Bestial Machinery (ANb Discography vol. 1)
Agoraphobic Nosebleed's two part M.O. has been patently obvious from day one: aggressive absurdity delivered with absurd aggression. With no mortal drummer capable of delivering the high velocity BPMs required (though Mjolnir incarnate Dave Witte was briefly in discussions to back up some live shows), band linchpins Scott Hull and J. Randall took a page from future co-conspirator Richard Johnson of Enemy Soil and invested in a good drum machine (since replaced by insanely detailed MIDI sequencing). Their robotic collaborator provided that inhuman jolt that underscored the musical and lyrical ferocity that defines Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
ANb albums -- whatever length -- are an emotional marathon. Even their EPs are designed to be an exhaustive, draining experience. PCP Torpedo is less than 10 minutes long but it will leave you beaten down and wrung out. Even when the band crammed 100 songs onto the landmark 3-inch CD Altered States of America, they managed to do it all in the space of your average sitcom -- sans commercials.
So when the band scraped together all of their early split, comp and EP appearances into a two disc, 136 song, two hour package, the result is probably the most brutalizing musical outing ever compiled. This is weaponized aggression with a reckless disregard for the paying fans who keep them balls deep in pills and glorious Florian Bertmer art. And the title, Bestial Machinery (ANb Discography vol. 1) makes me tired just reading it because it promises yet another installment at some point in the future.
At their very best, discographies are a funhouse mirror that force you to view your favorite artist from new angles. Bestial Machinery pummels you with wave after wave of relentlessly mechanical violence. If 15 minutes of ANb is enough to brutalize your soul, two straight hours (because my OCD demands I listen to both discs straight through) will permanently jaundice your outlook on humanity in general. Bestial Machinery also helps put into perspective the band's sudden leap from microgrind spree killers to digital crossover punks on Agorapocalypse when you listen to the band shred through covers from Corrosion of Conformity and DRI. While I definitely prefer Nosebleed's older material, it's a refreshing experience to realize what you thought was a snap shift in perspective was something lurking there the whole time. Agoraphobic Nosebleed dropped a PCP torpedo on all you reduced honkeys that altered the state of grindocre's frozen corpse; Bestial Machinery helps put the birth of that revolution in perspective.