Monday, May 30, 2011

Demo-lition Derby: God Harvest

God Harvest
An eminent 20th Century philosopher, one Mr. Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, once posed the query: “Bass – how low can you go?” Florida’s God Harvest have responded with a hearty “Challenge Accepted.”
Over six songs that evolve from punchy grindy to moshy hardcorey, God Harvest spelunk the lower registers of musical notation where Vulgar Pigeons and Catheter used to hang out. All the components of the band – the Pete Pontikoff barking, slashing guitars and just sub-blast beat drumming – all strive for the singular purpose of knocking you over on your ass, but they all get gnawed away by the sledge hammer bass, which makes this one of the more distinctive demos this year. The songs themselves are in two distinct phases, the first three are tighter blasters while the second half gets looser, allowing the band’s musical ideas more room to breathe. However, even the grindier songs feel much longer – in a good way. They’re chock-a-block with shifty riffing or the odd vocal sideswipe that gives each tune a sense of chameleonic movement and deliberate purpose. That means while God Harvest doesn’t venture too far afield into grind incognita, the demo also doesn’t get boring either. For a band’s first effort, that’s pretty much all I ask. You can check it out here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Anti Homophobe-nym

Obviously, Wormrot has been much on my mind lately as I prepared my review for Dirge, which also entailed spending several intense hours with Abuse. But it wasn’t until I sat down with the Abusing the World DVD that accompanies Dirge that something occurred to me: How are you supposed to pronounce Abuse?
My mind automatically read the title as Ab-yoos. But it could also be pronounced Ab-yooz.
How you pronounce it? And does it make a difference. Oh sure, I could just ask the band how they intended it, but that would spare me the fun of drastically overthinking this.
Ab-yoos, to me, implies passivity. It is something being inflicted upon Wormrot, which they must endure. However, ab-yooz is more active in nature. It suggests something the band would be doing unto others (not as they would like having done unto them).
As Spinal Tap so adroitly noted, it's that little turn at the end that makes all the difference.
Of course, I consulted the lyric sheet for some insight, but there is nothing like a title track to provide clarity. In fact, the word “abuse,” in either form, is not actually used in the lyrics. “Exterminate” gives us one past tense variation on the word: “Build your hate. Exterminate. Pitiful creep. Been abused.” That's all we have to go by and I'm not sure that's definitive. But that’s all we’ve got to go on.
I’m curious how you read the title and whether that your preferred pronunciation makes any difference to how you interpret the album, the lyrics or the music. Toss out your theories in the comments.
Fuckin’ homonyms, how do they work?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Grindcore Alphabet: S

Though E may be the most frequently used letter in English, S is apparently the most common letter in grindcore. Unlike that lazy, shiftless letter Q, S is bringing it big this week with a full 42 songs for your consumption. It's by far the single largest haul to be had of the whole alphabet.
As Melvin van Peebles would say, “Bad Assssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.”
Here’s your letter S mixtape: [Mediafire]

Sakatat – “Adim Adim Elerki” (Turkey)
Satellite Sleep – “Empty” (Australia)
Sulaco – “Cry Me a River” (United States)
Spinegrinder – “The Incineration of Julie” (United States)
Siege – “Life of Hate” (United States)
Structure of Lies – “Masters of Nothing” (United States)
Sylvester Stalline – “I Don’t Play to Fuck” (France)
S.O.B. – “Trapped in Cancer” (Japan)
Suffering Mind – “Wirus” (Poland)
Sarlacc – “Entombment of a Wookie” (United States)
Swarrrm – “Road” (Japan)
Squash Bowels – “Abhorrently Stinking Rich Man” (Poland)
StraightHate – “Ethnocide” (Greece)
Standing on a Floor of Bodies – “Gone the Way of All Flesh” (United States)
A Scanner Darkly – “The Man in the High Castle” (United States)
Sadis Euphoria – “Burning in Flesh” (United States)
Slight Slappers “My Reality and My Idea” (Japan)
Streetcleaner –“Scotch Knight” (United States)
Scrotum Grinder – “Untruth as Master Signifier” (United States)
Selfhate – “Zaraza” (Poland)
Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky – “A Path” (United States)
Sutek Conspiracy – “The Gospel According To” (United States)
Skarp – “Feed the Addiction” (United States)
Subcut – “Insanidad” (Brazil)
Skrupel – “Daily Boring” (Germany)
Slaughter of the Innocents – “Maelstrom of Chaos” (Germany)
Sewn Shut – “Smear of Destruction” (Sweden)
Sore Throat – “Horrendify and Kill” (England)
Spoonful of Vicodin – “Tapeworms in Punk, A Documentary” (United States)
Sayyadina – “Come Final Rest” (Sweden)
Splitter – “Markt For Livet” (Sweden)
Su19b – “Hateful Neglect” (Japan)
Spiral – “Tornade” (Japan)
Spazz – “Backpack Bonfire” (United States)
Shapes of Misery – “Mad Man’s Rampage” (Holland)
Shitstorm – “Paranoid Existence” (United States)
Sanity’s Dawn – “Fuck Your Sense of Life” (Germany)
Septic Surge – “Perculator” (Australia)
Superbad – “Isaac No Fuck, Isaac Make Love” (United States)
Strong Intention – “Without Conscience” (United States)
Social Infestation – “Some People Push Back” (United States)
Self Deconstruction – “The Anger Which I Wait For” (United States)

Total to date: 348 bands

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Panic! At the Discography: Nasum

Grindcore is the petit four of punk and metal. It’s a delicacy best served in small amounts. That’s why when I asked you to name the best band working today, you overwhelmingly went for a group with a penchant for albums shorter than a Harvey Birdman episode. Given that you probably don’t spend as much time woodshopping a song like, say, “You Suffer,” as long as you would something by Atheist or Pestilence or some other technical guitar wanker, that means an average grind band can pretty much poop out a 7-inch’s worth of material a month if quality control isn't a high priority (*cough* Agathocles *cough*). And if your average grind band keeps at it long enough, inevitably somebody is going to step in to collect the far flung singles, splits, and 7-inchers into a massive discography album. But a discography is probably the worst format for grind ever conceived by the diabolical mind of Jesus for a whole host of reasons. So with that in mind, I’m going to periodically dig through my daunting stack of oversized grind compilations to talk about what works well and how they, unfortunately, go tragically wrong more often than not. I could think of no better way to inaugurate the new feature than with probably the gold standard for grindcore discographies.
Grind Finale


Mieszko Talarczyk’s death during the 2004 Christmas tsunami was the tragic impetus both Relapse and drummer Anders Jakobson needed to get off their asses and finally realize the long simmering Nasum discography, which had been percolating for years under the title Blueprint for Extinction. Two years and a (welcome) name change later and Relapse handed us 152 tracks spread over two discs that spanned Nasum’s amazing career in the form of Grind Finale. Not only was it a tribute to one of the label’s most prolific (and likely most profitable) artists, but Grind Finale was an impressive bit of fan service and an incredible undertaking in its own right. Packaged in a book binding with a forward by metal historian and Decibel EiC Albert Mudrian and featuring extensive liner notes by Jakobson that illuminate all of the band’s non-album releases, Grind Finale is the discography by which every other collection should be judged. The songs, ordered chronologically, begin with the band’s earliest incarnation, before Talarczyk stepped to the mic or manned the mixing board to put his indelible stamp on every facet of Nasum’s identity. Beginning with the sampled secret of the band’s nasal nomenclature straight through the cast off bits that didn’t make their later albums, attentive grindcore archeologists will be able to piece together not only the band’s musical evolution but perhaps psychoanalyze its working methods. Though the non-album and bonus track bits are almost uniformly quality songs in their own right, with enough listens you begin to see why, for instance, the title track for masterwork Helvete got left on the cutting room floor. You sense how the band carefully managed not only the individual songs, but how their albums flowed and the emotional punctuation that delineated them. It’s just one more example of how Talarczyk and Jakobson and their rotating cast of supporting players were master craftsmen whose career was prematurely ended.
Grind Finale is such an impressive package that Relapse’s decision to cough up the slapdash live album Doombringer two years later looks shabby and tacky by comparison, a cheap cash in on a vital band’s legacy. But Grind Finale is a fitting monument to one of the finest grind practitioners to ever grace our stereos and an essential addition to any Nasum fan's collection. Or a great place for n00bs to get introduced to master technicians.

Monday, May 23, 2011

G&P Review: Wormrot


AbuseWormrot’s out of nowhere, totally unexpected slab of staggering awesomeness (from Singafuckingpore of all places, ferchrissakes) – was a magical, transcendental moment in 2009 and touchstone for grindcore's future. It was like seeing Haley’s Comet, stumbling on Brigadoon or Brian Burke showing restraint and not blowing up the Maple Leafs’ lineup at the trading deadline: It just wasn’t the kind of thing you expected to see in your lifetime. And without any scene buzz in advance, nothing could prepare you for it.
While it may be unfair to them, everything Wormrot does must be measured against that early pinnacle – at least until they can top it. Dirge, unfortunately, isn't that album. It is an extremely good album, but Abuse was a great album.
Dirge is a bristling, slavering old school 18 minutes of unsubtle aggression and abrasive annihilation, but it just doesn’t quite straddle the divide between adrenaline junkie and catchy riff earjaculation (thanks, Bill, told you I was stealing that term) as effortlessly as Abuse. Dirge sacrifices memorability on the altar of unrelenting speed and migraine-inducing noise. In fact, it feels overly self conscious and more than a tad safe, as though the sudden explosion of attention had gotten to them. There are fewer songs here that will mug you in a dark alley the way “Fuck…I’m Drunk,” “Murder” or “Born Stupid” roughed you up. That’s compounded by a compression to the mix - possibly an artifact of the band's ridiculously short/punk as fuck recording session - that smashes the guitars into the cymbals, making it hard to latch on to the riffs (especially in a squashed mp3 format; physical formats fare better). But all the other familiar Wormrot elements are prominently pimped out for your enjoyment: the sarcastic humor ("You Suffer But Why is it My Problem" now joins the pantheon of "Seth Putnam is Wrong About a Lot of Things But Seth Putnum is Right About You" as one of my favorite song titles ever) and symbiotic interplay between Rasyid and Fitri (guitar and drums) is on a telepathic level at this point, which frees up frontman Arif to yap and slaver like a poorly socialized pitbull guarding his yard.
Dirge rocks really hard, and I don’t want this to sound overly negative – I’ve spent three months trying to sort out my feelings about this album, assessing whether my unreasonable expectations were at fault. Dirge will certainly blow your hair back and holds its own against the rest of the field in a really crowded year. There’s just that unquantifiable quintessence that’s missing.
If you need any more convincing, Earache is giving the album away as a free download.

[Full disclosure: I bought my copy as soon as it came out, but after I wrote this post and had it queued up Earache sent me both the LP and CD/DVD versions.]

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grindcore Alphabet: Q, R

Where are you, Q? No, I don’t mean beloved bygone character actor Desmond Lleweyn who gadgeted up James Bond before so many of his missions. I mean where is the grindcore Q? Folks, this is the first letter where I’ve completely struck out. Not a one as far as I can find. I’m probably wrong, and I’ll be delighted if you correct me because right now there’s no joy in Mudville; the mighty Casey Andrew has struck out.
But R, now there’s a proper, respectable grindcore letter. Luckily it more than carries its weight this week, making up for that bum Q’s laziness.LinkHere’s your letters Q and R mixtape [Mediafire]:

Resistant Culture – “Beneath the Concrete” (United States)
Rune – “Four Season Landmark” (United States)
Rato Raro – “Naturalmuerte” (Brazil)
Rot – “Back to the Punk Days” (Brazil)
Rise Above – “Else” (Japan)
Repulsion – “Crematorium” (United States)
Rehumanize – “Planet Laodicea” (United States)
Rotten Sound – “Edge” (Finland)
Realized – “Dominated” (Japan)
Righteous Pigs – “I Hope You Die in a Hotel Fire” (United States)
Retaliation – “Retribution” (Sweden)
Red – “Divided Grief Burns You” (Japan)
Rudimentary Peni – “Alice Crucifies the Paedophiles” (England)
Robocop – “Feminism Uber Alles” (United States)
Relevant Few – “Fake Healer” (Sweden)
Reversal of Man – “Butterflies” (United States)

Total to date: 306 bands

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

G&P Review: No Gang Colors

No Gang Colors
Honorary Cop

Grindcore Karaoke
Suburban punk and grindcore kids have been appropriating cop-hating hip hop tropes since at least Plutocracy roamed the plains, but it seems like it’s really flourished in recent years with bands like Magrudergrind and Marion Berry swiping urban culture trappings to spruce up their otherwise traditional grind and power violence beatings, making it a permanent part of their aesthetic. The latest three-songs-and-an-intro outing from No Gang Colors revels in mashing up a new wave of power violence/electronics savagery that sears and seethes, using hip hop samples and other urban accoutrements to underscore the EP’s overall anti-cop raison d'etre.
Overall, Honorary Cop is more atmospheric than This is Your God. Instead of beating you about the head and shoulders with digitized Man is the Bastard-style prostrations, No Gang Colors this time out prefer to burrow under the skin with crackling electronic ambiance, seeking out the arterial highway to the cortex to attack your thoughts at the source.
Honorary Cop is nearly synesthetic in approach, approximating sound as a physical force – a buzzing, swarming sound that snaps with washes of overdriven white noise, crackling the edges of the instruments and the vocals, melting all the components into a single, blurred sledge of blunt-edged noise.
I'd have liked for Honorary Cop to be a tad long - a mere five minutes is a bit of a dick tease - but it's another great hint at what this young band is capable of bringing to bear should they break out into long player territory.

[Full disclosure: the band sent me a review copy.]

Monday, May 16, 2011

Demo-lition Derby: The Rabid Terror

The Rabid Terror
Is Australia secretly breeding melodic death metal bands as some sort of Blofeldian bid for world domination? Clearly, The Fevered’s secret Dark Tranquillity cloning operation was just the first phase in a much larger, more intricately twined plot that’s hatching before our eyes because The Rabid Terror may have advanced the calendar another decade, ripping out an amalgam of hummable Swede death and breakdowny hardcore, but they’re essentially swiping from the same song book as their countrymen. So now the question has to be asked: fer chrissakes, why?
The Fevered I gave a pass cuz I’m a nostalgic old fuck who remembers the first wave of melodic death with Alzheimery fondness, but I was already over the whole thing before the Kill Switch Engages and Darkest Hours et al began Xeroxing a Photostat of a Polaroid of the original. Another 10 years on, I’m just not sure how much life can be wrung from that desiccated corpse. Now far be it from me to shit on others’ sub-sub-sub-genre preferences (I’ve been listening to Napalm Death clones for 20 years), but melodic hardcore boomed so big and fell so hard, it’s almost impressively stubborn to see a young band try their hand at something so passé.
The Rabid Terror’s four song demo sounds perfectly fine, each instrument and the vocals are clear and meaty and have a nice physical presence. The songs run a tad long for my taste (the 3 to 4 minute range) and just never manage to establish a unique presence. Helen Keller could see the gigantic breakdown in the middle of opener “Eternally Enslaved” coming before the guitarist peels off the first tremolo bar squeal. Otherwise, things careen between In Flames oompah bounce and cargo pantsed circle pitting. This is not to my taste. It's one for the true melodic death/hardcore devotees only. It's free for download on their Facebook page. If that's your thing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Grindcore Alphabet: O, P

The fictional Mayberry, N.C., home of Opie and Andy is smack in the heart of pork BBQ country, and even if those southern heathens slather their pork with mustard sauces (Kansas City style BBQ with a slice of Wonder Bread all the way, baby!), I have to admit it’s hard to fuck up a slow cooked rack of pork ribs sizzling with a tangy sauce. Apparently grindcore likes to dig on the swine as well. While we’ve previously dined on the rare delicacy of long pig way back at L, this time around you’ll be picking gristly bits of Pig Destroyer, Pignation and Pigsty from between your molars (and there’s another slab of pork teed up when we hit the Rs as well).
Here’s your letters O and P mixtape [Mediafire]:

The Orion Code – “The Orion Code” (United States)
Phobia – “Stink Head” (United States)
PSUDOKU – “Big Crunch” (Norway)
Phantomsmasher – “Scrolling Sideways” (United States)
The Oily Menace – “What Are You Fightin’ For? (Phil Ochs cover)” (United States)
Pg. 99 – “We Left as Skeletons” (United States)
Psychoneurosis – “Society” (Poland)
Population Reduction – “Amish Meth Dealer” (United States)
Pigsty – “Demon Alcohol” (Czech Republic)
P.L.F. – “Unseen Deceiver” (United States)
Owen Hart – “You’ll See 8 Years Olds in Hell” (United States)
O.L.D. – “Colostomy Grab Bag” (United States)
Parlamentarisk Sodomi – “Klaebukronikene (De Anarkistke An(n)aller)” (Norway)
The Parallax View – “Armed With Scripture and Functional Rationality” (United States)
Plague Rages – “Ter” (Brazil)
Pig Destroyer – “Preacher Crawling” (United States)
Obligatorisk Tortyr – “Under Ytan” (Sweden)
Psycho – “Nicotine Addiction” (United States)
Ojciec Dyktator – “Love Life of Michael K.” (Poland)
Otophobia – “Hardcore Kids Have the Coolest Tattoos” (United States)
Pignation – “Satan Saves” (Poland)
Plutocracy – “Erupt” (United States)
Poppy Seed Grinder – “Monument of Depravity” (Czech Republic)

Total to date: 290 bands

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

G&P Review: Noisear [UPDATE]

Update: Blogger's been having some problems the last 24 hours or so. Posts and comments seem to be disappearing. That's not anything I'm doing. Hopefully the blogging overlords get this straightened out soon.

Subvert the Dominant Paradigm

When Maury Povich reads off the paternity test results, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Lethargy had been sexing up Noisear’s mom before skipping town with the circus to spread the message of calliope-core to the rest of the world. Oh sure, stepdad Discordance Axis did a fine job raising the kid in deadbeat dad's absence, and his influence is pervasive throughout Relapse debut Subvert the Dominant Paradigm (the riffing on “Waiting to Be Born” is pure Rob Marton worship), but that legacy from Lethargy could notLinkbe suppressed forever. That squeaky, squeally, skronky energy is an undeniable recessive gene.
So given the band’s influences are blindingly obvious, the dominant paradigms are going to walk away a bit less subverted than advertised. However, after standing out as the darlings of This Comp Kills Fascists Vol. 2, Noisear have bent their influences into something identifiably their own. Sleek Discordance Axis icepicks like “Global Warning” swap in and out with angular freakouts like “Fraudulent,” which sways and bounces like a snake charming tune penned by Lethargy.
The only thing that could derail Noisear’s bid to permanently join the grindcore aristocracy is one of the worst cases of the Curse of the Final Song in recent memory. Closing out the album, “Noisearuption,” which gobbles up half the album’s 40 minute run time with an excruciatingly awful , pointless, grating wipeout of electronic superfluity. When you’re on the cusp of a defining musical statement, do not squander half your audience’s allotted attention with something deliberately designed to piss them the fuck off. Stop one song short and enjoy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

G&P Review: Winters in Osaka

Winters in Osaka
Mutual Collapse
Mutual Collapse, Winters in Osaka’s latest static-stained assault on your higher rational functions, is like listening to EVP recordings made in Hell. Ghastly voices and groans creak by amid scouring waves of tortured FX box noise and fast, fleeting glimpses of tortured-souled humanity. I bet “Baby Pop” is the kind of jam Pinhead the Cennobite likes to put on when he wants to relax after a long day of showing people what pain’s face really looks like.
I bought Winters in Osaka’s Swarm of Witches a few years ago by happy accident because of its list of collaborators from bands like Spazz and Brutal Truth (who return this outing as well), mistakenly assuming it would be more power of the violence rather than electronics persuasion. Mistaken conceptions aside, I found myself enjoying it more than I would have expected. Not that it’s a regular listen or anything. Mutual Collapse improves the plot with a less directly abrasive sound. Instead, it relies on subtly satanic machinations, attacking through indirection and slowly suffocating atmosphere. It’s a far more effective approach, in my opinion. The almost languorous atmosphere, building up to the 20 minute “Stairwell,” reminds me of Hunter S. Thompson saying in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas that he would tune a TV to a dead channel and chill out to the white noise when riding out a bad trip. “Toll” sounds like field recordings of some disaster made through a fog of dreamy distance and fading memory. The anxiety is there, but it’s less immediate, the dangers unknown and only marginally understood.
There’s a lot of ways power electronics albums can go horrifically wrong, overstaying its welcome being chief among the most common sins. But Mutual Collapse hovers at a friendly half an hour or so and keeps most songs tight and focused. It knows the horror you see from the corner of your eye is far more evocative than the bloody wreckage splashed up for close perusal.

[Full disclosure: WiO sent me a review copy.]

Friday, May 6, 2011

Grindcore Alphabet: N

How to deal with Napalm Death? Arguably, the band has two (possibly three or four) distinct incarnations of various grindiness. I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume most of you are intimately familiar with grind’s first family, but in the interest of completeness, Napalm will be the only the second band to get double billing in a mixtape (Repulsion also got a shoutout to their early Genocide incarnation). The title track of From Enslavement to Obliteration will represent the early years while my favorite Utopia Banished tune should do the Barney years justice.
Oh, and there’s also a shitload of other great bands whose names start with N. And a lot of them are really, really fucking weird.
Here’s your letter N mixtape [Mediafire]:

Non Compos Mentis – “Come on In” (United States)
Nyia – “Of Power” (Poland)
N.I.B.I.R.U. – “The History of Enslavement” (United States)
No Gang Colors – “This Jug Kills Fascists” (United States)
Napalm Death – “Dementia Access” (England)
Nothing More to Eat – “Crackwhore Zombies” (Finland)
Neurosis – “Training” (United States)
Noisear – “Fraudulent” (United States)
Nasum – “I See Lies” (Sweden)
Nashgul – “Crematorio” (Spain)
Naked City – “Osaka Bondage” (United States)
Noism – “Computer Illiterate” (Japan)
Negligent Collateral Collapse – “The Facts” (Czech Republic)
Narcosis – “It’s Not a Birthmark, It’s a Bruise” (England)
Nyctophobic – “Restless” (Germany)
Napalm Death – “From Enslavement to Obliteration” (England)
Nuclear Death “Lurker in the Closet: A ‘Fairy’ Tale” (United States)
No Comment – “A Mother’s Crime” (United States)

Total to date: 267 bands

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

G&P Review: Cellgraft

Deception Schematic
No Reprieve
After I’d carefully re-applied the socks that Florida’s Cellgraft had knocked off with last year’s top-10 worthy External Habitation, the band comes roaring back into 2011 with a new 7-inch’s worth of music that’s even better. Deception Schematic is more ferocious, more densely knotted, more aggressively abrasive than before. Cellgraft hasn’t deviated a micron from their Assuck-by-way-of-Discordance Axis frenzy. Rather, they’ve turned in an album that verily bleeds adrenaline. It’s hard to sit still listening to Deception Schematic.
Cellgraft have clearly grown in the last year both in the rehearsal room and in the recording studio. The guitar tone that had been a tad thin and trebly on External Habitation — the only weak point to the whole outing — is now a scooped out, refined weapon of skull destruction that roars at the forefront of the songs, jockeying with the full-throated growls and wipe out wails for dominance. Songwise, Cellgraft also continue to stun whether it’s the ominously building funnel cloud that is “To Achieve the Lesser Stone” – the only of the 11 songs to crack a minute – or the sucker punch seven seconds of “Gestalt Paroxysm.” The closing blastbeat from “Civilization Comes, Civilization Goes” is a candidate for one of the seven wonders of the grindcore world.
You can snap up the physical copy from the good people at No Reprieve records, but both the band and label are just as content for you to head straight to Mediafire for a nice, high quality download. Either way, this one’s a must. Look for Cellgraft to crack the top 10 again this year and a take a run at the upper echelon.
[Full disclosure: No Reprieve sent me a download.]

Monday, May 2, 2011

G&P Review: Total Fucking Destruction

You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…. And that, I think, was the handle – that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting – on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


Total Fucking Destruction

Translation Loss
Three albums in, Total Fucking Destruction have established themselves as grindcore trickster messiahs. Shifty shamans dealing slippery truths, the band has evolved far beyond being Rich Hoak’s yoga routine during Brutal Truth hiatuses (hiati?). So the most surprising curveball served up by third album Hater is just how straightforward it is. No acoustic odes. No yoga-jazz freakouts. Just 27 spastic lashings of freakazoid Hunter Thompson grind that burrow straight for the pineal gland. Total Fucking Destruction has always relied on sly, snide social commentary draped in a near-Buddhist need for repetition and mantra. Hater finds the band slimming everything down to the deceptively simple koan at each song’s core. The only digression from the grindcore center is a distinct rock swing that propels songs like “Hate Mongering Pig Pandemonium” and “Everything You Need But Nothing You Want.” “I Not Pose” gets that droney, repetition thing just right while “Time Theft” is the auditory distillation of the schizophrenic hallucination that perfectly represents Hater’s amazing charms.
Where too many bands are content to wallow in unimaginative repetition of grindcore tropes past, there’s always something expansive, explosive and challenging about Total Fucking Destruction’s full commitment, body bomb art. While they may have finished dead last in the grindcore tournament, TFD’s all gonzo assaults have resonated (resin-ated?) with me more than Brutal Truth’s post-reunion offerings. If you’ve panned them in the past, Hater could be the gateway drug to Total Fucking Destruction’s grindfreak railroad.

[Full disclosure: the label provided me with a download.]