Friday, November 27, 2009

Going Dutch: Dr. Doom

Dr. Doom

Dr. Doom

Scrotum Jus



And the word hangs dully in the air of the cell. It is a moment before Fury realises that he is being told a name. And even as he does … it is already too late.

Neil Gaiman

Marvel 1602


I’m more of a Vertigo guy anyway, but I’ve always been a little vague on where Marvel’s fictional despotic principality of Latveria is actually supposed to be, but I really doubt the Dutch national character was the inspiration for one of comics’ most iconic villains. Those people are just too chill to get all wrapped up in the whole global domination trip.

Unlike the devious genius of the comic pages, this Dr. Doom, who previously shared a split with Collision, crushes with a death metal ponderousness and scattershot grindcore acceleration. This is Clandestine-era Entombed tunes pared down and given a hardcore work ethic for grind attention spans. Blue collar firebrand “Working Class Crusade” might be the only marriage of Bruce Springsteen’s earthy idealism and Repulsion’s danse macabre in the metal lexicon. The breakdown-laden “My Life as a Teenage Materialist” is a sly piss take on religion wrapped in inchoate, near-suicidal adolescent rebellion.” Keys to My Heart” rides the kind of hardcore knuckleduster like Trap Them or Black Ships routinely crank out.

Simple tunes cross-pollinated by hardcore and grind, Dr. Doom are not the flashiest of bands, but they’re solid and enjoyable and worth the occasional listen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Going Dutch: D-Compose

Ancestral Inhuman Thoughtless
Extreme Terror
Ancestral Inhuman Thoughtless is a slow burn of an album. D-Compose don’t really hit their stride until the latter half of this EP, which rocks the same pestilential low end that festers under Maruta. “Redemption” and “Kill Yourself Now” work the same blood splattered back alleys prowled by Crowpath with sludgey undertow riffs that suck you into a soup of filth and disease. “Redemption,” in particular, ends with the sound of a torture session that makes you question just how D-Compose expect you to be redeemed.
Unlike many of their hit it and quit it countrymen, these Holland-based multinational collective bring longer songs with an American hardcore vibe akin to Phobia’s Return to Desolation. While not as strong as that stone classic, D-Compose are not afraid to stretch grind’s attention-starved strictures in favor of lengthier tunes and quirky treatments like the almost industrial electro-beast stalking of “Maltreat Yourself” or Voivodian astral projection of “Insanity of Mankind,” which buzzes like nest of hornets with PMS. As a bonus, D-Compose throws in an almost unrecognizable deconstruction of the Ramones’ “I Am Not Jesus” that’s reassembled as a rolling death metal monstrosity that blends perfectly with D-Compose’s own corpus.
Ancestral Inhuman Thoughtless is by no means a perfect album. It’s plagued by a rather over-loud snare that goes at your temples like Woody Woodpecker on bathtub meth, for one thing, but even when they explode in their face, D-Compose’s experiments are consistently intriguing.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Going Dutch: F.U.B.A.R.


Justification of Criminal Behaviour

Bones Brigade


F.U.B.A.R. sound like pissed off (pissed on?) hornets clanging about in a soup pot while Scott Carlson rehearses in the garage next door. More brutal and direct than their countrymen, F.U.B.A.R. blast like a grindcore Man is the Bastard on 2005 album Justification of Criminal Behaviour. Prominent power violence influences and subterranean bass tones are the bulwark to F.U.B.A.R.’s sound on songs like “Behavior” and “Disappear.”

For all their Neanderthal proclivities, these Lascaux cavemen are also capable of staggering moments of beauty and clarity. The triumphant punk contours of “Buy This” mold themselves to a chassis of Converge-style stretch, particularly the You Fail Me-era Jacob Bannon yowling. Not every experiment is as successful thought. “Fucked Up Beyond 7C” is the kind of electronic pounding synth drone beat doom J. Randall stuffs around ANb songs. Seemingly reinterpreting a line from “Hate Filled Screens,” it pretty much brings what you’d expected for some studio frippery tacked on to the end of an album (read: nothing).

Easily ignored misstep aside, the bulk of Justification of Criminal Behaviour pitches to F.U.B.A.R.’s punk wheelhouse. A standout tune like “The National Fear Campaign 2004” hits all the classic punk and grind notes, ticking off the boxes next to driving, ragged guitars, howled vocal phrasings and slamming drum breaks. They’ve shared vinyl with Catheter (and are just as split-happy), which is actually a fairly good comparison point – a more power violence-fueled Preamble to Oblivion. Cliched but true: brutal.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Going Dutch: Collision


Bones Brigade

Unable to discriminate clearly between words and things, the savage commonly fancies that the link between a name and the person or thing denominated by it is not a mere arbitrary and ideal association, but a real and substantial bond which unites the two in such a way that magic may be wrought on a man just as easily through his name as through his hair, his nails, or any other material part of himself and takes care of it accordingly.

Sir James George Frazer
The Golden Bough

Names have power, according to our primitive ancestors. If true, I’ve always thought the single most powerful name in all of hardcore or grind had to go to Boston’s Siege. It’s just an explosive monosyllabic burst that perfectly summarizes the mindset and power of the band. Just saying it invokes an impressive feat of linguistic legerdemain, with the seething sibilant of the S and the full stop affricative G. You’re practically forced to grit your teeth in rage as you say it.
With Siege as the Platonic ideal, I’d have to say Holland’s Collision come pretty damn close to achieving that same transcendence through nomenclature. Collision pretty must sums up not only the band’s body bomb assault on second album Roadkiller but also their musical pedigree, which rests securely at the nexus where grind sideswiped the circle pit punk that birthed it. Look no further than the band’s bull in a Faberge shop cover of Bad Brains’ “Attitude.”
Despite being Dutch, Collision have a singular focus on the excesses of American popular and political culture as they mercilessly mock our questionable subcultures (“Oh My Goth), our colorful peasant class (“Redneck Rampage”), our self help obsession (“Kill Phil”) and even our propensity for expecting bloated, aging action film stars to cleave our political morasses with the same ease with which they dispatched any number of low rent Columbian mercenaries (“Body Building Blowout”). Pop culture gets punk’d by a series of fluid punk beat to blast transitions, foam flecked gang vocals (“Drama Queen”), ominous building chug interludes and punk rock solos (“On the Loose to Reproduce”).
The only crack in Collision’s grind edifice would be the questionable dual vocalists. Bjorn and Wouter both bring an impressive pitbull bark, but their styles are so similar as to be redundant. But that’s a quibble against a backdrop of enjoyable punk madness.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Going Dutch: Blood I Bleed

Blood I Bleed

Gods Out of Monsters



The blood this Dutch grind quartet bleeds is 75 percent identical to the sanguinary core of My Minds Mine. Reveling in a misanthropic disappointment with humanity’s failings, Blood I Bleed delivers battery acid-splashed grind and rotgut punk front with heartworm infested Rottweiler for a frontman. A new name and a drummer transfusion were all Blood I Bleed needed to vault themselves into their nation’s elite, particularly on face punching second album Gods Out of Monsters.

Shantia not only wrings rusted crust from his guitar but his plays his amp as an accompanying instrument as well, festooning “Insensible We Are,” “Pent up Rage” and “God Fear” with spangled garland of deliberate feedback like a Satanic Christmas tree. It’s a skill he’s mastered since his days in My Minds Mine. “Insensible We Are,” in particular is a highlight, immaculately manipulated feedback and a serpentine bass slither reenact the Garden of Eden fable in 30 second grindcore form. Bert’s bass has a vintage ’80s clunk to it, particularly on the cracked knuckled closer “Theorising Utopia,” and Henk smacks the drums with a substantial thump on the song’s inevitable blastbeat coda.

Gods Out of Monsters also rips a retrofitted DeLoreon ride through punk and grind history. “Scene Pool is Closed” nods back to crossover punk and “Bumper Sticker Analysis” condenses and repurposes the ever-spiraling central riff from Napalm Death’s “When All is Said and Done,” knocking off some altitude in favor of amped up rage. The band also brutalizes a cover of Enemy Soil’s “Lost,” which is a tightly compacted, contracted spiral against the rangy, random violence of Blood I Bleed’s own catalogue.

At a tight 18 minutes, Gods of Out Monsters is a ferocious, atheistic beast that pairs nicely with Attack of the Mad Axeman. Misanthropy rarely sounded so awesome.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Going Dutch: My Minds Mine

Sir, he specifically requested two “niggers.” Well, to tell the family secret, my grandmother was Dutch.
Cleavon Little as Bart
Blazing Saddles

When I lived in Europe as a teen I always had a soft spot for Holland. While I was too young at the time to fully appreciate the country’s collective shrug at transactional sex and recreational pharmacopeia, Holland always impressed me for its laid back vibe. Which is why the country’s post-millennial assault on grindcore has been such a revelation. It’s like the entire nation wandered red-eyed and irritable out of the hash cafes and decided to grab a stack of Assuck and Nasum albums and a battered SG.

My Minds Mine
48 Reasons to Leave This Planet
The OGs of Dutch grindcore, My Minds Mine were both the template and apotheosis of everything that country had to offer. They were a band so good I’m willing to overlook the grammatical abortion that is their name.
Not to piss down three-quarters of the band’s collective legs, but My Minds Mine is a time capsule documenting the early songwriting growth of guitarist Shantia who, like a certain Swede Who Need Not Be Named, has this penchant for just ripping out catchy grind riff after another, seemingly without end. The vertiginous whorls of “Fry Them” or classic crust blast of “Drop Fascists Not Bombs,” probably the band’s signature tune, are more catching than the recent Pig AIDS outbreak (which I recently had and isn't that bad). This roster of early 7-inch cuts shows the embryonic incarnation of what would later flower into Shantia’s signature move – deliberate amp feedback. The screeching squall pops up on 48 Reasons to Leave This Planet primarily as either impromptu intros and outros – such as on the transition from “Mass Murder Memories” to “Monster Race.”
While I cannot flog enough superlatives in praise of Shantia’s performance, it probably wouldn’t count for squat without My Minds Mine’s other trio of terror. Frontman Rosco woodchippers his way through the largely shrieked vocals, raging, raging against the dying of the light on songs like the foreboding “Repeat at Length.” Bert’s understated bass serves as steel girdered bridge between the guitars and drummer Ype’s three card monte playing style , which legerdemains fills and inserts that may pass unnoticed the first listen or two but always manage to establish their own space.
I’m continually surprised just how much traction musicians can still get out of that hoary punk formula of flensing songs down to their substructure, but My Minds Mine are a perfect example that crafty songwriting and collective conviction still count in metal.

Number Three with a Bullet

Metal types love to strike the bad ass pose. We like to pretend our music, born of a inchoate adolescent rage and steeped in hazily understood Satanism and a penchant for violent outbursts, makes us dangerous. In our heads, we’re Nico Bellic from Grand Theft Auto on a constant six star alert. We just know the tanks and helicopters are around the corner. Building on that sentiment, one of the most annoying grindcore tics is the number-of-songs-as-number-of-crimes album title nonsense. As though you could get five to 10 fed time dancing with Bubba just for having a Pig Destroyer CD in your car. Here’s the felonious arms race that forced My Minds Mine to chock up damn near half a hundred misdemeanors.

His Hero is Gone

15 Counts of Arson



They’re ordinary southern crust guys … burnin’ down the house. Probably for the insurance money so they can invest in a few more recording sessions.


22 Random Acts of Violence



Correct me if I’m wrong, but these grind vets probably sat down in advance to not only write the songs but probably schedule the recording session and discuss the production session. What exactly was random?

Pig Destroyer

38 Counts of Battery



Are Hull et al the fucking L.A.P.D.? Did you have to beat the guy that many times? What message did he take away from the 38 counts he wouldn't have gotten with the first 10 or 15 whacks upside the head?