Wednesday, June 25, 2008

G&P review: Agenda of Swine

Agenda of Swine
Waves of Human Suffering
Fuck Nancy Pelosi and all of those touchy-feely squishy liberals in Congress these days. Bay area bruisers Agenda of Swine hearken back to the days of blue collar, brass knuckled union Democrats who believed in economic justice for all and weren’t afraid to employ tactics a mite more forceful than an angry speech on the House floor.
Benumb alums Pete Pontikoff and John Gotelli are back and thrashing like a maniac with their latest project.
These sheet welding union agitators fuse hardcore bark and urgency with Slayer and Sepultura-style thrash reinvigorating the best of both scenes.
Gotelli also anchored grind crew Vulgar Pigeons with Pontikoff’s brother, Paul, but here he puts his best feet forward, showcasing some of the sweetest double bass work outside of 1987 and providing a solid foundation for guitarists Jason Behan and Jeff Lenormand’s King/Hanneman-inflected trade off riffs and solos. Pay particular attention to mid-tempo crusher “Eradication of the Seeds of Purity’s” slide into the feral “End of All Ends” at the album’s midpoint both chronologically and emotionally.
You can practically feel the spittle flying off of Pontikoff’s lips as he bulldogs his way through the album’s 12 tracks, bellowing his hardcore bark as he raves against the World Bank, free trade and anything else that diminishes the earning power of the American worker. It's that singular focus on the intersection of politics and the average American's wallet that separated Benumb from the nameless packs of Napalm Death soundalikes and that unique visions carries over with Agenda of Swine.
Rather than the unintelligible yelp of Benumb’s first few recordings or the monotonous growl of final full length By Means of Upheaval, Pontikoff has finally found the balance between power and clarity, roaring with an intelligible force and pushing himself dynamically to truly make the vocals an asset to the songs.
This isn’t just a metal tour de force culling the best aspects of grind, thrash and hardcore; this is throwback union agitprop. Somewhere Dustbowl troubadour Woody Guthrie is smiling.

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