total fucking destruction "zen and the art of total fucking destruction" (bones brigade, cd album): pig destroyer "phantom limb" (relapse, cd album): various artists "grind your mind - a history of grindcore 1984-2007" (mayan, 2x cd): a.c. "defenders of the hate" (menace to sobriety, cd)





still waiting in vain for those alleged sportique or secret shine albums ? disappointed by the new obituary and camera obscura singles ? us too, so here are (let's just add them up) 122 reasons to be cheerful right now.

TFD start by firing off 10 shards of excitement in 18 minutes without blinking: a cover of terrorizer's "enslaved by propaganda" is just about the best, but to be fair, like the chelsea outfield, the ten pretty much hang together as a unit. the actual noise that TFD make is hard to pin down completely: it's kinda stop-start hardcore math-grind with a very tough, serrated lo-fi edge that recalls repulsion in places, but is best summed up by the way a song like "we are all elvis now" mixes the hardcore and grindcore influences - and sometimes, as on "corpse position", we swear we can almsost here some melodies struggling to escape from the genre melee. meanwhile lyrically it's "elvis" and "y.a.r.n." (aka "youth! apocalypse! right! now!", one of the best sing-a-longa metal trax since napalm's "cock-rock alienation") that hit hardest, polemics against the creep of consumer culture. what happens after those first 10 tracks is rather strange, as TFD sign off with four straight acoustic numbers. if you were tempted to fast forward through these, well frankly you'd have been right to, although the final cut "nihilism, emptiness, nothingness, nonsense" at least sees them randomly co-opt piano, saxophone and monotone monkish chanting in order to end the album in a pleasingly quaking jazz-folk confusion.

bassless virginian combo pig destroyer, current posterboys for the short sharp shock that is modern grindcore, haven't yet done enough - for us - to justify lofty comparisons with the likes of napalm or nasum, or even with other notable police-haters like m.d.c. or n.w.a.. but "phantom limb" is, nevertheless, a positive step towards both: the songs are longer (actually averaging a very m.o.r.-ish 2 and three quarter minutes) but this gives pig destroyer a little licence to branch out into "reign of blood"-style riffcore (the debt to araya and co half-acknowledged with "girl in the slayer jacket", which could be a love song if it wasn't for the harrowing, true-story lyrical content). our personal fave though is "thought crime spree", a slight nod back to their more political earlier days, but that you can still dance - well, mosh - to. some might be chary of a band so openly aping music from the late 80s, but given that slayer are to thrash what talulah gosh are to twee, we think that this is (a) a good thing and (b) makes pig destroyer the metal equivalent of, say, liechtenstein (which in itself makes us need to lie down for a short while). also, after a powerful combined closing flourish of the slayer / terrorizer-ish "waist deep in ash" and "the machete twins", the album decides to ease off by ending with eight minutes of country & western and cicadas. very rum.

now. unlike relapse's "choosing death" a couple of years back, a compilation which served both as history lesson and close to musically flawless introduction to death metal, "grind your mind" (actually bankrolled by sanctuary records, and boasting sleevenotes by "choosing death" author albert mundrian, plus specially commissioned artwork from mark tichner) is initially more yer random scattergun collection of good, bad and ugly, a patchwork of licensing practicality rather than a sensibly cherrypicked essential collection. indeed, aside from discharge's "society's victim" to open, extreme noise terror's landmark "bullshit propaganda", a clutch of old-skool covers by napalm coralled from "leaders not followers part 2", the heart-lifting discovery of loving carcass copycats general surgery and a trio of sublime extracts from repulsion's beauteous, delicious debut, cd1 is more a lucky dip of dodgy second / third-wave punkers than a history of grind. having said that, in the same way that it's worth buying "choosing death" simply for siege's "walls", it's frankly worth purchasing "grind your mind" simply for siege's "cold war".

cd2, however, is proper sparkling, and its peaks inspire k2-worthy vertigo. they range (get it?) from vintage pig destroyer (q.v.) to a couple of typical pearlers from the late great nasum to napalm's bristling "fatalist" to reliably unyielding confections from bustling midfield workhorses like cephalic carnage and agathocles. but even better, and this should be the raison d'etre of any compilation worth its sodium chloride, it introduces previously unbeknownst bands to us (gosh, where have we been ?) like mortician, exhumed and regurgitator, for which we must be forever in its debt. also, we don't care who your favourite band are, they can surely never have recorded anything as simply thrilling, honey, as skinless's divine "trample the weak, hurdle the dead". unless your favourite band is actually skinless, in which case we must buy you a drink, and we're guessing it won't be a pimms and lemonade. obscure subgenre fans will also be pleased to see that the above mentioned sleevenotes thoughtfully dissect the differences between various subdivisions of grindcore, according to which your narrators are particular fans of deathgrind and, from time to time, noisegrind. wahay.

now, a.c. we note that one of the bonus video tracks on the TFD cd is called "seth putnam is wrong about a lot of things, but seth putnam is right about you". the a.c. frontman is, it's fair to say, often very wrong, often very offensive, often very unfunny. yet the general relentlessness over a decade or so of a.c.'s unbounded if goofy efforts to shock, whilst playing unallayed deathgrind (you see, we're learning) at warp speed, can also often raise smiles and expose home truths (the lyrics to "extreme noise terror are afraid of us" or "no we don't want to do a split 7 inch with your stupid band" being examples). plus, in the past a.c. have of course recorded the definitive versions of both "hungry hungry hippos" and emf's "unbelievable". and the opening track to "defenders", "all our fans are gay", is a classic example of how putnam's approach can actually hit the right spot, a combination of obverse self-deprecation and bitter negativity - "you think you know what we're singing about, you're wrong / you think we care about the underground - you're wrong".

"defenders of the hate" was originally issued some years back as a 7", but musically it is perhaps their strongest, dare we say it most focussed record, with discernible nods to production and (loosely) musicality, rather than solely trying to shoehorn in as many weak gags and banshee screams as possible. and this re-release, throwing in 10 extra tracks to bring the length of the cd to a staggering 20-ish minutes, is a better-distributed(ish) chance to appreciate their unforgiving celebration of the lowest common denominator.

after all that, it's definitely pens down. see you at carnival.

Comments

Anonymous said…
MANIAC PRODUCED MAINSTREAM MONEY, NOT DAVINCHE.
useless said…
...but the review was of "something about your smile", which is def produced by davinche... sorry if we didn't make ourselves clear...

what do you think to "star in the hood" ?

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