Oggi il Dottor Marciume ascolta: Schizo “Total Schizophrenia” demo tape, ultrafast metallic crossover from Catania, 1986.
A classic extreme metal/core recording from my country by a band that in all honestly could not survive its reputation after the year 1990. Over the years I have heard this demo being labeled as the very first grindcore recording in this country, but well, no, I don’t think so. As much as I think this demo is amazing, I won’t label it as anything close to the sound that would evolve into the first instances of grindcore. This demo might be considered part of that combination of elements that grew up to that genre, but despite it’s incredibly fast for its time I would describe it as a more metallic slayerish/vadeirsh version of Cryptic Slaughter and Septic Death. This demo really showed the band’s full potential that would crystallize into “Main Frame Collapse” with superior songwriting and really crazy vocals (rag. Filini was singing here for the last time) and when the songs speed up, it is there that the band blossoms into a unheard before, ultraviolent instance of hardcore massacre. The slower parts are a bit naive and cheezy but that was the point with the whole punk/core movement at the time, huge when things are fast, sloppy when they slow down. The thrash/core crossover was really like a shark, it could give its best only in full movement. There is not much to say about this classic: it is a great example of hybrid proto thrash/grind/core, and really deserve the reputation it has. Do not expect darkness or sickness here, we’re talking about speed force violence!
From a first glance at the shocking pink cover I’d have bet this was some freaky “Japanoise” project in the vein of Niku Dorei or Boredoms. The truth however revealed itself to be quite different: D’la Coke et Des Putes (which might means something like cocaine and whores, at least it’s my guess since my lack of knowledge of this language is complete, I don’t even know how they spell “1” – is it “ein”, “an”, “eine”, “oun”?) is actually a French band with two vocalists and humorous lyrics alike, just to name some country mates, the great Beer Vomit or Gronibard. There is a weak link to what were my earlier considerations though, as the album was in fact recorded in Japan and, trying hard to decipher what’s written in the booklet, I dare to guess the guy pictured on the cover is some random person they met during their trip (not completely sure of that though eh. Despite the shocking pink color, the layout of this thing is not bad, we have a spread collage of pictures, another two pages of name combinations which ranges from “dicks and asses”, “bums and policemen”, “eggs and chicken” and so on. This must be their personal interpretation of the yin-yang philosophy eh eh. Then we get some more random pictures and a long thank-list, let’s say routine stuff.
Using labels like Powerviolence, Freeform Noise, Grind Core etc. might be hazardous ground here as I can hear some sparse breakdowns and samples but no real crunch in between these. I certainly cannot claim this album is altogether something as disastrous and untalented as Subterranean Fecal Root, but in all honesty the parts that should consist in real music are rather uninspired. Despite the double vocal effort is supposed to give this album an extra punch all I hear is mouse squeaks over a texture of timid hard-core and painfully average metal riffs straight outta some high school show. Even the recording is somewhat under par for my (maybe a bit stereotypical) expectations of Japanese precision. The whole sound and songwriting here is quite flat, and even some choruses just don’t raise attention. I am always intrigued by flashy weird covers like this one, but this time I have been quite underwhelmed. Pity.
Pulverizing Lethal Force aka Pretty Little Flower(s) is yet another metallic grind core band from USA. I already plentifully stressed out that I prefer a crustier kind of grind, yet I cannot deny the catchiness of the songs nor the unquestionable ability of this band to concoct enjoyable music. There is so much metal in both sound and structure in this Cd, that sometimes they even remind me of very early Sinister, but there is also a constant use of blastbeats and groove which is typical of the “punkier” part of the spectrum – I could say this band is 60% and 60% if you know what I mean.
The booklet is plain yet rather well done with 8 pages and some lyrics printed inside, of the classic yet never old “socioapocalyptic” kind, all about fury and crushing rage, everything packed in a sober, rational style.
I am not hugely fond of live shows (except for blatantly good ones, like Last Days of Humanity‘s amazing Cd of some years ago) so the final tracks can be easily skipped, but the tracks 1 to 17 are intense and tight enough to make up for a good album all the same, and they even squeezed covers by Doom, Unseen Terror and Denak inside this record. This might be one of the best releases I have heard from Power It Up so far, strictly speaking about this specific kind of furious metallic grind. There is a lot of groove and energy displayed all through, without all the dissonant bridge bollocks we often hear today. PLF is a band that is able to play its cards without recurring to any bells and whistles or endless intros as they can produce good riffs, arrange them with taste and record them with a extra generous pinch of ferocity. Well done, not bad at all.
Technically speaking there is nothing objectionable in this Ep, and I loved it when I read that the ten songs on it are on the average less than a minute long. I hated when I saw the punchhole on the back inlay though. Is it so discomforting for a label to think promotion is being paid those 4 meager euros an editor can haggle by selling a second hand Cd? Not that I will ever sell a promo Cd (it’s against my ethics) but like I have said ad nauseam – and I will keep saying it every time I see a punchole or a cutout or any kind of marks on a promo – I pretend to be paid the 80 cents a label pays for a Cd plus postage for using my time to publish it on this e-zine/blogzine/whatever (yeah even with 5 years of delay, eh eh). Hell, I have to recognize that labels do not even send promos anymore. I just delete the promo-download offers when I get that shit in my email inbox. Do they really ask you to download promos? Sure, why don’t you ask me to buy it, lose an hour writing a review and promote it for free?
Like I said before there is nothing wrong in this Ep. There’s even a super slick neogrind-willowtip-di-sto-cazzo layout with all those scratches and Photoshop layers overlapped like pros. The layout is balanced and we got all the necessary infos from recording details to thank lists. This at least looks like a 15 minutes Ep one could actually spend some money on, at least from the visuals.
“Nothing wrong” could be “not enough” when we talk about music, though. Considering the multitude of records circulating these days, even a recording with careful and well studied structures like these might not be enough. When the band plays Rotten Sound it works pretty well, as the sound is thick enough to stand the hyperspeed blasting. There are two things however that just don’t click into my chords. The first and foremost is the terrible vocals that sometimes creep in. Some sort of painful scream that just blabbers “we have arrived to the neogrind bandwagon”. Don’t get me wrong, when the band blasts it cam blast heavy and through, but then they have those fucking shitty beyond belief dissonant slow Neurosis-like bridges that I just can’t stand. Were they fast all the time I would have appreciated the Ep somehow. The problem is really the high pitched screams that are as brutal as cracker crumbs on a bed sheet. Just a few songs for people that like this stuff, as for myself, when I reached the second part of track 5 I felt the urge to get a gun and shoot the Cd player.
Preface: This is a review I begun to write in 2007, so do not bother to write it’s an old album, I know it’s an old album, and yes I am a human shit for not having reviewed it when the band actually needed it, but hey, I was just at war with myself at the time eh eh. Stay tuned because you’ll see a lot of old shit in the near future. It might as well be some bands have disbanded in the meantime. In any case I have two crates full of old promos to review so just shut up and enjoy what I have to say now that nobody needs it, ah!
I’ll start right away by telling what I do not like about this release, and it’s, plainly, the not-so tongue-in-cheek-humor. I barely could bear Spazztic Blurr or AOD, go figure what I can think of a band with humorous lyrics 30 years later. There are no lyrics printed here, but the titles just need no great analysis. Thinking about it one can view the humorous approach a bit like that of cheezy genre movies like Blood Freak (the monster turkey movie) or classic Troma stuff but I’ll be honest, I am not a big fan of that kind of horror, preferring less happy gore demented stuff.
Setting rants aside, I’ll move on to what I actually like of this album, and for a start the layout is quite good. Sure, “run of the mill” vanilla Subordinate “neogrind” style, but you can’t say the packaging isn’t professionally done, with sharp lines and an all original artwork, so thumbs up for the presentation here. But please, lyrics next time.
I don’t understand why they decided not to feature this band on the Metal Archives as not only the crisp sound but the songs themselves seem pretty “metal” to me. Well, a lot metal actually. The backbone is definitely fucked up grindcore of course, and it has some frequent blastbeats as well, but everything just sound as metallic as it can get (hell there is even that Pantera guy who was shot on stage mentioned in the thanklist twice,can you dare to say they’re crusties?). Remove the freaked out vocals from the mix and just listen to the guitarwork and tell me what you think.
From start to end this album is relentless, pretty tight, and has a lot of consistence. With that I mean that there are no boring intermezzos and trippy shit (well, actually there is a humorous song called “Carbonara Groove”, and a modern black metal bridge towards the end, but we can forgive them) but just straight to the core songs which have one or two riffs apiece and this is an approach I generally appreciate. I think if you cut off all pauses between the songs and you can pass this whole album as a single track eh eh. Slow down it a bit and you get a pretty decent Death Metal album as well , I need to try that.
So to wrap up my opinion is a bit mixed, I like the no frills approach and the fucked up vocals (Bastard Saints could have been a strong influence here as the randomly scattered vocal style is quite characteristic on that band and the singer also appears as guest here) but I always preferred a more sick, rougher sound. I have a concept of grindcore which is quite far from this, something darker, borderline frightening, certainly not this metallic. This album is an honest display of fast Grind/Metal with a schizoid vocal dept and a sleazy horror movie backbone. Could be worse after all.
This is Beyond Terror Beyond Grace‘s debut, a young band from Australia’s Blue Mountains, and it consist of four short tracks of a non-defined mix of extreme music styles. The opening riff is a total killer hyperfast blast of violence strongly influenced by Rotten Sound, Jigsore Terror, To Separate The Flesh From The Bones and the likes and made me hope for the best… if things were following that line all the time we could have had something real interesting if not overly complex or catchy. However there is a big flaw that I spotted almost immediately,and it’s that these songs are made up of riffs so eterogeneous that it feels like hearing Praxis or Mr Bungle (well not exactly to be honest but you get the point). While that opening blast was full of energy, the mid tempo Death Metal slam that follows close is among the most boring I have ever heard, kind of Internal Bleeding stripped down to play even more basic sloppy death. The vocals are a schizoid chamaleon which vary completely timbre from grunt to screams according to the underlying riff, and something weird happened when those got higher: a cold, pine smelling breeze entered my room and I could hear the penguins approaching from beyond the mist… Ah! No really they sound more new black metal than Grind, but that’s just a matter of perspective, I guess I could get used to them if we get over the bigger flaws. To tell the truth, I hate the Death Metal slam mid tempos in here, but the faster riffs range really from average to excellent. They should really drop the useless parts where the vocals become guttural and keep the faster parts only, or just try to improve songwriting of the slower bridges, becouse those are real lame. As it is, this is neither fish nor meat as they say here. The Cd has a very short duration, just like 9 minutes or so, but I guess it explores clearly what the intent of this band is. The guys look very young so we can expect some serious improvement I think. I hope the singer is just growing his hair, and not keeping that cut on purpose, though (ah ah, j/k). Nothing much to add to this, working a good layout when flames are involved is real though and well, it doesnt work in here either, but this is an Ep so things might have been made with some hurry. The cover depicts a man or a scarecrow shrouded in flames, and little else. At least the quality of the pics is sharp.
From my point of view, after years and years passed listening to Metal and Core, the sum of all the live recordings that deserve to be bought easily stays in the finger of a hand. And I am pretty much afraid this live 2004 isn’t in that list. Honestly, I like Bathtub Shitter, I really do… I have bought all their 7″ and listened to all of them a few times, but my narrow Doberman cranial box struggles to understand why I should listen to these songs with a broken sound and crowd shouts in the middle. I am probably the last person in the world to ask about live recordings, and well, I assume for a live it is good quality after all, but I just find live recordings completely useless.
The Cd looks pro, it has a color booklet, lyrics, photos collage and all the routine stuff in its place, but I really find it difficult to recommend something like this. You know Bathtub Shitter, right? Noisy at times, musically proficient at others, with that little touch of Japanese madness. If you’re a record collector and find challenged by this band’s huge list of releases here it is, get in touch with Power It Up.