Thursday, April 3, 2014

In Disgust/SFN - Split Review

I honestly can't believe I'm finally getting to review this record. FINALLY, after years 
of far to little updates, record plant qualms, etc. The long awaited split 1-sided 7" between SFN and In Disgust is out and available to purchase, and I finally get to review an In Disgust record! Man, I remember reading about this split a few years ago on the Drugged Conscience label site. Back then it was going to be a 5", and all it said that it was coming out soon, no other details. I believe this was after I was still healing from the soul crushing news of their break-up, so I was excited as can be! The thought of new material, even after disbanding warmed my heart. On top of that, they would be sharing wax with the incredible SFN! 

In Disgust are a band that has over the past several years become widely accepted and loved by grind fans around the globe. A simple power trio from San Jose who created some of the most beastly and crushing grindcore I've ever heard from 2006-2010. I don't think I have to introduce the infamous "Reality Choke" 10" to any of you, or get into explaining the fucking masterpiece that it is. Seriously, it's in my top 5 favorite grindcore records ever. To this day, I still get that I-wanna-destroy-something feeling when I listen to it. It hasn't lost a drop of it's intensity in the 6+ years since it's release. Though it was a record that they never really managed to top in my opinion. They came close with their side of their split 12" with PLF, but then called it quits in 2010. Laying any chance they had to outdo themselves to rest. But now we have this split, reconfigured as a single sided 7", featuring almost a minute and a half of new In Disgust material. 

So I've been listening to it over and over and over again, and each time I keep having the same thoughts: What the fuck is going on here?! What is this? What happened? Did all of them just get the most insane fetishes for microsongs and feedback? Or an overpowering OCD phobia of writing songs with more then two riffs? Or even writing songs in general? Need I remind you that this is the recorded comeback of one of the best bands in modern grind, and their final conclusion was to put four songs to wax and have half of it be feedback? That's seriously what's on here, there is an equal amount of feedback to actual music. And no, it's not just because they were given a short amount of space for split, this is just lazy songwriting. I have no idea when this recording session actually took place (it was at least before 2013), but this shouldn't be acceptable for any release from a band of this caliber.  It's like they were just given half an hour of studio time available and came up with stuff on the spot! I'm shocked that the same band who gave us "To Live A Lie" settled with "Sketch" (one second of blast, four open string hits, 2 more second of blast, end). Oh please, say it isn't so that the band that wrote "Cali Smile" also put out "Steel Trap" (a 30 second instrumental with one riff). Matt's incredible growl vocals aren't even here, come on! To me this is just a huge middle finger to anyone that waited for this record. I was not expecting just the sheer amount of laziness or lack of ambition that smothers these tracks. This is In Disgust we're talking about, they have it in them to do so much better then this. Fortunately, the SFN tracks are definitely no disappointment. This sadly broken up Wisconsin grind trio bring three posthumous tracks to the table, and they proudly display everything I love about this band. Incredibly tight and frenzied songwriting with much more colorful and inventive riffs and drumming then fast bands normally use. SFN waste no time ripping everything apart on their "side"; riffs and snare rolls fly out at warp speed under some genuinely aggro sounding vocals. Here more then ever, SFN sound to me like an excellent hybrid of Sidetracked and Iron Lung. SFN are masters of that herky-jery/stop-start songwriting style, but still manage to be heavy, gritty sounding. Using lots of dissonance and sudden tempo shifts for extra beef. On top of that, this is the best recording they've ever had. This here, is a good way to go out. So in the end, I guess at least one band came out of this a winner. And It seems that In Disgust have broken up yet again, so yeah, I guess that's it. Bada boom. Not a way to great way to go out for good,  Listen to "Reality Choke".

Rating: 5/10

~VII

New Phobia 7" EP To Be Released! Gee, Wonder What It Will Sound Like.


West Coast grindcore legends in the flesh, Phobia, are spearheading what I'm sure will be one of several releases for 2014. One of the longest running and most consistent bands in grindcore, almost reaching 25 years of existence. Phobia always have been a band that I can rely on to supply me with a very solid, easy to get into bunch of songs with every release. It's a tried and true formula of just 100% no bullshit grindcore that they've stuck with through it all. So why not just cut to the chase, drop any bits of pretense they had to begin with, and just flat out call your new EP "Grind Core"? That's "Grind (space) Core". Not even gonna give this title any shit. It's fucking Phobia, I can give them a pass this kind of stuff. Need I remind you that this is a band that's put out records called "Grind Your Fucking Head In" and "Loud Proud And Grind As Fuck". "Grind Core" seems totally fitting at this point. Honestly, I'm excited to hear this. Phobia really have been doing some quality work lately. Their last record, "Remnants Of Filth" was excellent, and I've enjoyed all their recent splits. I'd bet money that this record also features the guitar wizardry of Mr. Dorian Rainwater and either Danny Walker or Bryan Fajardo on the skins (can't go wrong with either). "Grind Core" will be released on Deep Six Records sooner then later I assume. No release date or any songs have been posted yet. There also seems to be talk of a full-length as well, we'll see what comes of that. And in addition, Willowtip Records will be reissuing remastered versions of "Means Of Existence" and the "Destroying The Masses" EP. I think I remember seeing on the Jesus Crøst Facebook page that they're doing a split 7" with Phobia too, damn right!

~VII

Sunday, March 30, 2014

INTHESHIT/Priapus - Split Review

I had heard of this splits inception quite a while ago, and I was worried that It would never see the light of day. Mostly due to Give Praise Record's (the label responsible for this release) recent interesting and almost complete 180 from releasing grind/fastcore, to putting out mostly weird thrash and oversea's punk rawk this last year. I was beginning to think that one of my favorite labels would never be the same again, and even more unfortunately, that the records that I had heard were coming out would never see the light of day. Thankfully, you can't keep this kind of grind down, and Give Praise is back on track and the fabled INTHESHIT/Priapus split is finally released. Boston's INTHESHIT are a group that I honestly haven't heard much from since I got their "King Of The Grindcore Jungle" tape back in 2012 or something. Three songs this time around, and my first time hearing their new singer. Who replaced the Jon Chang-esque vocals of "KotGJ" with more of a tuff, Ion Dissonance/Lack of Interest style. In a state who's biggest musical export right now seems to be unapologetic 80's/90's worshipping hardcore, it's not hard to see why this kind of delivery permeated the group. INTHESHIT have a massive sound on here, churning waves of guitars riffs and booming drums tumble and stampede over each other all over their side. It's a frenzied, flurried 3-song helping of punishing grind, but unfortunately they never seem to quite lock in together as a unit on here. Outside of a few slower breakdowns, the rest of this just sounds loose and not together. Not in a very charming way either. You know when you accidentally play a 45 RPM record at 33 RPM and the music sounds sort of bloated and stretched, it's kind of like that. It's not outright unenjoyable, but not something I can see myself returning too very often. Which makes the technical brutality of Priapus's 2-song contribution all the more explosive. Priapus, as you all should already know, are one of the most underrated grindcore bands going at this very moment. Some of the best stuff I label "tech-grind" around; crushingly heavy, tight, expertly recorded and mastered, and with Maruta, Pig Destroyer and Malignancy influences displayed proudly on their sleeves. OG actually debuted the opening track from their side "Adversus", on our site a while ago, and it's as awesome a track now as it was back then. Mach 3 gravity blasts and matching guitar noodling with a crushing, groovy breakdown riff towards the end, and some very nice vocal variations. The next track, "Failure Addict", and almost 3 minute riff machine track, full of colorful harmonics, and double bass that makes a jackhammer seem slow. Priapus are a great band for this kind of style, mainly due to their great song craft and chemistry as players. With most grind like this, it just seems like a bunch of dudes just trying to right stupidly complex music. Priapus on the other hand, while still being incredibly technical, still makes their songs stick out. Every vocal "bleah!", growl or scream seems to be thought out, and the guitars and drums compliment each other the same way Brian and Scott did in Pig Destroyer. Each instrument grooves together and helps make the other more impactful. Rest assured, I won't be surprised with Willowtip or Relapse snatches them up. Listen to the whole split here and be sure to buy the vinyl at Give Praise Records.

Rating: 7.5/10

~VII

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Gripe - "In His Image" Review

Operation Grindcore has had a long, mutually supportive and overall great relationship with Athen, GA's Gripe. One of the first bands I remember Andrew hyping me up on were these guys, and the support that we've maintained for each other over the last few years has been solid. So it's with a bit of sentimental proudness that I am happy to be finally reviewing their first (and sadly last) full length LP, "In His Image". A team-release effort from Hygiene and Witch Bukkake Records. With the return of their original singer DJ back on the mic. And this really does feel like a really excellent throwback to their first release, "The Future Doesn't Need You". Gripe's attack and message are clear, right from the Dystopia influenced opener "7 Billion Reasons Not To Reproduce". These guys got a bone to pick with quite a few people and corporate entities. Chances are they don't like you, and their gonna yell about it, a lot. A great return from DJ's shredded vocals!! I hope he didn't spit out a couple throat chunks after some of these takes. Lot's of varied vocals from high screams, growls, crusty barks and throaty wretches. All pissed, all in your ears. This is some excellent blast beaten hatred, by far their best and fullest recording too. It's a powerful recording, but they've maintained every bit of their raw, crusty sound. I guess a modern comparison would be the last few Sick/Tired EP's, that should give you some idea. Gripe always had this great collection of influences in their music, "In His Image" is no different. The strong Pig Destroyer and Assück sounds are still their, a few more dissonant riffs for some extra flavor. With some very good use's of slower tracks, particularly the closing track, "Snowden". I really appreciate when a grind band takes some time and tries to make the obligatory "slow closing track" a little more different. This track has a great dissolve from beastly dissonant grind into an excellent, layered slow dirge that end's on a seemingly unfinished note. A possible wishful sign that the band will maybe someday get back for a second and give us some new tunes. More grindcore psalms of anger as we get deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of this confusing world please! Excellent album, and a great finale for a great band. Listen to the record here. And you can pick up the limited edition "dead cop" splatter vinyl here as well as kick as records from Lifes, Short Walk, Beg, Abuse. and more!

Rating: 8.5/10

~VII

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seriously, Check Out This Vinyl Repress Of Caged Grave's Demo

Caged Grave were a band that I posted about at the tail end of 2013, regarding their excellent debut demo. They showcased some quality Vaccine-ish sounding fast hardcore with a more modern, HM-2 pedal abuse sound. Great stuff that I got hooked on instantly, and they were promptly added to the ever growing list of excellent Australian bands.  Functioning on a pure DIY work ethic, Caged Grave have so far recorded, produced, and released everything they've put out themselves. And if this self-released 7" re-release of said demo is any indication to the care, attention to detail and quality output for the future, then watch the fuck out. My particular copy was given to me very graciously by the band, a thousand thank you's.

(Photo's by VII)

The boys really went all out on the packaging with this one. Solid black vinyl with a large center label, and a flipping silk-screened box envelope to encase it. It's a super tidy, neat and honestly, very deluxe looking package. Like something that labels like Youth Attack! or Deathwish Inc. would make the "special addition" variant. When I first opened my package up I oogling over this whole presentation like it was a priceless gem stone.


A lyric sheet insert, download code, and a sticker are also included. Personalized note from the band, maybe included.



Now you all are probably saying "VII, this looks great, music's is great, I want this, tell me how to get this incredible record NOW!" Well dear reader, unfortunately you're a bit SOL unless someone decides to sell their copy online. Only 100 copies of this were made and it has since gone completely out of print. Bit of a bummer, no doubt, but Caged Grave seem to already be making a name for themselves in their home country, and record and release bits and pieces of new material on a semi-regular basis. A new record should be on the horizon, and you bet I'll be here to hype it up! Can't wait to see where this band goes. Check out the demo here.

~VII

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Music (Bleak, Ether Binge, Phyllomedusa, Archagathus)

The new jams have been flooding in at warp speed. A random perusal of bandcamp becomes an intimidating force of new and bizarre sounds to take in. I've been slacking around long enough, so let the hype train begin. Allow me to throw some of your favorite new tracks in ya di-rec-tion.

Starting off with a bit of an über-late 2013 release. The 2nd official demo of Syracuse, NY megalords of the heavy, Bleak. Though I say throw that fucking "Demo" title out the window, this is wayyy above any recording that should bear that title. This release is not grind, first and for most. Not a single blast beat graces these walls of sound, but goddamn this shit is just so good! The limitations of this blog will not be controlled by it's name dammit! But I digress. This recording is not for the faint of heart. It's heavy, ooooh man, it's heavy. Like something akin to a village being crushed by an avalanche. It's the kind of twisted sludgecore that hits me the same way as my favorite Gaza and Coalesce records. Learn up IMMEDIATELY! Listen here.


Ether Binge aka Victim Of A Drive-By, who impressed the hell out of me with their split tape with Chainsaw Squid (and have climbed their way up into becoming one of my favorite current grind bands), have blessed the world with four more tracks of their branded mutoid hypergrind. Sounding a million times better then their previous split as well. EB play a style of grind that I have really never ever heard before. The guitar/bass hybrid instrument that this band utilizes is utter perfection. Quite honestly some of the most interesting stuff I've heard come from a grind band in a while. These four tracks are on the upcoming 3-way split with Cancer Patient and Inzaine which will be released by the excellent Opaques Records. Also coming out on Opaques Records...An Ether Binge/Shooting Spree split 7" and a vinyl reissue of the Chainsaw Squid split. Unstoppable. Listen and become a believer here.


Phyllomedusa, of course. Been far too long since I gave my favorite amphibian worshipping noise god some love. Mr. Phyllo has been a bit of a busy guy, putting out a steady stream of new full lengths/EP's of all a wide variety of disgusting sounds. Bouncy, slam filled goregrind ("Puddle Dependency"), slow moving, atmospheric-doomy-blackened-noise ("Rainforests Are Only Pretty On The Outside"), straight up doom metal ("Empty Inside This Clear Skin"), harsh Japanoisecore worship with the new Toad Birth project, and of course that brutal gorenoise that I know and love ("Glorify The Plump"). Dude seems to just record literally whatever pops in his head. It's bewildering and all around impressive how this man pulls it all off, with consistently heavy results. Keel over and die right here.


New new Archagathus tracks! Fucking awesome!! Word of new recordings don't usually pop up on my radar before I actually hear of a new record that's come out, so word. First up, five tracks for an upcoming split tape (?) with Canadian goregrinders Hyperemesis. I guess in spirit of their split partners sound, the fella's have recorded some Regurgitate inspired gore tunes. The recent activity with Parfumerie probably isn't a far off influence as well. The boys do this style well, of course, and these tracks rip. In addition, there are also four new, untitled tracks for an upcoming EP entitled "Cold Universe". More down-tuned gore smeared grind on this too, but with better recordings. Seems like their rough mince roots are getting more and more put to the side so this tighter, more Euro-style sound can take over. I'm digging it so far, a lot. For a band with an output like Archagathus, I commend them for the continued quality. Love the green logo on the cover as well, nice touch. This EP will be released Spring 2014 on haunted Hotel and Coffee Grinder Records. Listen here.


~VII



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Disciples Of Christ - "Decomposition Fantasy" Review

Playing a teeny bit of catch up here, as this record was kinda-technically released in 2013. Had I been as close attention as I should have, you would have bet your ass that this here recording would have
safely landed in the top 5 spot of my year end list. The band already made my favorite record of the year with their split 12" with Triac, and "Decomposition Fantasy" just pushes their inevitable domination of the grind world even closer to the present. Right away, screeching feedback and dirty production kick start the opening track "Cultivate Dissolution", the chaotic messy sound that I loved so much on that split are still here, and even pumped up a bit. This record is filthy. The guitars sound like slabbing metal sheets amplified through a broken amplifier. with Chris Moore's always monstrous drums hits providing some sort of structure for new ears. Underneath all the fuzz and treble lies some of the finely crafted grindcore to come out in 2013. Interesting songwriting 101, D.O.C are here to school you. This band works as a total unit, making every note and transition count. Constantly changing riffs and switching off vocals at a desperate, frantic rate. Blasting, high momentum riffs, leading seamlessly into crushing breaks or a choice "BLEH!" shout. Tracks like "Varicose Veins"   and "Pus Ride" showcase some of the best moments on this record using some of those dynamics. This band makes brutal grind in a way that I don't hear many other bands doing, or any for that matter, and the first five tracks will kick your head off. And then we have the last track, which is actually a cover. It's kinda no secret D.O.C have a thing for weird hardcore/punk bands. The cover art layout for the Triac split was a total Psychic TV homage, and the art here has a very distinct Rudimentary Peni look. So it shouldn't come off that surprising that they've gone and covered the Wire track, "Pink Flag", from their groundbreaking album of the same name. As is to be expected, they pull the song off very well, keeping the same general song and structure in tact, but making it their own, adding some noisy sound deterioration and blasts at the end. Proper. his band can do no wrong, pick up a copy at Rorschach Records! Listen to the record here!

Rating: 9.5/10

~VII