Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Demo-lition Derby

As the son of an educator and a former substitute teacher, myself, I’ve heard a lot over the years about different theories of learning and education. Some people learn visually; others need to have it explained to them. Me, I’m the type who can’t learn a damn thing until I get my own hands on it. I am your quintessential tactile learner.
All of that is a way too convoluted way of explaining – but not excusing – why it’s taken me so long to get to some of these demos. Six months in a couple cases. I’m just generally not very good at getting to mp3 submissions. Unless something physical is sitting in front of me: outta sight, outta mind. So to all the bands that forwarded their demos months ago, I apologize for taking so long to write about you. Nothing personal; I’m just really bad at getting organized.
So in no particular order:

Origami Swan
Traditional Kaiju Violence
Easily the most composed and big-show worthy of the bunch, Canada’s Origami Swan is what would happen if Gigantic Brain swapped its 1950s saucer film fixation for Japanese men in rubber monster suits and Z-grade exploitation films. Blending raped samples and frizzled electronics with their grindcore, Origami Swan are more ambitious and reach a little further than some of their peers with the degraded Merzbow hums of “Castigating Leukemia” or the Kaiju-grind of “The Return of Battra.”
Origami Swan – “The Return of Battra”

No Gang Colors
This is Your God
Following Justin Broaderick’s industrialized post-Napalm trajectory or at least steeped in the Man is the Bastard canon, duo No Gang Colors blast beat grind back to pure noise with an industrial tinged tenderizer. Sample-swamped and lacerated with black metallic screeches, No Gang Colors’ trebly assault rips through your cortex like a bandsaw crusted in high grade weed resin. Clear standouts are the deep industrial thrum of “Chicago Churches” or the rusty internal combustion rumble of “This Jug Kills Fascists.”
No Gang Colors – “This Jug Kills Fascists”

Corpse Flower Cassette
Corpse Flower’s matte black metal atmosphere lingers like a greasy film long after it’s over. Unfortunately, Anion’s songwriting just doesn’t have the same staying power. The Canadian metallic hardcore band specialize in knuckle dusting, mid-tempo hardcore that’s absolutely drenched in creepified doom and black metal spiderwebs and gloom. It’s just the songs evaporate like midnight mist come dawn once the EP is over. “We Made Our Graves” is notable for a bit of Southern swagger but the remainder, like generic pit fodder “Scum Lord” barely register.
Anion – “We Made Our Graves”

Failure Trace
Two Demos
Thailand’s Failure Trace passed along two different demos and, production-wise, they’re a pretty mixed bag. But when you can hear their racket clearly, it’s just one more indicator that the locus of grindcore vitality is inexorably shifting to Southeast Asia. This is reckless punk-inflected grindcore that hurls itself bodily at you with spittle-frothed vocals gnawing through the noise. The demo featuring “The Song,” “A New Breed of Pig” and “Killed by Making High” provide the best balance of production and attack of the two. While I certainly hold demos to a lesser standard, the second demo is so tinny sounding it’s actually rather grating after a while, even if is only six songs long. But this is a band with a future from a burgeoning region if they can afford some decent studio time.
Failure Trace – “A New Breed of Pig”

Heseai Yasokawa's Empty Orchestra
Songs of an Endless Charade
Gruesome Massachusetts twosome Heseai Yasokawa’s Empty Orchestra bring a mouthful of a name with a sinister grind assault that manages to deftly weave myriad moods and techniques into three short songs. With more of a skronk/tech vibe than your gutter grind types, HYEO smother the intellectually sublime in the deliberately retarded and got tap dancing in a tech-grind minefield as a show stopper. With an impressively cutting production for a demo, Songs of an Endless Charade is well worth seeking out.
Heseai Yasokava’s Empty Orchestra – “Pepper Jack Love Fraggle Rock”


206 said...

going to look into this failure trace you speak of. i'm a total sucker for "if they had a better budget" bands (joe pesci, anyone...)

Benj Jones said...

to be fair i think if you ask the guys from pesci then they'll get you the proper mix of the album. It is the worst mix in history on the cd though

Unknown said...

no gang colors blew me away when i first heard it. real gritty urban sound to it. im stoked to hear what else the come out with.

Alex Layzell said...

I have been a long term fan of Grind and Punishment, so much so that it has inspired me to write my own review blog http://grindtodeath.blogspot.com/ , not to rival your own I might add but feel free to check it out

andrew said...

welcome to the party, ortho. i'll check it out and throw up a link when i get a chance.

The Path Less Traveled Records said...

HYEO are great!

andrew said...

is that an indication of future collaboration tpltr? inquiring minds wanna know.

Flesh Monolith said...

Great read as always. I hope my hockey snap didn't hurt your feelings =P

I liked the anion demo, just needs to some fast parts; just reviewed actually.

Andrew Childers said...

i demand satisfaction for the blues dis, sir. i choose wrapping paper cardboard tubes at dawn! if you a gentleman who prizes his good name, i shall see you on the field of honor.