Monday, August 30, 2010

Demo-lition Derby: Crippling Fear

Crippling Fear
The number of young bands I hear appropriating the Swans and Iron Lung-style blast and stumble sound is steadily growing to the point where I’m starting to worry about saturation. Crippling Fear also like to chug along before ratcheting into speedy punk and hardcore that’s noisy and confrontational with a standout sharp, pinging bass and tense, slashing guitar. The vocals are all hoarsely howled, and the whole experience nails that reedy, underproduced ’90s punk sound to a black shirted T. Jacob Bannon-style wails war with death grunts atop drumming that’s all meat and no filler.
The Office-checking “Nard Dog (Andy Bernard is a Mad Pimp)” is all double bass head charge, rocking a nod along groove that shines despite some rather sour backing vocals while “Life Support” follows in the groove of Minor Threat’s “Filler.” Where Crippling Fear are at their best, however, is when they start shedding the straight hardcore sound and go for something more challenging like the shifty riff of “Columbian Necktie” or the twanging noise of “Damages.”
This fastcore/PV sound is quickly becoming a crowded field, but Crippling Fear are a solid if rather unoriginal band at this point. But it’s certainly enjoyable for what it is. Download it here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

G&P Review: Kastasyde

Poisoned, Ripped Off and Lied To…

Self Released

As far as the plague of recent retro thrash goes, Chicago’s Kastasyde aren’t the most original or even memorable, at least musically. They also boast some of the most flagrant abuse of the letter K since Kataklysm (seriously, that name. ugh.). But fuck if I haven’t had the vocal hooks to some of these songs rattling around my noggin for a couple weeks now. And it’s those vocals that really lift up this otherwise acceptable but somewhat forgettable six song time capsule of white sneakered thrash. The vocals range from a Lamb of God-style subterranean croak to Alice in Chains’ patented FX-slathered croon. It’s those clean vocals that really drive Kastasyde’s best work. The soaring hook to “Despotical” would be an exceptional example of their vocal brain virus in action.

Kastasyde – “Despotical”

The alchemical churn of “As Above, So Below” is an honest-to-Chuck Billy thrash power ballad like Testament used to churn out (“Return to Serenity,” I’m nostalgically thinking of you). “Divine Evil” makes me giggle with apostate delight because the song’s acoustic center perfectly mimes the tempo and themes of those horrid modern Christian songs the preacher would belt out back when my parents forced me to suffer through church.
Do you really need another band of kids who were rocking Pampers rather than denim vests when thrash was king? Probably not, but if that’s your thing, Kastasyde unabashedly delve into a side of thrash I haven’t yet heard exhumed and overdone.
[Full disclosure: Kastasyde provided me with a download.]

Monday, August 23, 2010

G&P Review: Nothing More to Eat

Nothing More to Eat

Self Released

I have previously mentioned I love zombies, right? So naturally I’m a sucker for Finns Nothing More to East’s tasty little Swede-inflected grind platter because it starts with “Surrounded by Zombies” and then takes a detour to visit the “Crackwhore Zombies.”
For a self-released effort, Eat’n's nine songs of Scandi-grind sounds impressively large and well rounded. The comparisons to Rotten Sound and Nasum will be inevitable, though Nothing More to Eat still have quite a ways to climb before aspiring to those rarefied heights. But the band’s demented sense of humor and infectious blasting make this a more than adequate addition to the growing pile of northern European grind. “Mo’ Money” teases both tempo and intensity, shifting through their various moods for emphasis, and “Hit That Shit With a Stick” skronks and scrapes admirably. “Hello” fills the obligatory two second song niche, and it’s about everything you can expect from a two second song. For all their blatant influences, Nothing More to Eat do toss out the occasional detour like the jigging ditty at the end of “Crab People,” an otherwise spittle-flecked grind lashing. The start and stop on a thin kroner emphasis of “Shit Faced,” which brings up the rear, is easily the most engaging and all around well written of the lot.

Nothing More to Eat – “Shit Faced”

Thing start slipping in the quality department, however, with “The Giant Octopus of the Gulf of Finland,” which also fulfills the inevitable slow song requirement with a plodding and dull opening section. Interest picks up with the BPMs halfway through the song.
So for a self-released EP from an up and comer, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, but nothing is so egregiously wrong that I couldn’t see Nothing More to Eat growing up and refining their songwriting. Just don’t lose the zombies. I’m a sucker for that shit.
[Full disclosure: The band sent me a review CD.]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

G&P Review: Jesus Crost

Jesus Crost
Bones Brigade
If I’d been more organized (or frankly given a half nickel whorefuck) I’d probably gotten off my ass sooner to have this post coincide with that soccer thingy (scuze me, football for all you dirty foreigners) that had people sending death threats to a harmless mollusk. But America sucked (like usual) and we stopped caring quickly (like usual – USA! USA! USA!). Anyway, I was too busy gloating about the Blues landing Jaroslav Halak for the price of an empty puckbag to a former coworker of Canadien extraction.
So more importantly, power violent Dutch soccer hooligans Jesus Crost, who have a pending split with Phobia, upped their game on second album 010, which nicely continues the themes of previous album Tot. The only major difference is the band does tend to fall slightly more on the side of power violence than the grind this outing. Though the blasting rarely takes a break, Jesus Crost know just when to drop a musical changeup into the mix, whether it’s the chugalug of “Ungehever,” the cocksure strut of “Parasit” or the brain-rending screech of “Fickpisse.”

Jesus Crost – “Fickpisse”

The band even throws a vocal curve ball on “Gonorrhea” and “Battisa,” mixing in some pig squeals with the screeches just to keep things interesting. So if blasting grindy, violency noise is your thing, 010 will ably achieve that GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Demo-lition Derby: The Oily Menace

The Oily Menace
Modulistic Terror
Wow, I’m gonna sound like the old ass fart that I am, but have we actually reached the point where fucking cassettes have a retro chic? (Ahh, memories of rewinding Sepultura albums with a pencil in chemistry class.) But there it was in my mailbox, a toxic green spool of tape courtesy of Michigan’s The Oily Menace, who dropped the cash for a custom cassette treatment for their Slayer-referencing demo (like I wouldn’t notice that, kids).
The oleaginous punks mix power violence loom and gloom and with Capitalist Casualties-style blast fests. While it ably soothes ’90s nostalgia, The Oily Menace are not an amber trapped tribute to a bygone era. The vocals are also more of a grindcore gargle than your typical hardcore bark, mixing in a modern element to update the sound.
And oh what a sound: winding guitar ratchets around broken blasts and whipcrack cymbal smacks. “Antibiotic Markers” corkscrews and thrashes, striking out like a wounded cobra. The classic hardcore sound of “Scion and Vice” gets updated with modern growled vocals while “Stepping into Daylight” is sub-blast cacophony.
It’s all been done before and The Oily Menace have yet to distill that certain something that will set them apart from the retro-blast hordes, but it’s good enough to make me wish I had a yellow Sony Walkman cassette player (which my parents cruelly refused to buy me) so I could jam to this on the bus ride to school. For those of you with more modern sensibilities, download it here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blast(beat) from the Past: Denak


Having lavaged expectorate of a sycophantic nature all over Looking for an Answer and Nashgul, it’s time to step back and correct a major oversight. I need to recognize one of the true foundational bands of Spanish grindcore. I’m talking about motherfucking Denak. They were a band so goddamned awesome they simply titled their 7-inch compendium Grindcore because that’s pretty much all you need to know about them: they played grindcore. And those fuckers played it pretty damn well.
LFAA and Nashgul’s festering apple didn’t fall far from this corroded tree (and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to hear Afgrund have a few choice Denak EPs tucked away in their collection). Denak’s songs are fast, punky, static-flayed and ionized with an electric intensity. Denak played grindcore like it was fired from a railgun. The secret warhead in Denak’s arsenal was the Witte-grade drumming of Juan, who was bondage gear tight but graceful and fluid with his spot on frills on songs like “Carlos Torio” or the all blasts/wailing/cymbal crashing “Solo.”

Denak – “Solo”

Over 38 tracks (and two thoroughly pointless and annoying noise remixes), Denak tick off every requirement for a grind band, but do it with a flawless professionalism. Guitars buzz like wet hornets (“!M.E.T.P. No!”) and subterranean roars build a foundation for star screaming shrieking. Though it’s a collection of early works, Grindcore is pretty damn consistent. The disparate collection of splits and 7-inches manages to cohere into a satisfying listening experience on its own.
Denak’s influence, though not as heralded as some, still rattles through grindcore, if you know where to look.

Nashgul ---- “Estado de Bienestar (Denak)”

P.L.F. ---- “Siempre Yo (Denak)”

Monday, August 9, 2010

G&P Review: Nervous Impulse

Nervous Impulse
Enough for Dementia

Self Released

Not as strong as Exitium but definitely more palatable than the most recent (bowel) movements by Misery Index, Canadians Nervous Impulse man the barricades of the same blastbeaten death chunk, an end to end rush of typewriter drumming, trebly guitar and occasionally MIA bass.
While the seething screech and impacted colon mic passing of “Lowlife Jackass” offers nothing new, “The Bells of Immorality” does surprise when it busts out a riff about halfway through that easily could have graced one of Iron Maiden’s mid-era B-sides. But for those who prefer their metal more fartsy and less artsy, penultimate banger “Blood on the Dance Floor” is a head-snapping rap to the tympanum that’s more focused and concise that some of the other occasionally overlong songs.

Nervous Impulse – “Blood on the Dance Floor”

I do need to pause for a quick moment to call bullshit on the song “Rockstar Faggotry.” Enough with the lazy fucking homophobia already. Jesus, at least show some creativity in your insults. I’m just sayin’ “lulz ur ghey” has been done to death on the finer middle school playgrounds of the world. Branch out; the English language has a lot to offer in the way of a good ad hominem barb because otherwise the song is a nice parfait of caffeinated energy, pick squeals and microblasting middle passages.
If you can roll your eyes and ignore that and if deathy grindy is your thing, Nervous Impulse is an otherwise passable addition. If nothing else, let me help you out in the insult department for your next album. You’re welcome.

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

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blast(beat) from the Past: Lethargy

Discography ’93-’99


Not just horribly misnamed, but hyperactive death/grind monstrosity Lethargy also never seemed to have racked up the kudos it deserves on its own. Instead, the Rochester, N.Y., band is best known for everything that came after. Famously, it spawned future Mastadudes Bill Kelliher and Brann Dailor who went on to major label fame and fortune following a brief, apocalyptic pass through Today is the Day (In the Eyes of God era). Lethargy was also the springboard for guitar guerilla Eric Burke who has cycled through Kalibas (jumping to drums), Sulaco, Nuclear Assault and now filling Gurn’s Adidases in Brutal Truth.
All that post-millennial success was germinated in Lethargy, a rotating cast of characters that dumped death, grind and hardcore into a Cuisnart and punched liquefy, ending up with a sound like Human Remains getting roundly pimp slapped by Botch. Strained, gut-busting, turd-squatting hardcore vocals wrassle with death-inflected riffs that soundtrack Hunter Thompson’s drug binged rampage through a circus-themed casino in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas all topped over by Dailor’s Ritalin-deprived drumming, which hammers and skitters across the spectrum, challenging everyone else to play catch up.

Lethargy – “Grope”

Lethargy – “Grieve into the Eyes That Bleed”

Just when you lock into a grove or latch on to a mindbending riff, it gets whipsnapped out from under you like a lame dinner theater magician’s routine gone horribly…. right? Quite honestly, if I’m not in the right headspace, this shit can be overwhelming, particularly given the two-disc, 2.5 hour reissue from several years back. However, this monster’s DNA has been filtrating through metal and hardcore for the past decade as an act of musical panspermia. You’ve heard a lot of this before, but if you were fortunate, you heard it here first and you probably haven’t heard it better.

Monday, August 2, 2010

G&P Review: Selfhate


Self released (distributed through
The totally unexpected news that seminal Polish grinders Selfhate had reconvened to drop their first passel of new music in a decade made me do my happy dance all through the house.
Yes, I have a happy dance. No, you can’t see it.
Given the improvement in low budget recording options in the last several years, Debasement sounds way more polished and clear than older works like …At the Beginning God Created Fear, which was mired in the scooped out sound of the late ’90s that tended to flatten out recordings.
The band is still in fine playing form even if the blasts aren’t always as fluid as they were when they were young and spry, giving songs a somewhat herky-jerky vibe on occasion. Selfhate still know their way around an engaging tune, though. In fact, that facet has only improved in their absence. The songs on the whole are more grounded and carry more emotional weight than declamations against faceless authority from past releases. That all comes to a head in closer “Dajesz Zycle/You Give Life,” which takes a subject that’s far too often trivialized in metal – child murder – and turns it into an emotional gut punch as they ponder the genuine horror of a recent account in Poland.

Selfhate – “Dajesz Zycle/You Give Life”

And while there are the expected songs about “greed” and politician’s “empty words,” I wish more grind bands would actually take the time to step out of the abstract and find an emotional center for their songs the way Selfhate has. In their original incarnation, Selfhate’s punk blast work ethic ran counter to the metal-inflected flavor of Eastern European grind at the time and I’d wager is directly responsible for younglings like Suffering Mind. Looks like they’ve still got something to teach the next generation.