Thursday, October 28, 2010

G&P Review: Gigantic Brain

Gigantic Brain
They Did This to Me
Self Released
Gigantic Brain is dead
Long live Gigantic Brain.
The evolution of one man Virginia band Gigantic Brain from Nintendo-core blip-grind origins through its cosmically-tinged grind opera denouement has been nothing but staggering and a career trajectory plenty of bands would seize with envy. Very quickly after the Invasion Discography’s battery to the ’nads assault, it became quickly apparent that mere grindcore was not going to be enough to constrain Gigantic Brain’s increasingly cosmic vistas. The grindcore increasingly became the icing on a dense cake of ambient electronics and expansive emotional catharsis, culminating in They Did This to Me, easily the Brain’s high point and sadly also its epitaph.
They Did This to Me barely qualifies as grindcore anymore, given more toward ambient passages than raging beaters that is just as often instrumental than not. Gigantic Brain gives pride of place to carefully sculptured electronic passages that have been hewn to a single emotional core, often fear, paranoia and even fleeting moments of rapture. The album is graced by surprisingly delicate moments that sparkle like diamonds among Gigantic Brain’s typical electronic wasteland. “Crop Circles” is a scintillating soundscape that likely would pass unnoticed on a broad minded pop album. They Did This to Me’s emotional center, however, is the stunning emotional ambience of “Abandoned,” which could grace a Jesu album – one of the better ones – with its keyboard crescendos and plaintive Broadrick-style wails of abject despair.
This is stunning in its ambition and flawless in its execution, guiding listeners through an electro-grind equivalent of the stations of the cross. This has to be heard. It’s easily one of the finest releases of the year, and you have no excuses since it’s free. As a farewell gesture, GB is giving away damn near every moment its ever recorded at its MySpace page (linked above). I’d highly suggest getting while the getting is good because this is music good enough to pay for.

Grindcore Bracketology: The 2-7 Matchups

We're off to a perspicacious (and occasionally surprising) start with grindcore bracketology. The 1-8 matchups will stay open for argument until Saturday just in case you've been straggling to voice your opinion. Meanwhile, it's on to the 2-7 faceoffs. You've got until Tuesday. Discuss amongst yourself.
Full bracket available here.

North America
GridLink (2) vs. Noisear (7)
It’s hot Fajardo on Fajardo action. First up is the post-Discordance Axis/Mortalized mash up, GridLink. Jon Chang is an elite lyricist with a striking vision being backed up by another superlative cast of musical collaborators as he spits and screams his way through fractured narratives that wrench philosophical musings from anime and manga, refracting a blend of neon jazz and caffeinated energy.
Discordance Axis aficionados Noisear have been toiling in the masters’ footsteps but have recently taken steps toward their own distinctive sound, a complex hornet’s nest of buzzing guitars, Witte-worthy drumming and boundless enthusiasm. Listening to Noisear is like plowing face first through a plate glass window. The question before you is if the new jacks have hijacked the masters’ noise.

Asia and Australia
324 (2) vs. Swarrrm (7)
Japanese rebel grinders 324 have pretty much owned the crust grind crown for more than a decade now even if they’ve been dormant since 2006. Sharing a three way split with Discordance Axis – and easily holding their own – 324 are masters of a hook laden riff. But the band also knows how to stretch its musical muscles on occasion. The Across the Black Wings EP featured moments that simply rocked the psychedelic fuck out. And then they immediately went back to derm-abrading your ass with their grinding goodness.
Packing a few inexplicably extraneous consonants in their name, Swarrrm also pack a few outré musical notions as well. Not content to simply be a humble grind band, Swarrrm stuff their repertoire with five minute songs that feature more switchbacks and doublecrosses than a carefully plotted heist film. I don’t know what they’ve been packing in their black bong, but it’s a potent brew.

Sayyadina (2) vs. Splitter (7)
Quite simply, Sayyadina just do everything well in that inimitably poised Swedish fashion. Songs always hang from a blade sharp musical meathook and the introspective, emotional lyrics set them apart from lesser bands that are content to rehash familiar themes. Mourning the Unknown is an unfuckwithable slab of punk toned blast beaten goodness that epitomizes everything modern grind should embody.
While Splitter can bring the brutality with the best of them, what truly sets them apart are their melodic sensibilities. Combining early At the Gates (pre-Slaughter of the Soul) with demo-era Nasum, Splitter solder together two disparate strains of extreme Swedish musical outgrowth into a seamless whole. It shouldn’t work as well as it does, but the band manages to interweave the competing impulses perfectly.

Continental Europe and the United Kingdom
Blood I Bleed (2) vs. Cyness (7)
Dutch dervishes Blood I Bleed have a pedigree for perfection dating back to their prior incarnation as My Minds Mind. Shantia is top five among songwriters working right now and Blood I Bleed set off a staggering stream of audio pipebombs that grenade grind and punk without remorse. This is sonic adrenaline set to wax.
Germans Cyness have steeped themselves in grindcore history with a post graduate symposium in From Enslavement to Obliteration for good measure. They take that history and drag it into the 21st Century but otherwise keep the tradition intact. This is another band that’s been inactive for too long, but their two albums are enough to secure their spot in the discussion.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blast(beat) from the Past: Punished Earth

Punished Earth
Corporate Dictatory
Self Released

When I was listening to the new Circle of Dead Children album in heavy rotation, it kept tickling something in the back of my head that I just couldn’t place. That was until I slapped Punished Earth’s 2006 album Corporate Dictatory in the CD changer. The Belgians certainly exhume that same Pittsburgh vibe, especially when those hogs start squalling into the mic or when thick sided slabs of death metal get all ground up in the grind.

Punished Earth – “Parasite”

Songs vary from serial killer fascination (the narrative knife thrust of “Alterated Biosphere”) to your more accustomed political diatribes (“Dictator of a Lost Cause”). I have to admit hearing a bunch of Europeans trash talking Dubya actually made me feel irrationally defensive of the incompetent fuck. He’s our asshole. Go find your own asshole to hate. Punished Earth also manage to work in a sly sense of humor with their songs, like they way they cleverly weave The Simpsons’ themesong into the body of “Clash of the Brainless.”
Corporate Dictatory is an enjoyable on its own terms, but it does require the right headspace. The fellatio revenge fantasy of “Swallow Bitch” is juvenile and only slightly tempered by the absurd Evil Dead samples or the fact it’s immediately followed by the feminist (if you stretch and call I Spit on Your Grave feminist) revenge tale “Penis in the Pan.”
Punished Earth just released a new album that I haven’t heard yet, but giving Corporate Dictatory a few refresher listens reminded me they’re a solid band playing a somewhat overdone style. But I’ll probably end up grabbing a copy of Rhapsodies of Decay anyway. I could do a lot worse.

Grindcore Bracketology: The 1-8 Matchups

Let round one of the great grindcore faceoff begin. Bring on your best arguments. Winners will be announced next week. You can view the full bracket here. Have at it.

North America
Pig Destroyer (1) vs. Phobia (8)
Though my enjoyment of Pig Destroyer has decreased slightly with every album after Prowler in the Yard, I can’t deny they’re still the most beastly and brutal band working in grind. Scott Hull’s riffs and production are consistently huge, a looming mugger crowding you in a dark alley on the wrong side of town at the worst possible time. And that’s before J.R. Hayes’ emotional violence seethes through lyrics about murder, suicide, emotional abuse and love gone horribly wrong. Fantastic drumming and the recent addition of full time electronics artist Blake Harrison only add to the exquisite torture.
Phobia are grindcore lifers. Part of that second wave that took what Napalm Death and Terrorizer had inspired, the tandem of Shane McLachlan and Steve Burda, regardless of supporting cast, have bashed out a consistent brew of no frills punk-inspired grind. Phobia have always given off the vibe of a band that doesn’t give a fuck whether it's playing in front of a club full of a 800 or a basement show with 12 people in the audience. More of a crust punk band in their infancy, Phobia have evolved into more of a traditional grind as they’ve aged, but their spit and fury have remained unchanged.

Asia and Australia
Wormrot (1) vs. Captain Cleanoff (8)
By now you should be fairly familiar with my thoughts on Wormrot: They kick your favorite band’s ass. The Singapore trio doesn’t waste time trying to reinvent the grindcore wheel so much as reinvigorate it with a streamlined, savage take on the sound that crosses straight ahead aggression with thrashtastic riffing and an unhinged energy. If they had never recorded another note beyond Abuse, that would easily stand as the post-millennial equivalent of Horrified, but the band has Earache’s backing now and their next album won’t find them positioned as upstart outsiders but rather as leaders of a new generation of grinders.
Wormrot square off with Captain Cleanoff, the clear people’s choice for this matchup. The long running Aussies dropped their Carcass-mocking first album in 2008 and people are still talking about it today. Mixing up groove with their grind and adding Bill Steer-ish soloing, Captain Cleanoff are staunchly planted in the past. Like Wormrot (but paying homage to different influences) the band doesn’t advance grindcore so much as hit all the right notes very hard and very quickly.

Rotten Sound (1) vs. Infanticide (8)
The Scandinavian bracket could just as easily been the Sweden bracket because that country seems to have a grindcore factory tucked away among its fjords. Except across the eastern border Rotten Sound have planted the flag for Finn-core, a rampaging romp of Nasum-quality blasting that centers around that rarest of avi: actual grindcore songs. Armed with a batch of songs mostly titled with a single word, Rotten Sound are a grinding machine, mechanistically beating out high quality noise with a frequency and quality that’s outright stunning 17 years on.
Paired with Rotten Sound quintessence of grind is Sweden’s Infanticide who lard their blasts with a layer of death metal. Just as comfortable working at lower RPMs as they are with blastbeats, Infanticide are part of a new crop of bands that challenge our notions of what grindcore should be. Infanticide’s music is just as likely to reference Entombed and Bolt Thrower as it is Unseen Terror and Brutal Truth. Grind thrives on self-imposed limitations, but Infanticide don’t so much think outside of the box as pop the lid on it and take a look at what the rest of the world is up to.

Continental Europe and the United Kingdom
Napalm Death (1) vs. Agathocles (8)
You can’t have a conversation about grindcore without Napalm Death’s name popping up. The band, through its various incarnations, has pooped out some of the most essential noise the scene has seen. However, for this discussion, you’re limited to the current Greenway/Embury/Harris/Herrera lineup (discussions of Pintado’s contribution will be allowed). Argumentum ad Scum-um is verboten. With an entirely new cast from their glory days and playing a style that eschews straight noisy punk for a casserole of punk, grind, death, crust and thrash, Napalm Death are still innovators and are at once instantly recognizable.
Just as geriatric, if not always as widely lauded, as Napalm Death, Belgium’s Agathocles are probably better known for their colossal back catalogue than they are for the music that comprises it. Led by pivot Jan Frederickx, since 1985 the band has been banging out a punked out brew of anarchistic grind that’s grown even more jaundiced with age. Like Phobia on the left side of the Atlantic, Agathocles are the kind of band that will play a show or split a 7-inch with anybody, anytime anywhere. And it’s a measure of the band’s esteem that sharing wax with them is still considered a rite of passage for many a young grind band a quarter century later.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grindcore Bracketology: Battle of the Bands

I asked you guys for suggestions on projects to try next, and you weren’t shy with your opinions. Luckily, you guys came loaded with some pretty great ideas. So backpacking off of Miskatonic’s request for more information on modern grind classics and Dessicated Veins’ suggestion of a grindcore tournament, I present you with G&P’s grindcore bracketology.
It’s pretty simple: Miskatonic wants to know which bands are worth his/her/its/their time and effort. I could easily (and selfishly) pontificate on my personal favorites, but why not let you all do the dirty work for me? So l’ve created a bracket system where you can vote for your modern favorites. It’s like that lame NCAA office pool but with blastbeats and no cash prizes.

G&P Bracketology

Here are the ground rules:
1. Active bands only, so no Nasum (*sob*), no Discordance Axis (wait, what?), no Parlamentarisk Sodomi (oh noes!) and no Insect Warfare (sorry, Gamefaced).

2. I’ve divided 32 bands into four geographic regions: North America, Asia and Australia (thanks to Zmaj for his expertise here), Scandinavia and, finally, Continental Europe and the United Kingdom. I’ve ranked the bands and they’ll compete within their region with the winner of North America taking on the best the Pacific has to offer while the two European contingents will square off. The winner of each of those showdowns goes mano a mano to decide who will reign like The Highlander. There can be only one!

3. I’ll periodically post the matchups for vote. Tell me which of the bands you think comes out on top. While I’ll probably defer to the will of the majority, as a benevolent(ish) dictator, I reserve the right to sweep democracy aside in favor of a well argued defense of an underdog. So come armed with reasons to back up your vote. And yes, I’ve intentionally gamed the rankings to ensure some interesting discussions.
Here are the initial rankings. Like the hockey playoffs, the matchups will be 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5 with rankings reseeded after each round. Get to know your competitors before the arguments kick off.

North America
1. Pig Destroyer
2. GridLink
3. Kill the Client
4. Brutal Truth
5. Total Fucking Destruction
6. Graf Orlock
7. Noisear
8. Phobia

Asia and Australia
1. Wormrot
2. 324
3. Magnicide
4. Agents of Abhorrence
5. The Kill
6. Unholy Grave
7. Swarrrm
8. Super Happy Fun Slide Captain Cleanoff

1. Rotten Sound
2. Sayyadina
3. Afgrund
4. Gadget
5. Crowpath
6. The Arson Project
7. Splitter
8. Infanticide

Continental Europe and the United Kingdom
1. Napalm Death (the current incarnation)
2. Blood I Bleed
3. Suffering Mind
4. Looking for an Answer
5. Nashgul
6. Attack of the Mad Axeman
7. Cyness
8. Agathocles

Demo-lition Derby: Robocop

Demo 2009
Aside from being my favorite rational punk, Ryan Page is an internet era Renaissance man. The multimedia mogul made his own film when he wasn’t busy setting all of my favorite movies to electroshocked music in Body Hammer (though I’m still waiting on an Ichi the Killer-themed song). If that weren’t enough to keep the college student busy, Page is also getting powerfully violent with hardcore band Robocop.
But nothing is ever that simple is it. I haven’t been able to get enough of demo opener “Intro/I Hope All Your Friends Die” as it bends sinister Holy Mountain era Sleep sludge into a power violence arc, just a snarling, nasty knot of seething aggression. The long, strained notes aren’t so much bent as outright garroted. Like Satellite Sleep, this is a demo that rises above the pack with a distinct and engaging atmosphere to the songs.
The rest of the demo works more familiar Capitalist Casualties-style territory, blasting punk that’s bolstered by impeccable drumming. The fills are spot on and always timely and the hammering is perfectly precise. After this demo, Robocop has meandered into even more interesting and experimental material, making them one to watch.
You can check out Robocop’s demo here , and they’re Bandcamped out here with some new material.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Punk as Fuck: Subhumans (No, not that Subhumans)

Pissed Off…With Good Reason
Essential Noise/Virgin

You know that line from the Dead Kennedys' song “Where Do Ya Draw the Line?,” the one that goes “In Toronto someone blew up/A cruise missile warhead plant/10 slightly hurt, 4 million dollars damage.” That “someone” included Gerry Hannah, bassist for Vancouver punks the Subhumans. Whether you consider what he did a laudable bit of direct action in defense of humanity and the environment or a petulant act of terrorism deserving of the five years he spent in prison, there was no denying where the Subhumans stood.
They were a critical, if often overlooked, transitional fossil in the development of ’80s style hardcore, whipping up a batch of classic punk/proto-hardcore somewhere between the Dicks and D.O.A. (Joe “Shithead” Keithley was a member of pre-Subhumans band the Skulls and singer Brian Goble later joined D.O.A. on bass). Pissed Off…With Good Reason, a best of sampler platter, makes the perfect gateway drug for the Subhumans.
Like their eponymous English cousins, the Vancouver band stood at the fulcrum between ’70s style punk, epitomized by the Sex Pistols and Damned, and the emerging, more aggressive hardcore scene. Their songs blended furious attack, scathing humor and vestiges of hummable melodies on songs like “Firing Squad.”

Subhumans – “Firing Squad”

No one was exempted from their lyrical brutality, not their homeland (“Oh Canaduh”), their southern neighbors (“American Commits Suicide”) or the oversexed teenage male haunting the seedier discos of the day (“Slave to My Dick”). But the secret sauce to their Big Mac was their ability to write ear worms. No matter how pissed off they may have been, the Subhumans knew their way around a hummable hook. And while I loves me some ’80s hardcore, the art of the catchy song was something that had been sacrificed along the way in the name of harder, faster, louder. Just not by the Subhumans.

Subhumans – “Escalator to Hell (Live)”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Third of the Storm

This post is about to get false in a hurry, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
If I may quote the Chairman of the Board: Fairy tales can come true, it could happen to you if you’re young at heart.
Happy third birthday, G&Pers. It seems like only yesterday my little blog was mewling and puking on itself, trying to figure out what it wanted to be and where it was going and now look at it all grown up. The very fact that it’s a largely grindcore-focused blog is actually an accident. I wanted to call it Notes from Underground, after the Dostoevsky short story, and make it more generally metal oriented, but that name had been taken several times over. So I turned to Crime and Punishment for inspiration and… voila… the world’s crappiest blog name was born. It’s probably the smartest accident I’ve ever had and I've come to accept it for what it is. Working within self-imposed limits can often be beneficial, even liberating. That quirk of naming has allowed me to really zone in on what I continue to love about grindcore at the expense of pretty much every other genre in my growing musical collection.
And so thank you to all of you for tagging along for the ride, sharing this with me and contributing. Without your participation this wouldn’t nearly be as much fun. (Even those of you who still dispute Sayyadina is the best Swedish grind band working today.)
So indulge me while I take a quick moment, in the words of Sinatra, to appreciate the fairy tales that have come true for me. Never in the first 18 months or so of blogging that it took me to really find my voice would I have ever dreamed of the remarkable things that have happened to me through G&P. I’ve met some amazingly kind and knowledgeable people and interviewed some truly fascinating artists. As for personal milestones in the last year or so, I got a shout out in a Parlamentarisk Sodomi thank you list, inadvertently helped my favorite new band get signed and even got namechecked on Wikipedia (twice, actually!) and in Decibel.
All that still blows my mind when I think about it. Ok, so it doesn’t quite rank with changing jobs, getting married and buying a house during pretty much the same period, but the young at heart me, the part that still thinks I’m 16, is totally fucking jealous.
Facing the blog's fourth year of existence, it’s time to take stock. Weigh in on what works well, what can be improved, things you’d like to see more or less. I’m trying to figure out what to try next, so whatever feedback you have would be appreciated.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Re-Human 2.0: Rehumanize Raged Ad Majorem Grind Gloriam

Somewhere in between me interviewing them and typing these words Floridian grindcore twosome Rehumanize announced plans to give up the (holy?) ghost and call it a day for the band.
Is it my fault? Was it something I said?
What we've lost is a band that deftly straddling the conflicting and often outright antagonistic worlds of grindcore and religion, not so much serving two masters as bending one to the needs of the other.

God Rehumanize is Dead.

Sadly, the end had been prophesied. Guitarist Broc, who just released a new album with his main musical outfit Eternal Mystery, and drummer/vocalist Filipe, who’s juggling a doom project (Entorn), a black metal project (Sorrowstorm) and a death metal project (Encryptor), knew Rehumanize had run its course. In fact, the band was always meant to be short-lived experiment. As their epitaph, Rehumanize is giving away their final, 20-song EP Grindocalypse as a free download.
Felipe said he had always wanted to marry the confrontational style of grindcore with Christianity, emphasizing their faith where other Christian bands tend to downplay their religiosity for fear of alienating the less devout among their fanbase.
“Since a lot of the grind ethos rests on freedom of speech, often times to the point of absurdity, I want to experiment,” Felipe said. “It’s usual among the more popular bands on big labels to kinda downplay their faith, and in a sense I don’t blame them because otherwise they would alienate a ton of people. On the other hand, though, many times I actually have questioned the sincerity of their profession of faith, not so much because they are not bold for the Christian faith, but because they seem to not be living it out. The central message of Rehumanize is the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached boldly and systematically. I figured that it would go well with grind since that genre tends to be bold and ‘in your face’ and not as poetic and mystical.”
I sincerely hope Rehumanize find some way for them to roll away that grave stone and rise from the dead. This is the band that managed to override my closed-minded decision to hate Resident Apostasy before I even heard note one (berating myself for accidentally buying a Christian record) only to have my prejudices upended by a thoroughly pummeling assault on the senses, regardless of the possibly nonexistent cosmic entity receiving the band’s plaudits.
Whatever your affiliation come Armageddon, you have to respect Rehumanize’s chops. Though songs about ending pornography, the importance of prayer and theological debates will likely seem abstruse to outsiders (OK, maybe we understand better than we let on) and may not be an E-ticket to grindcore fame and glory, the band said the sinners came a-flockin’ to their rockin’ just the same. Perversely, it’s the faithful few who weren’t as supportive, Broc said.
“When it comes to what is central to Rehumanize, we wanted to just be really straight forward and clear about our views, and this has actually more so alienated the Christian audience than the secular one,” he said. “We have been on the receiving end of more crap from the Christian side than from the secular side, which hasn't really said anything negative from what I have been able to tell.”

Non Serviam

But that may not be so unusual. What truly won me over to Rehumanize’s cause—aside from the whiplash-induced spinal injuries—was the band’s willingness to call their own to account. From personal experience, I know far too many Christians never venture beyond their holy huddle and group think begins to set in. If the world is evil and bound to fade away, then by definition what Christians do must be holy. However, Rehumanize were willing to ask what it really meant to follow in the Jesus’ sandals, and they were just as willing to hold up a mirror to those among them who had fallen short of the glory of God, regardless what they professed on Sunday.
Particular targets of lyricist Felipe’s ire were the prosperity gospel charlatans intent on turning a rather hippy-ish rabbi from Galilee into a combination of Santa Claus and Gordon Gekko. They seem to have missed the tale of the prophet’s sole recorded interaction with the financial establishment ending poorly.
“I’ve suffered for many years with these purveyors of the prosperity gospel. They have caused so much damage to the image of Christianity and to people’s lives,” Felipe said. “I had too much pent up disgust and grind was the best outlet. In actuality, what they teach and preach is very foreign to what the Bible teaches. This is not even a denominational squabble. The beliefs of these people can be easily separated from Christianity. What they do is they use the Bible and any authority they claim to have to get money and fame. Many of them don’t even see themselves as hucksters. They actually believe that what they are practicing is Christianity. It’s the environment that they have soaked up from earlier generations of hucksters, and the pattern goes on. It’s hard for me to go inside a Christian bookstore and not become red in the face. What we are trying to do is sway other Christians from believing their lies. We do not actually consider those preachers to be Christians at all, but true criminals.”
In a feel good era of Christianity as wish fulfillment and cut-rate therapy, that message did not always reach the most receptive ears, Broc said.
“The Christian community has been in kind of a mixed bag about it,” he said. “Some of them love it. Others hate it and speak out against it. The main reason a lot of them have spoken out against it is because they tend to be the kind who are followers of a lot of these TV prosperity preachers. Those kind tend to really hate people who even so much as criticize them even a tiny bit. However, the ones who do support us, are usually the more solid ones who are open and honest.”
That kind of honesty and integrity, to challenge your own, when everyone else around you will go along to get along, is rare and to be cherished. That Rehumanize let us peek in as they did it is remarkable. That they’ve closed that chapter and verse of their lives is all of our loss.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

G&P Review: This Comp Kills Fascists Vol. 2

This Comp Kills Fascists Vol. 2
Let me get my one complaint about Scott Hull’s latest retro comp grindfest out of the way first. Where the first volume reveled in the first new recorded music from Brutal Truth in a decade and the hey-look-at-that-they’re-still-alive-ness of Agents of Satan, by and large, the first comp was an awesome collection of up and comers that probably gave the wider world their first good look at the next wave of young grind. So, I’m rather disappointed to see the second volume is nearly half filled with reunited bands old enough to have appeared on the original Cry Now, Cry Later and Bllleeeeaaauuurrrrggaaah! comps this is aping. The effect threatens to turn This Comp Kills Fascists Vol. 2 into story hour at the local VFW as grizzled geezers rehash their salad days. The tracks from defunct pre-Mastodon grinders Social Infestation are from 2002, ferchrissakes.
But enough bitching, Vol. 2 packs 50 percent more grind and power violence than its predecessor and it’s still a vital link to a rash of new bands worth hearing.
The belles of the ball are easily Noisear who are at once speedy and engrossing, finally stepping out from under the shadow of Discordance Axis to become something that is at once technical, cathartic and wholly their own.
Triac are also raucous and rough and tumble while finally hearing Hummingbird of Death’s lofi ruckus, I get what everyone’s been raving about. Give Slovakians Idiots Parade a few more years and I could see them gunning for Suffering Mind’s championship belt. Drugs of Faith rehash “An Ode to Those Unwed” from their self titled EP and give us a new track, “Loss of Credibility,” that bodes well for their pending full length. Thrash masters Population Reduction should roam the streets of Tinseltown forcibly tattooing the title of “Real Zombies Don’t Run” on assorted Hollywood execs’ noggin. Marion Barry sound like Apartment 213 clones and Apartment 213 sound a lot like Apartment 213 as well. Septic Surge’s noise holocaust is exquisite, combining classic Agoraphobic Nosebleed with weed drenched Man is the Bastard.
Though I’m calling bullshit on the lack of swastika cock-spewing Obamas in the art, I am happy to say the addition of Voetsek and Despise You add a welcome dose of estrogen to what had previously been largely a boys only club (Spoonful of Vicodin excepted).
To try to single out a song or two to give you a taste of this one would be futile, so I’m just going to turn it over to Deathgrindfreak who’s already agreed to share his copy with the world.
[Full disclosure: Population Reduction kindly provided me with a review copy.]

Monday, October 4, 2010

G&P Review: Abscess/Population Reduction

Abscess/Population Reduction
Tank Crimes
Heretical confession time.
Most of what’s considered classic American death metal – the shit I supposedly grew up with – bores the ever living fuck out of me. Morbid Angel can’t hold my attention (but I love Vader, so figure that one out). I listened to Cause of Death for the first time in about a decade the other day and once was pretty much enough to remind me why I sold my copy years ago. Death’s wankery bores me to tears (and I hate, Hate, HATE Chuck Schuldiner’s voice). Deicide, beyond pointing and laughing, does nothing for me. Ditto Cannibal Corpse.
The exception that always proved that rule was Autopsy, whose doomy deathy creepy crawly goodness on Mental Funeral ranks right up there with Winter for me as landmark “whoa, wait, WTF?” albums that turned me on to doom. So it’s kind of a surprise to me that I hadn’t bothered to check out Chris Reifert et al’s post-Autopsy scum punk project Abscess until now when they’ve called it quits.
Maybe I wouldn’t have waited so long if somebody had told me Abscess sorta sound like dearly departed Texan weirdoes Dead Horse (anybody remember them?). But here they are on this old-meets-new split from last year with the similarly demented Population Reduction. It’s a nice match because both bands seem to make a career out of being bizarrely provocative without devolving into cheap and tired gore tirades. Abscess queasily bookend their half of the split with “Nausea Without End” and an out of left field cover of the Pepto Bismol jingle. Everything between is just beer drenched insanity.

Abscess – “The World Insane”

As for Population Reduction, their resin-caked thrash/grind amalgam snaps, crackles and pops as they launch hilariously titled diatribes your way on “Babies are Assholes” and “Art Fucking Sucks.”

Population Reduction – “In With the Old, Out With the Cold”

Quirky, demented and listenable. That’s all I really ask.

[Full disclosure: Population Reduction kindly provided me with a review copy.]