemy Soil’s political bark and an hour of digital grind will try even my patience, but Gigantic Brain has its own infectious sense of fun, deftly weaving the throwback (NES and back 1950s flying saucer films) with cybernetic pillage and purge at land-speed record BPMs.
The perfect soundtrack to a round of Destroy All Humans.

Monday, December 22, 2008

G&P review: Black Ships

Black Ships
New Romance for Kids
The globe is infested with literally thousands of lesser punk and metal bands that would gladly walk the left hand path or swim against the everflowing stream for a snatch of the cyclopean citadel wall-thick guitar tone that bleeds out Omens’ opening song, “No Eulogy.”
Quebecois hardcore pirates Black Ships follow up their staggering Low EP, released earlier this year, with one of the finest hardcore records of the year, an amalgam of His Hero is Gone, a beefier Ghostlimb and every batch of basement kids who ever resolved to play short, fast and loud. Excise the melody from Ghostlimb or the Converge-isms from Trap Them and you have Black Ships, who work the same simple but convincing territory with an intelligence and sincerity that’s in far too short a supply in modern punk.
Antepenultimate song “The End,” a clear standout, rips through a decimated Grecian landscape like a scourge of slavering, yowling banshees, driving pestilence and disease before them like cattle.
The frontman’s frigid croak, which would find a welcoming home on many a norsk black metal record, drives icicles into what’s left of your psyche while the boys in the band scrape nightmares from the inside of your skull, leaving behind a 25 minute path of destruction to which Cthulhu, Pinhead or Nicke Anderson would proudly lay claim. It would be indecent and obscene for this to remain clandestine.

Friday, December 19, 2008

G&P review: Trap Them

Trap Them
Seizures in Barren Praise
Trap Them’s episodic songwriting is a little like leafing through the diary of some emotionally shattered zombie apocalypse survivor. Just sub in fear, anxiety, misanthropy and Oedipal outrage for a crushing mob of shambling, necrotic brain munchers.
Days 19 through 31 on Trap Them’s third release finds our survivor no better off than before, if not a little worse, as vocalist Ryan McKinney shouts into the void over the riotous amalgam of Tragedy, Entombed and Converge his co-conspirators bang out beneath him. Fair warning, I’m about to coin a really horrific genre name, but Trap Them, right now, are the leading lights of the recent 'Tombedcore movement, Frankensteining Wolverine Blues’ booty shaking death ‘n’ roll to crusty, furious d-beat.
Kurt Ballou channels prime Sunlight Studios circa 1991 in his production work, swiping the fabled studio’s trademarked pitch black guitar tone and turning it into a blunt object to batter the listener into emotional submission without ever sacrificing subtlety or clarity.
While Seizures in Barren Praise largely expands on the palette Trap Them nearly perfected on last year’s Séance Prime, the band does stretch their limbs, exploring new moods on “Mission Convincers,” which swipes Grief’s junkie stumble for a seven minute body blow session to the Torso.
While I hope McKinney’s day to day life isn’t the psychological Walking Dead episode it appears on record, I hope he never manages to outrun the stumbling horrors that propel some of the finest hardcore being made today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

G&P review: Aaritila

…Ennen Huomista, Tana Tuomiopaivana
Feral Ward
Pity the poor Finnish site moderator. Anglophones moderate obnoxious commenters through the art of disemvowelling, but that’s quite a task when your native tongue is largely consonant free.
The genius of disemvowelling is it allows a troll’s thoughts to still be parsed, albeit with effort. But say I were to disemvowel the title of Aaritila’s latest Finn-core assault, all you’d be left with is Nnn Hmst Tn Tmpvn by Rtl. Not really much to go by there.
Not that I’d want to disemvowel a d-beat outing this enjoyable. Featuring members of Totalitar and Riistetyt and with nary a band photo where somebody isn’t sporting a Discharge tee, that probably tells you all you need to know about Aaritila.
But in between all the d-beating off, Aaritila channel a swinging core of Stooges style rock and roll.
“Totalitaarinen Valvonta” may be an anthem to an uprising of the proletariat, but its solo could have been lifted from a dance friendly early Social Distortion LP while “Kuolleen Kukanmaa’s” low end will shake the foundations of oppressive capitalist oligarchies and and booties.
Aaritla no double hold sincere beliefs about the role of power structures in every day life, but clearly that doesn’t mean the music has to be dour. Not only will the revolution be televised, but it will have a beat and you’ll be able to dance to it. I give it an 85.

Monday, December 15, 2008

G&P review: Confusion

Roaring out of Medellin, Colombia, right about the time Pablo Escobar caught a bullet with his teeth, lo-fi/no-fi grindcore trio Confusion set down 60 second slabs of misery and poverty chronicling life in one of the most violent corners of the globe at the time.
Demos’lition, their discography-cum-demo round up, bulldozes through the songs chronologically, which may be daunting if you’re expecting niceties like clarity and the ability to recognize instruments. If you can soldier through the earliest material, which sounds like someone shouting from the next room over a wash of cymbals (if this were black metal it would be necro as all fuck and original copies would be selling for absurd prices on eBay), toward the better produced middle of Confusion’s compilation, you begin to hear what it was these Columbians were bringing to the table under all that recorded-on-a-boombox-with-low-batteries-in-a-garage murk.
“Ultra Violet Ray” is a Discordance Axis style take on the two second song that owes a debt to the many versions of “Dystopia” while “Dirty War” may be the only effective paring of grindcore and Gregorian chant in, like, ever.
While I dig the musical Napalm-isms, I’m kind of bummed by the rampant Napalm-isms on the lyrical front (and really, who pays attention to grind lyrics, so this is a small complaint). Coming from such a unique background compared to the largely American/European/Japanese axis of most grind, I was hoping Confusion would spit bile about issues more local. Instead, from what I can glean (lyrics not included), the band was a tad too comfortable to wear one more rut in the well trodden path of grind cliché (“Nazi Skin Shit,” “Ignorant and Proud,” etc.). But again, a small complaint.
If you prefer your noise on the less produced end of the scale, Confusion are an interesting tip toe through South America’s neglected grind offerings.

Friday, December 12, 2008

G&P review: F.A.M.

Scrotum Jus
Despite what I hear about Tina Fey’s dead on Sara Palin, I haven’t wasted 90 minutes of my life being bored by Saturday Night Live since Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey were both on staff (which, in itself, dates me in ways almost as frightening as the amount of hair I find in my comb every morning). All that pointless prologue is merely my way of excusing myself should anybody think I’m trying to make some trendy-four-years-ago observation when I say, was that just a fucking cowbell I heard in the middle of “Driller,” an otherwise respectable grindcore tune from Poland’s F.A.M.?
It takes a lot to distinguish yourself in a musical scene as whose frontiers are as deliberately limited as grindcore. In a vain bid to somehow distinguish their unique strain of punk-meets-metal-in-a-basement noise from everyone else with the same idea, some bands simply rename the style, as though we wouldn’t notice. Agathocles pass off their Napalmisms as mincecore; Japan’s leading grind export, 324, dub their music darkness grind; and Kataklysm remain the sole purveyors of northern hyperblast. Furor Arma Ministrat, as they call themselves, bill their particular brand of blastbeat racket as “Panzer Grind” (an odd notion given Poland's 20th Century history with panzers). But it’s just grind and it will take more than a new nomenclature to separate F.A.M.’s love of pig squeal vocals and beer hall drum beats from the crowded hordes. Compounding the problem, there are occasional flashes of crafty songwriting that leave me salivating like Pavlov’s proverbial pup. The skipping riff that propels the latter half of “Tapping Nerves” is more catching than ebola at a Jack in the Box drive through window. When they click, as with their savage cover of The Exploited’s “Beat the Bastards,” F.A.M. begin to live up to their panzer grind tag.
If F.A.M. could trim the lard and double down their effort to write decent songs (lose the cowbell), I could be all over this. For now, it’ll land in my occasional listen pile.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blast(beat) From the Past: Gore Beyond Necropsy

Gore Beyond Necropsy
Like John Waters (whose movies are repeatedly sampled) directing an Anal Cunt video in a sleazy Shinjuku train station bathroom, Gore Beyond Necropsy’s out of print Relapse effort is a total train wreck of perversion and malfeasance set to some of the shortest grind tunes this side of Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
Don’t be fooled by the medical oddities art work, these Nipponese bangers are not same lame ass gore/pr0n puked out by self-congratulatory morons around some of the worst music imaginable. Instead, GBN gleefully wallow in all things deliberately retarded, grotesque and scatological though 59 songs pumped out in less than half an hour with a concise, lo-fi attack. If you dig Japanese grind and wish CSSO were just a tad more straight forward, you either already scrupulously collect GBN albums or you have a major hole in your collection.
Given Relapse’s current status as one metal’s most aggressive major labels, it’s refreshing to remember Matt Jacobson et al used to be just one more upstart scrounging the globe for undiscovered gems. While this out of print effort may not quality as a bona fide lost classic, it’s a must for fans of Seth Putnam and J-grind. Hell, it’s one of the first CDs I stole … umm …. permanently borrowed when I was working radio in college.
If you don’t believe me, those mind-reading bastards at Cephalochromoscope beat me to the post (with downloadable goodness) on this one and pretty much said all you need to know. So head over there and give it a listen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Carcass Word of the Day Calendar: Dec. 8, 2008

I think it’s pretty much a truism that Carcass fans go in for gory entertainment, but who knew the Catholics had the same perverse inclination? And who knew they beat Eli Roth to it by about 300 years?
While the Holy See today is more likely to be known for
impeding medical progress, letting the little children cum unto them and deny its store of magic crackers to people who think what a stranger does with their blastocyst is none of the goddamned business.
But it turns out there was a time nearly three centuries earlier when Catholics – at lest one Irish priest – actually had a fairly morbid sense of humor. Carcass may have thought themselves witty for the baby-devouring shenanigans of
Symphonies of Sickness banger “Embryonic Necropsy and Devourment,” but Irish priest Jonathan Swift had already been there and done that in his scathing 1729 “A Modest Proposal,” which suggests the destitute Irish eat their kids to stave off hunger and reduce their financial burdens.
“A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.”
I’m already cruising

...Aborted gestation...foetal mutilation......
Abortive secretions...embryonic fermentation...
Your crotch spawning afterbirth
A congealing sprog basted in cess
Palpitations spew a foetus
Sprawling in this mess...
Flowing lochial discharge
Of copious womb lining torn
The mutilated still-born mangled
By the whiplashing umbilical cord...
Mixing together post-natal juices
The dead infant used as stock
Slurping this horrendous concoction
Eat the cervical slop...
Ladling out aborted debris
Oozing guts chomped in your maw
The caesating premature baby
Nurtured in post-partum gore...
Suck cess on a plate, lick its pus from a spoon
Gnaw at rashes on a dish, munch on the expelled womb...
Its testicles incised - the foetus liquidized
Whisk the parasite - the gross remains baptized...
Stagnant placenta and smelly fluids
The stiffening dead babe's crib
Disemboweling and gutting
Grating bone and rib
Fragile limbs pulverized
Dismemberment is so cruel
Soggy organs and parturient broth
Give piquance to this sickly gruel...
Mixing together post-natal juices
The dead infant used as stock
Slurping this horrendous concoction
Eat the cervical slop...
Ladling out aborted debris
Oozing guts chomped in your maw
This ceasating premature baby
Nurtured in post-partum gore...
Drink bile from a cup, gulp its phlegm from a pot
Eat mucus on a saucer, choke on the embryonic clots...

Sprog – n. a child or a new military recruit.
Lochial – adj. of or relating to the liquid discharge following birth.
Caesetating – I found a reference to this word here, but I can’t glean any definition from it. So have at it.
Parturient – adj. In labor.
Piquance – adj. a spicy flavor.

Friday, December 5, 2008

G&P review: End of All (How Swede It Is Part 6)

End of All
The Art of Decadence
Crimes Against Humanity
What better way to cap the end of all this sverige goodness the past two weeks than with End of All.
In a flash of (probably) unintended genius, End of All brilliantly summarized this whole Swedish d-beat shtick with the title of previous album Same Shit But Different.
Now, I loves me some Swedish punk as much as the next guy, but if you randomly grabbed a disc from my Scandinavian shelf of CDs and forced me to name the band at gunpoint, there’s about a 50/50 chance I’d end up with my gray matter decorating the wall. Not to be pejorative, but at its base, every band is just serving up the same shit but different and End of All, who turn out another enjoyable but workmanlike half hour of dun datting are no exception.
Astute heraldry geeks will likely guess these Swedish d-beaters’ lineage once they realize the griffons rampant gracing The Art of Decadence’s cover are the inverse of the wolves rampant Wolfpack employed for Allday Hell.
Featuring former members of the Wolfpack/Wolfbrigade collective, End of All play the same style but just lack that special something that help set them apart. The songs are solidly written and well played, the production is passable (though a tad flatter than Same Shit), which make End of All an enjoyable listen but nothing that deviates from the (wolf)pack of clamoring d-beat hordes.
The Art of Decadence lacks the oomph and searing, vaguely Gothenberg-ish guitar leads (think Live the Storm) that helped propel Same Shit and on the whole sounds more muted and uniform in both production and composition, making it an album that fades from memory moments after it ends. I’m hoping this is just a temporary setback for a band that has easily held its own against scene leaders like Skitsystem and Disfear in the past.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

G&P review: Avskum (How Swede It Is Part 5)

Uppror Underifran
Given the state of my retirement account these days, I think Swedish punkers Avskum just may be on to something about the evils of that kapitalismens and masskonsumtions stuff. (Yes, I know I just used that 401(k) joke already, so fucking sue me.
In the halcyon days of the Obama era (i.e. before he actually assumes real power and is forced to compromise and make the tough choices that will inevitably abrade some of his sheen), I find it highly doubtful an army of disaffected punks will rise up in revolution and fight it out in the streets a la the Battle in Seattle. In fact, in the age of flash mobs, hactivism, Republicans suddently seeing the light of socialism and the world’s recent, universal hope-gasm, the very idea seems sort of anachronistic and downright quaint. Not that I’m blaming Avskum. The d-beat wielding Swedes plopped this Molotov cocktail of a disc in our laps a couple months before America woke up from its eight year hangover and suddenly remembered all those values we're supposed to embody. Uppror Underifran is high quality d-beat from a collection of veterans sharing a single focus and playing with a comfortable groove.
“Kapitalismens Yttersta” starts throwing bottles and sticks and riot cops right out of the gate, setting a pounding tempo that the rest of the album follows like a sled as songs are shouted out during a street by street running battle with the law. All of the usual suspects take a few well deserved truncheon swings to the noggin: patriarchy, bankers, political weasels and nationalist blowhards. Nothing you haven’t heard already.
The fact that its so backwards looking, rather than being a defect, is actually a mark in Uppror Underifran’s favor. This is the comfort food of d-beat, something that brings joy because of its unabashed simplicity. Avskum tidily package the nostalgia of different age when the battle lines were clearly drawn and everyone could strap on a black bandana and chant slogans outside of a G-7 conference with the belief that the world's evil could be slain called to the carpet if the mass of humanity would simply rise up, conveniently forgetting simple majorities in this country, at least, had voted for Reagan, Nixon and Dubya with a smile on their face. But that's a problem for another day. For now just enjoy your recurring fantasies of toppling the capitalist power structure.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blast(beat) From the Past: Asterisk* (How Swede It Is Part 4)

Three One G
We hold these truths to be self evident: all men are created equal but Discordance Axis has none.
And while The Inalienable Dreamless is an unfuckwithable milestone for grind (see top right) and should be a cultural touchstone anthropologists will reference in a more enlightened age, surprisingly, Discordance Axis are not one of those bands that led to wholesale cloning (though that may finally be changing).
That has probably contributed to the band’s singular stature, and Umea’s Asterisk* were certainly one of the first to nick Chang-san’s signature sound. These three Swedes were one of the few bands to take Discordance Axis’ shtickfor a spin through a graduate philosophy course, giving it a thoroughly postmodern sheen.
Rather than manga and sci fi novels, Asterisk* roared their sleek, slithering grind straight through the world’s weightiest questions, addressing animal rights, Shakespeare, religion and philosophy with a thoughtfulness that belied the band’s brevity.
Dogma, the band’s discography, brings the kind of tunes that would have seared themselves into Johnny Mneumonic’s permanent recollection. Scope the way “An Angel Collapsing’s” insectile skitter hearkens back to Rob Marton’s “Ruin Trajectory” string scrapes. Asterisk* also show they have no fear of blithely traversing grind’s well posted boundaries to dabble in Euro techno dance music on the brief but accurately titled “The Anomly.”
While their DA debt is also self evident, Asterisk* were the plucky clone that could, taking Jersey’s finest export’s signature sound and bending it to their own profound purposes; not so much wholesale copyright infringement as sincere homage.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Warriors of Ice: Sayyadina Unthaw New Music (How Swede It Is Part 3)

Asking Swedish grind dervishes Sayyadina about the thermostat settings in the studio when they laid down tracks in August for an – as of now – stalled split with a – so far – unnamed American band, may sound retarded and random, but in my head the question makes sense.
The band’s last album, Mourning the Unknown, was that rarest of grindcore snipes: a disc that actually made me pore over the lyrics as I delved into the frigid meditations on depression and anxiety that layered its exquisite performance. Take a minute and go pull it out. Count how many references to cold, winter and ice you find. The sheer number even startled guitarist Jon Lindqvist, the band’s wordsmith.
“Preparing for this interview I read through the lyrics and I was a bit freaked out, but I think describing a depression is done very effectivly through those ‘cold’ words,” he told me via email. “If you got anything out of it that is nice. Dealing with depression and nightmares and violent fantasies and struggeling to get better and constantly falling back is hard work. Describing it as it happens is even harder.”
And with Mourning still in my regulator rotation, Lindqvist’s bandmates are eager for him to go spelunking the benighted crevices of his psyche yet again.
“Jon will continue to spit out new lyrics until his head is just a psychic vacuum,” drummer Ove Wiksten said.
But Odin only knows when we might hear the songs at this point. It’s a tale as old as time. Band meets label. Band agrees to work with label. Band loses label. Band tries to get label back.
While Sayyadina collectively declined to name names, the split they had hoped to put out soon seems to have fizzled and the fate of the songs remains a big question mark as of right now.
“It seems like that split isn't happening anymore, but hopefully we'll get to do something on or through their label anyway,” according to bassist Andreas Eriksson (who btw, big shout out, took the thankless job of corralling his bandmates for this interview, so big ups to that guy).
Hearing the songs are sitting in the vault is even more exquisite torture to hear Sayyadina gush about them.
“Great songs. Best songs we've written this year! What will happen? Who knows? Working with labels is a pain in the ass. Always,” Lindqvist said.
“The writing of the music for this recording combined with how we recorded it felt really good,” Eriksson added. “It was very intense and not so overworked as our stuff has been in the past. Or felt like when we recorded it anyway. The songs feels more alive somehow now for the first time in a very long time.”
While Lindqvist didn’t let me peak in his diary to suss out potential lyrical themes, but he did assure me Sayyadina are not about to become another generic political or gore band. As a consolation prize, he did offer some advice for those of us who will be diagramming Sayyadina’s sentences should the new songs see the light of day.
“I think Sayyadina’s lyrics have always been on a really deep personal level, and I think that is the only way I can write,” he said. “I don’t get the whole gore thing. The band is really happy if there are any lyrics to begin with. I'm not very interested in other peoples lyrics (especially) or ‘out-write’ brilliant Carcass lyrics, I'd rather read books. Talking about Mourning’s lyrics, though, it was really hard to get all of them together. They grew out of small sentences that I think said it all and then you have to write 15 more sentences saying the same thing or even try to develop or describe what I was trying to say. (And the key sentence is never the first five words.)”
If Lindqvist needs any lyrical assistance, I suggest he take a gander at page 66 of Webster’s New World Thesaurus (1990 edition – I know I need to upgrade) for all the permutations of cold. Meanwhile, I’ve dog eared page 26 looking for synonyms of awesome.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

G&P review: Afgrund (How Swede It Is Part 2)

Svarta Dagar
This Swedish-Finnish grind collective inhale/exhale the best of their Scandinavian predecessors on their debut full length, and Sayyadina and Gadget had better start looking over their shoulders.
My knowledge of Swedish comes primarily from what I gleaned from the Muppets, but Svarta Dagar means Black Days. For anything more than that, you’re going to have to consult your nearest phrase book or embassy, but from the sound of it, life has left these lads a mite bit perturbed.
Guitar scrapes, spots of feedback and the occasional sludge trudge mix up the blastbeatery of raging Swede-style goodness. Even guitarists Andreas Baier and Patrik Howe’s vocal tradeoffs remind me of early Nasum mic duels between Anders Jakobson and Mieszko Talarcyk.
Stretching their songs out to the two minute mark or longer, Afgrund give their music enough room to breathe and expand that actually allows for some movement and dynamic tension in the space of a grind tune. The guitars hint at ominous melodies, the bass rumbles with fuzzed out crunch and drummer Panu Posti knows when to reel in the blastbeats in service of the song as a whole.
Remixed by the ubiquitous Scott Hull, Svarta Dagar is still a tad too muffled, sapping that necessary punch out of their playing, but it’s good enough to highlight the band’s aggression and songwriting chops.
Adding the nine tracks from their split with Relevant Few for a total playing time of nearly 50 minutes, Svarta Dagar may be a smidgen overlong for one sitting, but that’s just bitching about too much of a good thing.
It would be premature to crown Afgrund the next Nasum, but they are not someone to be missed if you still mourn the Swedish titan’s loss. Given their pedigree and clear songwriting talent, I’m already hotly anticipating what they will offer next because, clearly, they are slaves to the grind. This is what it’s all about; this is why they play.

Monday, November 24, 2008

G&P review: Retaliation (How Swede It Is Part 1)

Exhuming the Past: 14 Years of Nothing
Anyone who is functionally literate and wastes about 5 minutes here will figure out that I *heart* Swedish grindcore and punk. Like listening to both discs of Nasum's Grind Finale back to back. Which was good training for Retaliation's 80 minute, 85 track (115 song) discography behemoth.
For much of their existence Retaliation has vacillated between the Carcass copping medical malpractices of Regurgitate (“Nailgun Rectal Entry,” the Acrid Genital Spew demo) and planting one Doc Marten in the festering polipunk demimonde that spawned Nasum (“Things Never Change,” “No Peace”). The combination over the years has produced a hybrid, deep seated misanthropy not unlike Rotten Sound and their ilk.
Unlike other tedious compilations, Retaliation don’t present their songs in a straight chronological/antichronological order, forcing you to either suffer through six EPs of horrible sounding demos up front or alternately despair as a decent sounding album spirals downward into murky unintelligibility. Rather, the songs jump around through their catalogue, while the inconsistent volume may make for a difficult headphones experience, the ordering manages to keep you interested by varying up the sound.
And Retaliation can uncork some doozies, especially when they dissect someone else’s tune. Smack in the middle of the album, like a stray dandelion growing out of a sidewalk crack, Retaliation bust out a savage cover of His Hero is Gone’s “Like Weeds,” sheering away the original’s haunting melody bits and turning it into a savage cudgel before practicing some amateur dentistry on your canines and incisors.
Retaliation struck back again this year with their latest album, The Cost of Redemption, but Selfmadegod’s infuriating international ordering system has so far stymied my efforts to land that disc [Warning from Superego: Don’t even think about making a Polish joke here]. But it’s not for lack of trying because Retaliation has earned a prized place on the Ikea shelf where I keep my Swedish goodies. It’s rare to find a band that will be able to unite the disparate branches of the grind family tree around a common love of blast beats and disdain for humanity.

Friday, November 21, 2008

G&P review: Misery Index

Misery Index
Not content with simply being the Greg Ginn for a new generation of punks, Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou is rapidly establishing himself as one of the premier metal producers in North America. This year, alone, he has helmed both Disfear and now Misery Index to the career highs, at least on a production front.
Forgive me, but I just can't get into Misery Index. For some reason, Baltimore's finest just never seem to itch my blastbeat scratch.
While every instrument mercilessly rips through the perfectly balanced fader work on Traitors, it is just another Misery Index album loaded with straight ahead death/grind rampage and frothing political diatribes. If you loved Retaliate or Discordia, Traitors will have you sporting metal wood. Band mastermind Jason Netherton remains one of the brightest and most articulate lyricists working in metal today, tarting up tried and true cock-slaps at politicians, churches and corporate corruption with fresh imagery and honest rage.
But inevitably my attention fades about halfway through any Misery Index album.
Ferocious instrumental “We Never Come in Peace” kicks the album off with a bang, midtempo chug giving away to drummer Adam Jarvis’ exceptional footwork (which should have dedicated MI fans asking ‘Kevin Talley, who?’). My blood keeps racing through first true song “Theocracy” and my fist throws up horns of its own volition until sometime after the mid-album Bolt Thrower style panzer assault of “Ghosts of Catalonia.” After that, I start to lose interest and all the songs begin to blur into an indecipherable blastbeaten mush.
If you love Misery Index, you probably already have this. But, for me, I’m at a loss to explain the critical praise and major label money being heaped on a pretty run of the mill death/grind outfit, albeit one with top shelf production.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

G&P review: After the Bombs

After the Bombs
Relentless Onslaught
Please step away from the reverb, ma’am, and no one gets hurt.
True to Canuck collective After the Bomb’s throwback ’80s crossover style, front woman Janick’s vocals are drenched in enough watery reverb to overflow a host of early Voivod and Kreator albums.
And it’s not just the shouting from the bottom of the swimming pool vocal style that seems to be stuck in suddenly (inexplicably) resurgent Reagan years. Mixing slow motion Amebix trudge with underproduced early ’80s thrash, After the Bombs hearken back to metal’s first, earliest, awkward dates with that funny looking girl known as punk.
Penning longer ditties than your average two minute hardcore tune, After the Bombs give their songs the space to expand and meander, allowing the band to fully explore their riffs rather than breathlessly stampeding to the end of the song.
“Black Wind of Fear” is pure Def American-era Slayer midtempo chug, “Condemned” is a Reign in Blood thrash rush and “To the Void and Back” has the slow building creepy crawly atmosphere you expect from Seasons in the Abyss’ title cut. You get the idea.
This album combines not only the five tracks from Relentless Onslaught but also the four songs from Terminal Filth Stench Bastard EP (a truly inspired title, btw), which boasts slightly more robust production that gives the songs more verve, particularly the more pronounced bass attack.
The title Relentless Onslaught may not entirely pass the truth in advertising test because the production lacks the clarity or punch necessary to qualify as either relentless or an onslaught, but if you’re hunting for a shot of early ’80s crossover hardcore, After the Bombs will satisfy provided you keep your expectations moderate.

Monday, November 17, 2008

G&P Review: Brutal Truth (The Class of Oct. 28)

Brutal Truth
For Drug Crazed Grindfreaks Only!
Am I the only one who remembers when Relapse was a killer label that actively sought out new artists rather than just convulsively hoovering up out of print goodies that other people had released years before?
With Brutal Truth back in the studio laying down tracks for their first album in 11 years, Relapse snapped up and re-released this Solardisk EP from 2000, recorded in New Zealand on tour for their finest album, Sounds From the Animal Kingdom. For those of us who missed the classic lineup live: It’s just a band busting out tunes live in a studio. It’s refreshing to hear instant classics “K.A.P.” and “Jemenez Cricket” liberated from Billy Anderson’s uncharacteristically rickety production to become the rabid, snarling man-beasts they were meant to be.
New York’s stoniest leave no release unpillaged during their 20 minute assault, tearing through raw versions of “Walking Corpse” (complete with hilarious spoken word intro in lieu of the classic sample), “Choice of a New Generation” and “Let’s Go to War.” And true to their weirdo credo, BT also throw in an untitled track of low key electronic meandering that is worth a listen but definitely won’t be a selling point for anyone into the band’s high speed assault.
Despite the title, you don’t have to be drug crazed to enjoy a nice contact buzz from this short album, but it’s definitely one for the grind freaks who may have missed them in their prime.

Friday, November 14, 2008

G&P Review: Total Fucking Destruction (The Class of Oct. 28)

Total Fucking Destruction
Peace, Love and Total Fucking Destruction

“You suspect me of trickery?” Hagberd asked raising his eyebrows.
“Trickery is your métier,” Joe said bluntly. “You are the Beethoven, the Rockefeller, the Michaelangelo of deception. The Shakespeare of the gypsy switch, the two headed nickel, and the rabbit in the hat. What little liver pills are to Carter, lies are to you. You dwell in a world of trapdoors, sliding panels, and Hindu rope tricks. Do I suspect you? Since I met you, I suspect everybody.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” Hagberd grinned. “You are well on your way to paranoia. Take this card and keep it in your wallet. When you begin to understand it, you’ll be ready for your next promotion. Just remember: It’s not true unless it makes you laugh. That is the one and sole and infallible test of all ideas that will ever be presented to you.” And he handed Joe a card saying

The Illuminatus! Trilogy, page 250
Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

I don’t know if Rich Hoak has read up on Wilson (I suspect he has). But if he hasn’t, there’s no need because the drummer and his band of merry pranksters are living the counter culture icon’s admonition to engage in bizarre sex rituals while indiscriminately devouring whatever chemical substances are readily at hand and prying those chakras wide open on Peace, Love and Total Fucking Destruction.
Album closer “Last Night I Dreamt We Destroyed the World” is a Lynchian, delightfully meandering spoken word romp through Hoak’s damp, dank id that evokes Rudimentary Peni circa Cacophony before giving way to Minutemen-style woodwind fetishism. Though TFD have jettisoned the acoustic grind that closed out last year’s equally awesome Zen and the Art of Total Fucking Destruction, the nine minute closer shows that the creative well has not yet run dry for the Philly fanatics.
Even at its most relatively tame (and I do mean relatively), Peace is larded with the kind of infectious songwriting sorely lacking in a lot of other blastfests. “Non-Existence of the Self” (this album’s answer to Zen’s awesome “Corpse Position”) pries open your third eye with a corkscrew riff that slithers like the serpent kundalini.
In case you’re totally friggen obtuse, TFD remind you they’re seriously funny guys on the immaculately titled “Seth Putnam is Wrong About a Lot of Things, But Seth Putnam Is Right About You,” a battering ram drum assault paired with a sinuous bass that belies the intentionally stupid title.
Add in updated versions (Hoak has said he intends the remakes to be mantra-style repititions) of “Boxcutter,” “Nihilism, Emptiness, Nothingness and Nonsense” and “Bio-Satanic Terroristic Attack” and you’ve got 20 minutes of holy fool insanity.
Stock up your armory and light up your bong because Hoak’s apocalyptic circus is back in town.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

G&P Review: Kill the Client (The Class of Oct. 28)

Kill the Client
Anybody with the privilege of being Kill the Client mouthpiece Morgan’s MySpace friend will tell you that he’s a prodigious sender of bulletins and he took it particularly hard when (small L) libertarian upstart Ron Paul failed to conquer the Republican primary, ignite a guns and torches in the streets uprising or generally alter American existence in any kind of meaningful or noticeable way.
With Paul’s blimp in drydock and the rEVOLution currently on hold, Morgan and his co-conspirators channeled their election year frustration into a second vicious full length chapter in their elite grind journal. If you’re looking for the down tempo respites that broke up Escalation of Hostility, Cleptocracy will bodycheck you like Scott Stevens catching a forward crossing center ice with his head down. Produced by bassist James Delgado, Cleptocracy is a circular saw assault on the senses that offers little quarter from the relentless blastbeat mugging and even relatively tame tunes “Downfall” and “Evidence of Injustice” stomp along at mosh pit speeds.
The explosive “Christian Pipebomb” is practically onomatopoetic, a concussive detonation that sends out indiscriminate waves of shrapnel rending flesh and bone. “False Flag Attack,” debuted on the This Comp Kills Fascists disc, posits 9/11 was an inside government job to accrue more power to the Bush administration (which is not really surprising, Morgan straight faced dropped references to Illuminati conspiracies to rule with world in conversations with me) while “The Lies” condenses Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great into a minute long high speed diatribe.
In-demand drummer Bryan Fajardo must be making his bid to be the next Dave Witte cuz in addition to back stopping Kill the Client, the guy has also anchored GridLink this year and just joined Phobia fulltime as well. It only takes a few measures into lead off song “Divide and Conquer” to see that Fajardo is worth whatever these bands are paying him.
With that kind of anchor propelling their ferocious second album, Kill the Client are staking their claim as one of grind’s leading voices, and I, for one, am not going to dispute that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

G&P Review: Maruta (The Class of Oct. 28)

In Narcosis
Dr. Josef “Angel of Death” Mengele carved himself into the modern psyche with a few flicks of his cruel scalpel, but his Japanese counterpart, Dr. Shiro Ishii, conveniently seems to have avoided the same well deserved notoriety. As commander of the infamous Unit 731 in Manchuria, Ichii and his staff performed all manner of vile experimentation on Chinese peasants and Soviet P.O.W.’s – dehumanized as maruta (“logs of wood”) – by their sadistic captors in their quest to perfect chemical and bacteriological weaponry.
In the interest of journalistic thoroughness, this weekend I subjected myself to back to back viewings of notorious 1988 Chinese exploitation film Men Behind the Sun and Andrey Iskanov’s often tedious four and a half hour shockumentary Philosophy of a Knife, two of the few representations of Unit 731’s savagery in popular culture. While neither strive toward academic levels of historicity, they bear graphic witness to World War II’s second Holocaust.
More than just another monicker to shock and evince some notion of extremity, Maruta’s potent admixture of offhand brutality and clearly thought out attack sonically channels the charnel atmosphere of one of the worst – and least discussed – atrocities of the 20th Century, painting a portrait of pain and casual sadism with a palette of curdled blood, purpled contusions and gangrenous yellow.
But it’s not all blunt force trauma experiments. Maruta also know how to wield a scalpel.
After being clubbed over the head with a blunt instrument for three straight songs, “Demise of the Humanist” sees these grindcore Neanderthals whip out slide rules and begin lecturing on the finer points of trigonometry in a song laced with enough pinch harmonics and technical snazzy to light up fans of Lethargy and Creation is Crucifixion. It’s those kinds of moments when tempos slow to let double bass work over take the incessant blast beatdowns and guitarist Eduardo Borja carves out enough space to prove he’s more than just an adrenaline junky punk banger that Maruta truly come into their own as a grind force to be faced and feared. “Rise of the Iron Moth” sounds more like a swarm of Africanized titanium bees on a kamikaze run with your face.
Add in production values thick as a week old puddle of bodily fluids on a surgery floor, and Willowtip have a sure fire winner on their hands. And this is just Maruta’s debut.

Friday, November 7, 2008

G&P Review: Phobia (The Class of Oct. 28)

Oct. 28, 2008, was a fucking awesome day for grind with five high profile releases all dropping on the same Tuesday. So for the next few days I'm going to plow through the single best album dump of the year.

22 Random Acts of Violence
Phobia and Scott Hull should have been like grindcore peanut butter and chocolate on 2006’s Cruel: two great tastes that taste great together. Instead of the grindcore fusion of permanent spinal injury inducing headbanging proportions, the two seemed to be working at cross purposes to each others’ strengths turning in a faceless, unremarkable half hour of music.
While Hull still gets a mixing and mastering nod, it’s former Phobic John Haddad (drummer on Means of Existence) who helms the board for the band this outing and while he scuffs up the production some, taking the gloss off the band, but it’s still just not quite enough for a sentimental old fuck like me (new bassist Leon del Muerte’s near-inaudible performance just may be in the running for the 2008 Jason Newsted Memorial Trophy for Irrelevance).
Don’t get me wrong, aside from the horrifically lame title (Pig Destroyer and His Hero is Gone have already done the number-of-songs-on-an-album-as-list-of-criminal-charges crap and it was stupid then, too), 22 Random Acts of Violence is a head-snapping affair from a veteran organization that knows its way around crafting a catchy blastbeat laden tune, such as Bolt Thrower-style opening chugger “Bring the War.” “Rise Up’s” gang chorus and dervish solo are punky goodness straight from the Disfear playbook and Office Space-sampling “Depression is a Killer” shows the band widening its sonic palette to include hints of churning melody that rush to a close before straying too far into retread Gothenbergisms.
I don’t begrudge them the backing of a solid label (poor bastards watched both Slap-a-Ham and Deathvomit go the way of the dodo, taking half their back catalogue with them) and the financial stability that comes with it, but for someone who grew up listening to Return to Desolation, this glossier, well heeled Phobia just doesn’t pack the same urgency and street level honesty that past albums have brought.
For all their lineup turmoil, the California collective, anchored by Steve Burda and Shane McLachlan, have never received the A-list kudos they deserve as America’s consistently finest grindcore practitioners for the better part of 15 years, but I’d rather see them get praised on their own merits than win acclaim while slowly evolving into just another grind band.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Carcass Word of the Day Calendar: Nov. 5, 2008

While we make much of Carcass’s innovative take on gore and grind and the band’s lingering reputation for over the top gross out humor, far too often we ignore the potential educational value lurking in songs like “Splattered Cavities.” Now you could lead your middle school anatomy class through yet one more repetition of “Dem Bones,” or some daring teacher could grow a pair and get creative and hum a few bars of this Reek of Putrefaction retch fest to acquaint eager young minds with the wonders hidden in their own viscera. Educators, if you truly think the children are our future, you owe it to them.

Erupted thoracic savies - serum, pus and offal
Perspiring ulcerous chancre - splattered on your wall
Necro-cellular lesions - the stench of staining scabsS
craped up by medics, and wrapped in plastic bags
Exploding pus and bile, abdominal saliva sprays
Coughing out your intestines, and rubbing them in your face
Carbuncles oozing sanguous, mortified entrails and rot
Pieced together for autopsy, in your wooden box
Frantic pelvic gut-wrench
Splattered guts and gore
Seeping disembowelment
Mopped up off the floor
Pelvic insides now rest in your perineum
Splattered gore seeping from your orifices like hot sebum
Pancreatic juices
Internal digestive mess
Acidic dripping spittle
And squelching moist flesh
Pulverized thoracic cavity
Your rib-cage is snapped
Rupturing internal organs
Crushed in your diaphragm
Your lungs are collapsed
As your abdominal cavity is splattered
Terminal back-ache paralysing
As your spine is shattered

Thoracic – adj. pertaining to the chest cavity.
Savies – once again Carcass has stumped me. Medical community, feel free to jump in on this one.
Chancre – n. a syphilis lesion.
Carbuncle – n. a painful subcutaneous inflammation.
Sangous – not actually a word, but sang is the Latin root for blood so I’ll assume that’s where they were heading with that one.
Perineum – n. the area in front of the anus. You affectionately know it as the taint.
Sebum – n. the fatty secretion of the sebaceous glands.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Blast(beat) From the Past: Torture Incident

Hearing Agathocles bassist Tony killed himself and picking up the band’s split with Torture Incident only to find that band has called it quits has made me a tad nostalgic. So I thought periodically I’d pull out a few older albums that I think deserve more attention than they have received. None of them will be groundbreaking (for that see the list top right), granted, but they’ll all be discs I’ve enjoyed that maybe haven’t gotten the right recognition. Also, I might be able to reign in what I spend on new albums before my newly wedded wife realizes just how expensive this hobby is and de-nuts me in my sleep one night.

Torture Incident
The Deadly Efficiency of Napalm
Dark Coliseum Records
Christopher HItchens (when he’s sober) can be one of the most erudite of political commentators, turning an elegant phrase with a Ben Johnson flair and excoriating his enemies with a savage glee. The Brit-naturalized-as-an-American can also be one of the single most frustratingly right wing ideologues in matters of the Middle East. His bloviating in favor of our current Iraqi catastrophuck is maddening, so it was a flash of refreshing intellectual honesty a few months ago, after years of standing up for Bush’s Constitutional over-reaching, particularly on torture, when Hitch strapped himself to a waterboard and spluttered through a session, himself. And guess, what? Turns out it’s torture.
But the guy could have spared both logic and several hundred “enemy combatant” detainees the torture and slapped on the sole solo album from Malaysia’s finest grind export, Torture Incident, seven years ago. Fast forward to track 15, “America’s Hyprocracy on Human Right” [sic], which opens to the sampled sounds of some poor bastard being drowned.
Torture Incident makes no bones about their influences on The Deadly Efficiency of Napalm from the almost namecheck in the album title, Napalm Death-style logo though the From Enslavement to Obliteration style grind contained therein.
Though it’s billed as a full length, Torture Incident gnaw through 19 tracks in about the same time it will take you to watch a Metalocalypse episode, commercials included. The songs themselves rip by in whirlwinds, like tornadoes thrashing around jagged pieces of tetanus-laden metal shards, carried by gusts of sub-Scum production and a fuck all attitude.
Despite forming in 1995, Torture Incident, like their short as fuck songs, just never seemed long for this world. In their wake, they leave a handful of splits, most notably with Agathocles and Embalming Theatre, and The Deadly Efficiency of Napalm, a stinging microgrind guerilla shout out from South East Asia that adapts what Birmingham birthed, aiming it at a corrupt political establishment in a corner of the world where economic, religious and political autonomy are genuinely in jeopardy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

G&P review: Cerebral Turbulency

Cerebral Turbulency
Segregace K Nule
If the tumbling dominoes on the cover don’t properly evoke a sense of finality, Cerebral Turbulency slapped a tombstone on the inside artwork of what will be their final album to help get the point across.
After six albums and a decade and a half, these hip Czech mates (for all you hockey and chess fans) have imploded amid their trademark mass of blorps, bloops, bleeps and other electronic detritus. For years they have effortlessly navigated the kind of eclectic electronic digressions that sound so forced and fake in Antigama, which makes it all that much more of a fucking shame they’re calling it a career.
Though that trademark open-mindedness is still C.T.’s M.O., the band has streamlined its assault a tad, going out with a grin and a grind. While prior disc, Crash Test, sounded like industrial Norwegian misanthropes Red Harvest gone grind, Segregace largely lays aside their martial, industrial overtones for a far more *gasp* fun vibe. Daring to crack a smile amid the sea of oh-so-serious metalheads in their blackest of black shirts may be Cerebral Turbulency’s finest trick to date.
“!Dobry? Den!” charges out of the gate sounding like Dino minus a few mandatory distemper shots while “Love Zonk” sizzles and skitters like a pat of butter on a hot griddle.
While a lot of bands, I’m thinking Agoraphobic Nosebleed particularly, have successfully used electronic flourishes as window dressing over a foundation of traditional grind, few have so successfully incorporated stuttering samples and fried FX boxes into the fundamentals of their songwriting quite as insouciantly as these Czechs, and we’re all the poorer for their loss.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

G&P review: Rotten Sound

Rotten Sound
Europeans have been bogarting this beast of a release for most of the year, and I wish somebody would have tipped me off sooner because this indiscriminate murder machine is damn well worth shelling out extra for the import. Finally Spinefarm has seen fit to make this available at a reasonable price to cash strapped North Americans ride out the economic downturn.
Good thing, too, because, simply put, this is Rotten Sound at an unrivaled career peak both sonically and in terms of songwriting.
Shedding the focused restraint that I have generally associated with European grind, particularly from Scandinavia, the Finns’ fifth full length album draws from the barely constrained malevolence of North Americans, say Pig Destroyer, to rip and gut anyone who drunkenly stumbles into their path. This is the wide-eyed, slobbering ferocity Rotten Sound has often hinted at but never quite mastered. It’s the sound of veterans who are completely in control of their music and playing with the kind of unity you only see in Stanley Cup champions.
Though a blistering half an hour hit and run spree, Rotten Sound effortless channel the American Psycho-style office shotgun rampage that bands like Leng T’che have hinted at artistically but never quite reproduced sonically.
Mika Aalto’s guitar work – even at blastbeat tempos – is burly enough to anchor the rumbliest NOLA sludge band, fitting given the swamp crawl that kicks off album opener “The Effects” and provides a brief bit of respite between verses of “Colonies.”
Rotten Sound even bring the guitar shred courtesy of guest six stringer Juhu Yii-Koski who highlights a trio of tunes with the nimble fret dancing of “Blind” being a clear standout.
After an effort his masterful, Rotten Sound may need to consider a name change because this is grindcore euphony.

Shane Embury Breaks Napalm Deathlike Silence to Fangoria

First, you have absolutely no clue how long I've waited for the right opportunity to break out ^that^ atrocious pun. Second, gorehound bible Fangoria gets ultimate grind scenester Embo to open up about the new N.D. album Time Waits for No Slave (recording done!), the latest with Brujeria and his upcoming metal project, Absolute Power, featuring Tim Owens, Yngwie Malmsteen and members of Paradise Lost. Complete with audio goodness. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

G&P review: Agathocles/Torture Incident

Agathocles/Torture Incident
Blastworks Records
A-ha! So this is where the empty Folgers can Lars Ulrich abused in lieu of a snare drum on St. Anger ended up. What sounds like absolute shit on an album that sucked millions of dollars out of the national GDP is perfectly at home anchoring the wonderfully awful production values of this grind twosome’s split.
I decide to snag this album, released way back in January, after learning Agathocles bass player Tony killed himself only to be further depressed to learn the underrated Torture Incident has likely called it a day as well (their MySpace page lists them as R.I.P. and they didn’t respond to my messages looking to confirm that). So there’s a real pall hanging over this meeting of Belgium’s leading blast squad and Malaysia’s fiercest grind dissidents that has nothing to do with the music contained herein.
If you love Agathocles, here’s more of the same. The Belgians have been banging out a delightful racket of straight ahead, crusty as fuck grind for the better part of a quarter century and band fixture Jan Frederickx is not about to tinker with his blue ribbon recipe. Drums blast, guitars scrape incoherently through the demo-quality mix and the modern world’s ills get a stern talking to, Cookie Monster style.
Aside from the slightly better production values (and slight being a relative measure, here), you’d be forgiven if you failed to catch the transition from Agathocles’ 14 lead off tunes to Torture Incident’s closing 12 tracks, which were actually recorded in 2006.
Sounding like Agathocles, Assuck, Anal Cunt and a whole slew of other prime grind bands that don’t start with the letter A, Dick Cheney’s house musicians unleash more of the ripping old school blast beat barrage that characterized their too brief existence, railing against the political and religious oppression of Malaysia, where Islamic rule is the law of the land.
While the songs’ production sounds a tad bit worse than their mini-album The Deadly Efficiency of Napalm, the songwriting and performance are just as tight, hitting and running in under 90 seconds and never overstaying its welcome.
It’s grind at its basic with no surprises lurking, but if you thought Phobia went off the rails with Cruel’s cleaner production, if you have a lo-fi jones that must be fed or if you just want to memorialize a band and a bass player that stayed true to grindcore’s original promise and premise through two decades of upheaval and stylistic changes, then Agathocles and Torture Incident will not disappoint.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

G&P review: Voetsek

Infernal Command
Vampire zombie thrasher punks art and power fucking violence cover of “Strange Fruit?” Oh hell yeah.
This co-ed kill squad’s second full length (after a host of splits and EPs) slots nicely next to Crom and Battletorn as a reinvigorated crossover band that takes ridiculous music seriously. Hell, buy it for the song titles alone. “W.W.L.D. (What Would Lemmy Do?),” “Blueprint for the Perfect Circle Pit,” “Self Righteous Fuckdom” and “Plagued by the Winds of Conformity” – I dare you not to grin.
More than penning a good line, frontwoman Ami Lawless and her four accessories before the fact breathlessly rip through 17 songs of DRI meets early Metallica at a Capitalist Casualties basement show despite her acquired taste vocals. She tends to remind me of my toddler nephew at his nap time whiniest.
And just in case you needed one more reminder of how much San Francisco’s richest blow since they sobered up and spent time getting in touch with their feelings, album standout “Bully With a Badge” snaps along like “Whiplash” before giving away to an Arabesque bit of Mastodon twin guitar goodness. Even “Five Years in Iraq” lampoons “Master of Puppets” with a slow mo vocal fade out. Unfortunately, when Lawless gets all political, such as the aforementioned “Iraq,” the album gets dragged into the mire of tired cliché that saps the whole outing.
Musically, Voetsek (which is Afrikaans for “get lost” btw) just kill it. Guitarists Ben Reduction and the awesomely monickered Jef Leppard snake between each other’s riffs and runs over Athena Dread’s foot-on-the-monitor bass gallops and Scotty Karate’s (another fucking awesome name) propulsive drumming. But, sweet Thor, those vocals -- that way lies madness.
There are a lot of new jacks out there aping the thrash greats of the ’80s but Voetsek are like the Encino Man of thrash (minus the gratuitous Pauly Shore but just as intentionally retarded), only now getting thawed out after a 20 year deep freeze, cinching up their bullet belts and taking thrash and fastcore to the sweaty, crowded basement where they belong.