Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Lows- Harvest of the Carcass(2011)

New Lows- Harvest of the Carcass

Part of the new wave of Metallic Hardcore bands inspired by legendary acts like Integrity, Earth Crisis and early Hatebreed, New Lows play crusty, filthy and extremely heavy Hardcore Punk mixed with elements of Death Metal, Thrash Metal and Grindcore. Thick with distortion and bowel-rumbling bass, Harvest of the Carcass is one of the most flat out heavy releases from this year.

If you have listened to any of the recent stuff from Trap Them, All Pigs Must Die or Nails, you have an idea of what to expect with this one: guitars so crusty you can hear the grime on the guitar strings, bass so low it rattles the rafters and drums so punishing the band might as well come over and kick in you the face, since they both feel about the same. Few acts can match New Lows pure aggression: the band expertly shift from two-step tempos to sludgey breakdowns to blasty Grindcore sections and back again, often all in the same song. The album moves at full speed, although the bands best tracks like the opener "Stagnant Strides" takes time to reach their extreme apex and reward the listener in full for it.

And if you have listened to any of the recent stuff from Trap Them, All Pigs Must Die or Nails, you have heard this all before. Which is not to say Harvest of the Carcass is not worth checking out: but the complete lack of originality is bound to turn some people off to New Lows well worn brand of Metallic Hardcore devastation. In truth, other than maybe the Grindcore heavy Nails, all of these modern Metallic Hardcore acts owe their sound to the work of the mighty Integrity, who were not only one of the first bands in Hardcore Punk to embrace Death and Thrash Metal, but were one of the first bands to embrace Metal's imagery, much like New Lows do with Harvest of the Carcass. That feeling of "been there, heard that" is perhaps the only issue with Harvest of the Carcass, because as a piece of entertainment this album is about as well crafted as it gets.

In the end, quality wins out over originality with Harvest of the Carcass. New Lows may not be "new," but the level of polish and intensity on this album surpasses many of the releases this year. The sheer, grimey intensity of Harvest of the Carcass is more than enough to give this album a listen, as long as one tempers their expectations.


Fukpig - Belief Is The Death Of Intelligence [2010]

Sharing past and present members with Anaal Nathrakh andMistress, one can predict the level of ferocity to be provided by this, Fukpig’ssophomore album, before going anywhere near the ‘play’ button. Although thedisdain for religion shown first by the album title is getting a little old,the musical ideas, which I assure you are nothing original, are not.

My point here is that although much of this is in a similarvein to guitarist/drummer Mick Kenney’s ‘day job’ Anaal Nathrakh, there residesan altogether crustier, and even a more vicious feeling to this. Blastbeatsgalore permeate the album, and riff-wise, there is a clear crustcore influence,although two of the most recognizable riffs on the album, the opening ones tothe title track and ‘This Is The News?’ respectively are evidently borrowedfrom two of the most famous tracks within extreme metal – Mayhem’s ‘DeMysteriis Dom Sathanas’ and Slayer’s ‘Angel Of Death’.

Not that anyone minds. Even if you’ve worn your LPs of thoseto death, bought a replacement CD and somehow worn that out too, those two fitin so snugly here that it wouldn’t seem at all out of place to someone whoinexplicably had found Fukpig without being aware of those two. Also ‘borrowed’is the Sunlight Studios-esque guitar tone offered – and this sounds right athome too. We’re all aware how heavily the Stockholm bands borrowed from theSwedish hardcore punk scene of the time, and this is a chance to hear theirtone given back to an altogether punkier context.

What I’m not saying, however, is that this album is a rehashof ripoffs. No, there are plenty of original factors – although mathematicsdictates that all three-chord riffs must have been used by now, the bassiertone used here makes them all seem highly original, as they cut through the mixlike a hot knife through butter. Relentless aggression here is done well – the usualtedium factor that starts to kick in after 25 minutes or so is not present hereat all.

Drum-wise, the patterns alternate between blasts and d-beats– this is a grindcore album after all. The production lends the drumming a niceorganic sound, which should please the crusties around to no end. As a point ofcomparison for the drumming in particular, but also for the vast majority ofthe album, imagine a combination of Disfear and Anaal Nathrakh.

One of the main things which makes this album appeal to methan many other black metal/grindcore hybrids is the way in which each individualsong has hooks within it to make it stand out from the rest, despite them allbeing stylistically similar. I’ll point you in the direction of the gang chantswhich start ‘This Is England’ (which are followed by one of the most frenziedvocal performances I’ve ever heard) and to the desolate feeling, borrowedequally from crust punk and black metal, which is particularly apparent in ‘DawnOf The Dumb’.

Altogether, I’d say that although it’s completelyderivative, Belief Is The Death Of Intelligenceis a fantastic album – marginally better than Fukpig’s first effort Spewings From A Selfish Nation, andcertainly way above par within its genre. Although it’s long been sold out,this is an album worth seeking out at most costs. One of the best of last year.