Gaza's 'No Absolutes In Human Suffering' is an excursion of dissonance, fury and blastbeats; a sludge-and-grind hybrid is delivered with seething nihilism and apocalyptic despair.
The group combine the grooving polyrhythms of Botch, the jarring fury of Converge and Coalesce, the sludgy hate of Eyehategod and the sheer blasting intensity of Pig Destroyer. The result is visceral and intense; breathing new life into some of the more tired aspects of hardcore.
What makes this album so powerful are occasional departures into reflective passages - like the ending half of When They Beg, which drifts off into a warm, droning meditation, boasting a melody that reminds me more of Genghis Tron's prettier moments.
The emotional impact of segments like this really set the band apart from many of the one-dimensional / one-mood bands I've turned away from in the past. It's a little concept called dynamics. You want to create the heaviest riff ever written? Well, write it, and then set it in the middle of a beautiful and delicate 10 minute major key dream piece. Its impact will be multiplied tenfold.
While I've been stuck in the mindset that most modern hardcore and grind is stagnant and uninteresting, bands like IDYLLS, In Trenches and Gaza are out to prove me wrong - and they're doing it quite well.
With 'No Absolutes In Human Suffering', Gaza have landed themselves one of the better releases in the genre for 2012.
When I was an obsessive grind-head with little or few tastes outside harsh grind, Pig Destroyer were one of my favourite bands. I still throw on Prowler In The Yard and Terrifyer with far more regularity than most grind albums of yesteryear. The Sydney leg of their Australian tour back in 2008 was outrageous, drunken, grind fun -- topped perhaps only by seeing Insect Warfare and Agents of Abhorrence in Maggotsville warehouse earlier that year.
It is therefore with great joy that I learn Pig Destroyer are back in the studio for the first time in 5 years! From Relapse Records:
The extreme music world is about to get a much needed cinderblock to the face as the mighty PIG DESTROYER has entered the studio to record their highly anticipated 5th full-length record and first album in over five years! The band is self-producing and recording the new album at guitarist Scott Hull’s Visceral Sound Studios in Alexandria, VA. The as-of-yet-titled album is a return to a raw, primitive sound and will feature 19 songs of their signature misanthropic grind. A late 2012 release is expected via Relapse Records.
This time around, PIG DESTROYER have enlisted the help of Adam Jarvis (MISERY INDEX) to lend inhuman drumming skills to the aural hatred. Now a full time member, Scott Hull commented on the addition of Adam:
“Tracking the drums happened this week and I'm honestly amazed at how Adam stepped up to the task of learning some challenging shit outside of his standard comfort zone. He came into the studio ready to destroy and destroy he did. And in the haze of long studio hours he never settled for a bad take. He's a real soldier. Adam has helped breathe new life into the band and we feel like we are starting fresh. Everyone here is excited for people to check out the new jams.”
Additionally, PIG DESTROYER has been confirmed for the UK’s prestigious Damnation Festival this November with numerous other dates and festivals to be announced shortly.
The Kill put together Shower of Bricks for their recent USA tour. Featuring 6 tracks from their upcoming split 7 inch EP with none other than Captain Cleanoff, this MCD acts as some sort of cruel grinding cocktease for what is undoubtably going to be an incredible release.
If you know these guys there are no surprises here. For me, The Kill have always the pinnicle of pure, unabated grindcore. You won't find them mindless sitting on a two-chord punk riff for 30 seconds - and you definitely aren't about to be violated by a mid-song chugging breakdown. The Kill are all about speed, intensity and aggression. They strip grindcore down to its pure essentials, then proceed to beat you over the heard with them in a blood-drunk brainsnap that is as maniac as it is brutal.
Shower of Bricks unequivocally delivers everything there is to love above the band -- Jay's punchy blastbeats hit with seemingly unwavering, inhumane power; Rob's tight shredding guitar work and Nik's ear-shredding, distorted mid-high screams, lyrics mixed with his style of benign humour:
What was that object that just hit my leg / first band of the gig and some bloke hits the deck / didn't see Insect Warfare from his hospital bed. (Passed Out)
With this MCD The Kill have reminded us once again that they are pound-for-pound the most intense band on earth.
If you enjoy the likes of Insect Warfare, Gridlink, old Pig Destroyer or early Napalm Death and you haven't heard these guys; correct this disgression now. Go buy this disc (and Hate Sessions and Blast Beat'n The Shit Outta PBS) from Blastasfuk and await their split with Captain Cleanoff with an appropriately hushed awe.
I would argue that a lot of the 'staple'/well-established grind bands in Australia are in a period of stagnation. Nobody is doing much. Sure, Fuck I'm Dead and Blood Duster might get together for the occasional show, but those bands pretty much in a period of sterility, playing old songs they've played a thousand times before. Who is breaking new ground and injecting new energy into the Australian grind scene? Who is touring relentlessly? Who is turning heads whenever they go?
Well one such band is Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt; an energetic, frenetic and chaotic mathy/grindy three piece from the coast of New South Wales. I've kept a keen eye on the band since their live debut in early 2011. Since then they have quite easily become my new favourite Australian grind group.
Their style combines angular, dissonant guitar chords with sharp, clinically precise, jazz-influenced drumming and scorching mid-range vocals. They bring to mind the intensity of Discordance Axis and Agents of Abhorrence, the sporadicness of Calculating-era Dillinger Escape Plan, the rawness of early Converge and Pig Destroyer and the technical absurdity of Cephalic Carnage.
In a word; Counter/Transferencerepresents everything I want out of a grind album; it's fast, frenetic, chaotic and dissonant. For a three-piece (guitars, drums, vocals) the sound is thick, natural and full. The drum sound is open and organic. There is certainly no need for overcompensation via compression and beat-replacement here.
The lyrics are also another highlight. The vocalist (unnamed it would seem on this release) earns his keep as a psychologist. With his lyrics each song providse a fantastic snapshot of emotional wreckage, confusion and mental struggle. The lyrics onCounter/Transference represent a real, actual exorcism of emotion rather than your average garbed gore/horror fucking nonsense gimmick --- real and honest catharsis as opposed to the absurd, insulting caricature offered up by your favourite death metal group. The vocals themselves are delivered with intensity to match that emotion; offering some bizarre mix of Dimitri Minakakis, J.R. Hayes and some unnamed hardcore bloker. Neither the lyrics nor the deliver ring hollow.
Let's review; Awesome sporadic, chaotic and intense songwriting? Check. Incredible drumming? Check. Dissonant, inventive guitar work? Check. Cool vocals? Check. Intense lyrics? Check. Excellent production? Check (and I would expect nothing less from the inimitable Tim Carr of 301 Studios). Great packaging and artwork? Check. Price tag? A steal at $10.
Well, welcome to my most enjoyed grind-related in a long, long time. Fucking buy it. This totally eclipses Gridlink's latest offering, and I don't see this one being topped anytime soon; not by The Kill and not by Agents of Abhorrence. Spend all the time you want pining for your favourite renown grind hobbyist group to get its shit together for an annual gig so that you can hang out with the boys like the old days - but these guys are touring constantly, writing new grind tunes and absolutely shredding anything else I've heard from even the international grindcore scene in recent years.