Thursday, October 01, 2009

Make It Loud

Below, verbatim and unexpurgated, a post we wrote for last Xmas and, as usual, never got round to putting up, probably because it was a bit rubbish, but then we were writing as we were listening, no doubt high on yuletide sherry, the hint of glinting December frost and the promise of a home win on Boxing Day (which predictably enough didn't happen). We resurrect the post in this forum now because most of the music deserves drawing attention to, even if it also deserves rather more poised and fluid prose.

Since this was written: (1) a number of the bands referred to have come up with full-length albums, in some cases allowing us to plunder liberally from the text below in the other place; (2) the best band have (definitely) split up, albeit leaving a transcedent swansong; (3) it turns out that the band we thought were called "the Rotators" are actually just called plain Rot (the research dept have been disciplined accordingly); and (4) Paulo Sousa was sacked by QPR, and is now strolling the touchline at the Teen Anthems' own beloved Swansea City.

"This Christmas Kills Fascists

'Tis the season of good cheer, which means the Christmas card from us here at le palais d'in love with these times in spite of these times to thank you for your patience and online friendship this year is a much-delayed scribble on what you lot would call metal, but to be honest, it's all just music. We therefore give you, ladies and gentlemen, Relapse's "This Comp Kills Fascists" and "Slimewave: Goregrind Series" assortments, respectively a 51-track "power violence" collection and a 44-track goregrind primer, both compiled by Scott Hull off of Pig Destroyer and featuring in total 26 bands of varying fi levels never exceeding low-to-middling. "Comp" clocks in at a worryingly long 56 minutes and "Slime" at waaaay over an hour, meaning according to our basic GCSE maths skillz that each artist gets a generous four-minute slab of time in which to make an impression. The summaries below aim to keep things equally brief. Marks out of 10.

Record One: This Comp Kills Fascists

Agents of Satan (tracks 1-4)

Interesting aperitif, this: "Doomryder" is kinda singalonga-grindcore, suggesting that these guys don't take themselves too seriously - mebbe a kind of Casio-free Trencher from over the water: "Let God Sort 'Em Out" is both the shortest and best example of their frazzled noisecore ingenuity, a frantic landgrab of careering guitar. A solid start. 6.5

Weekend Nachos (tracks 5-8)

Ooh, much more NYHCish, these, even though the Nachos hail from Illinois - but if it turned out that they hadn't been listening to Cro-Mags or Youth of Today, we'd feel able to pronounce ourselves surprised. What's even better, they also sound like they might have been influenced by the slightly thrashier sort of bands that were on the US 12" on North Atlantic Noise Attack - you know, Desecration, Fear Itself, Emily's Sassy Lime (only joking on the last one). The guitars jump, dive, and from time to time *chug*, in all the right places. Nice lyrics, too. Excellent. 9.5

Kill The Client (tracks 9-11)

Much heavier and more metallic than Weekend Nachos, KTC have a name that those of us working in the service industry will fully identify with ("clients" being the inescapable modern term for those invariably needy short-fuse upstart members of the human race formerly known as "customers" or, indeed, "punters"). "False Flag Attack" starts things off with energy and aggression aplenty: they finish with "Shithouse Lawyer", a song we would like to dedicate to the legal profession generally for its dedication to killing music (sample clearance, pirate radio, delaying the "R Is For Razorcuts" by about a million years, making Firestation Tower change their name, you know the sort of thing). 6

Spoonful of Vicodin (tracks 12-17)

Ouch. Very little messing here from the Rochester boy / girl duo - there's happily nil that's self-regarding about the unlovin' Spoonful's messed up, lo-fi shoutcore, average track length 25 secs and sample title "Our Explanations Are Longer Than Our Songs", but they're more tuneful (nota bene, a relative term!) than other short-form shoutcoresters like A.C. These six tunes amply demonstrate that SoV have learned the essential secret of fine songcraft: a number should never outstay its welcome: so, 7

Maruta (tracks 18 & 19)

Hmm. A bit too serious, in this company, with structured albeit fairly detuned songs that are almost epically long in this context (erm, approaching three minutes), yet unable to achieve the dizzy heights that Skinless et al have managed in the past with similar raw materials). No disgrace, but just doesn't quite fit with the rampant - borderline insane - pace of much of the rest of the record. 5.5

Insect Warfare (tracks 20-23)

Fucking hell, these are amazing. This is grind of the late-80s school, a bewitching blast midway between the first Napalm Peel Sessions and some of Nasum's turn-of-century hommages to the "golden era" grindcore, um, outfits. "Information Economy" goes first, catching the touchpaper immediately before "Cellgraft" jumps aboard and fans the flames. And "Disassembler" is utterly astonishing - a touch of Terrorizer's "Fear of Napalm" simply in the sense that it's impossible not to dance to the rhythmic bursts of riffage (before they're mercilessly torpedoed by curt, brutal barrages of noise and vocals). In all truthfulness, the single best song of 2008. Finally, "Cancer of Oppression" sees the Texans mash it up a little, a towering, tottering groove before the blastbeats re-emerge. Sublime stuff, really. There seems to be a suggestion that the band have now split up, but that's too depressing for us to contemplate right now - America (and the world) need Insect Warfare. 10, and even that's a bit harsh.

Shitstorm (tracks 24-29)

Very impressive, this lot, following on from their refreshing split LP with Magrudergrind last year: the first five ditties, lovably brutish mini-anthems all, clock in at under 30 seconds each, the opening "Paranoid Existence" and "Burning Alive" being especially bracing, before the 'Storm conclude with piece de resistance, "Mince Meat Human", a fully-fledged 57 seconds' worth of rock. 9.5

Man Will Destroy Himself (tracks 30 & 31)

"Fuse", as it would need to be following all that, is bright as a button, the sort of song that might be ripe for "Leaders Not Followers 3", if ever we were granted that audio fantasy. 6.5

Total Fucking Destruction (tracks 32-34)

We spat a few words out on Brutal Truth spin-off TFD last year, so you know what to expect here: rather than straight-down-the-line noise power, TFD like to mess things up *a lot*, meaning these 3 tracks provide a soupcon of light and shade in what is otherwise a procession of super-bpm power. The titles - "Human Is the Bastard", "In the Process of Correcting Thinking Errors" and "Welcome to the Fascist Corporate Wastelands of America, Pt. 1" - perfectly reflect the content. 7

Chainsaw To The Face (tracks 35-38)

More unreconstructed, choppy shortcore grind. "Hating Life" and "Skewered" are like being tackled by Norman Hunter and punched by Billy Bremner at the same time as Peter Lorimer lines up a 20-yarder straight into your crown jewels. If we had to choose a favourite it would be "Burnt to Death", although "Ripped In Half" gets close with its moshworthy intro. 9

Magrudergrind (tracks 39-41)

Ooh yes. As we're coming to expect with this bunch from DC, a trio of very high quality numbers. "Heavy Bombing" tops the lot, joyful grindcore stylings whose meandering riffola culminates in a quickly-barked tribute to the many joys of graffiti. Absolutely belting. 9.5

Brutal Truth (tracks 42-45)

And talking of Brutal Truth, they're *back*, notwithstanding band member dalliances with TFD or the awesome - we use this word advisedly and in its correct sense - Venomous Concept. "Turmoil" is the pick of these Noo York gems, a kick up the Rs that could teach Paolo Sousa a thing or two. 7.5

ASRA (tracks 46-48)

Blokes with a bit of a thing about disease: "Chytridiomycosis" and "Cancer" refer. "Pig Squealer" is better, but only really because its title reminds us of the end of the first episode of Porridge. All fair enough then, but a little joyless compared to the swirly impishness of Agents of Satan or the Vicodin guys. 6

Wasteoid (tracks 49-51)

Not precisely a whimper, but nothing classic to end on. Their inspiration tends to end with the song titles ("Drink N Hand", "Bangover" and "Handcuffed and Fucked"): our inspiration dries up here. 5.5

Record Two: Slimewave

Straight alphabetical tracklist this time... thought occurs that if they'd done this on C86 it would have started with A Witness, biG*fLAME and Bogshed. Probably. Which would have been sheer heaven.

Antigama (tracks 1-3)

Mmm, more shouty blokes, apparently from Warsaw. "I Know You Want Something", they coo. And "Softer" isn't. 5

Bathtub Shitter (track 4)

Just the one track from the Japanese veterans, which seems very decadent in the circs, a bit like Civilised Society only having one on North Atlantic Noise Attack. This one's called "World Dune Hole" and it ambles along to a crusty groove, a bit like Unsane heard through a thick wall. 5.5.

Cripple Bastards (tracks 5-9)

We reckon all these tracks are on their FETO LP, "Variante Alla Morte", anyway, which is actually a pretty good LP, even if the longer tracks are actually much more disposable than the ten or so sub-five second ones - the band tend to get lost in the rather unappealing fantasies that they reflect in the drawn-out songs, while the short bursts often seem remarkably poetic aswell as recalling, yep, Napalm Death's first Peel Session, the template on which all radio sessions ever should properly be based. The Bastards have come a long way since those early demos of theirs that you can hear on "Grind Your Mind": compared to those, these productions might as well be Eno and Lanois. Of the five merry melodies on display, "Implaceabile Verso Il Suo Buio" is pretty much the highlight. In summary: slightly short of cigar, get the album instead. 6.5

Inhume (tracks 10-11)

Ooh, this is pretty neat. Very neat. Kind of lo-fi crustgrind from Holland which chugs along oddly serenely, well as serenely as lo-fi crustgrind can without overstretching the boundaris of language. The singing reminds us a bit of Mortician: it certainly isn't human, sounding more like a dog, or possibly a dinosaur. Actually, the chilling 'vocal' bit at the end of the mighty "Moulding The Deformed" doesn't sound like any creature that's ever inhabited God's earth. Hear it, believe it. 8.5

Japanische Kampfhorspiele (tracks 12 to 16)

Clean, angular, if slightly unhinged grind-type nuggets as we leap twixt borders again, this time to Germany (you'd probably guessed that much). "Der Westen Ist Geschockt" and "Das Metalcore Konzert" are the pick, probably just for having the best titles. There's also a rather pointless instrumental before things round off with the obligatory 30-second number, "Mann Dreht Mann Durch Fleischwolf". 6

Machetazo (tracks 17 to 19)

There are a lot of excellent Spanish bands out there, but we're not sure Machetazo are quite amongst them: they seem a little too fond of rubbishy horror-flick samples. We'll stick with the pure grindcore of Looking For An Answer et al. Oh, and the joyous pop of Zipper, of course. 5.5

Mumakil (tracks 20 to 22)

These are alright, and who'd have known that Geneva has been sheltering a proto-grindcore band. "Cloning The Pope" wins the war of the titles, although "Hide The Jerk" is probably the best tune to sample first. 6.5

The Rotators (tracks 23 to 27)

Off to Sao Paulo now, after all that grinding around the European continent, for some not-so-samba beach metal. The name doesn't seem to fit them - it makes them sounds more like some kind of new wave band, or maybe Riot City-style semi-crusty punkers - but this is more perfectly serviceable, slightly growling grind. "Fairytales", in particular, is as charming a way as any to spend fifteen seconds of your life. 7

Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition (tracks 28 to 30)

Oh *yes*. At last - another "find"! No prizes for guessing who inspired the band name, but these groovy three concertos from this French combo are actually pretty dynamic rather than simply sludgey - identifiable hooks etc, and a keen cantering pace, even if the vocalist sounds like he's wallowing around in a swamp of his own making. Very good indeed. 9

Throat Plunger (tracks 31 to 35)

Whereas this... isn't. Despite promising Spoonful of Vicodin-like titles, "Genre Ruiner" and "Jacked Up On China White / Steroids While Driving A Bomb Into..." are just a bit too pointless, while the other three songs live down to their charmless porno-gore titles. We do admire the Plunger's wider manifesto, which is something about ruining music, or similar. But it's not enough. 3

Total Fucking Destruction (tracks 36 to 39)

TFD obviously are sufficiently "in" with Mr. Hull to get on both these comps, which at least is another opportunity for us to witness their increasingly unrestrained aural madness, this time via "Necroanarchist", "Hammer Smashed Gore Fan" (we think they mean the genre rather than the more-than-mighty and recently recompiled Dutch Peel band) and the sweetly-titled "Fuckwound". As with their "Zen" album, we also get a bit of 'acoustic' TFD (in this case, inevitably, it's "Hammer Smashed Acoustic Gore Fan") which provides perhaps the most 'relaxed' minute or two on the whole CD. 6.5

XXX Maniak (tracks 40 to 44)

Pretty juvenile stuff, again, and not in a good way, although the sledgehammer-subtle 35 seconds of "Attending The Graduation Of Someone You Fucked 10 Years Ago" holds a certain shouty minimalist charm, aswell as an uncomfortable sprinkling of inner truth. 5.5

The Verdict

You know what all the best compilations do ? They send you scurrying in several directions at once trying to catch up with the bands that you've just been introduced to. So on that measure alone, both these CDs merit eager praise.

But it's clear from the average scores (GCSE maths again: 7.5 to 6.2083 with a recurring 3, and mathematics doesn't lie) that the US-centric "This Comp", in the end, defeats the rather more international "Slimewave" relatively easily, proving the morally incontrovertible FACT that when the day of judgment draws upon us grindcore will ultimately triumph over goregrind, despite our welcome introduction to Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition and Inhume courtesy of the latter disc.

More importantly, though, for anyone who reads this, thanks for bearing with us. Again. Happy Christmas one and all."


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