Friday, July 04, 2008

Taste The Poison



3 groups for you today. Starting with two variations on grindcore, both featuring members of some particularly devastating (blast)beat combos.

Venomous Concept's line-up is two Napalm (Shane and Danny) plus two Brutal Truth, and "Poisoned Apple" is their follow-up to the dismembered metal of the marvellously brief, bitty, lo-fi "Retroactive Abortion" LP. Whereas Shane Embury's Lock-Up side project (also with a fellow Napalmer - or should that be Napalmist ? - the late Jesse Pintado), showcased effective, almost clinical grindcore moshery, on this one it's a much rawer, more scabrous soundclash between grindcore and punk: track titles like "Drop Dead", "Think!" and "Chaos", and the fact that its 17 tracks go by in a blur of 33 minutes, probably tell you enough. Throughout, it's gratifyingly great, keeping all the (barely) controlled chaos of their debut - including a constant amp hum and guitar buzz that lasts during and between tracks - and takes you to such rarefied reference points as the last Extreme Noise Terror record, Flyblown's "Genocide-Genocide", Scalplock's rather smashing "Spread The Germs (Over The Human Worms)...", "Retroactive Abortion" itself and perhaps even one of the few truly great punk albums, Discharge's "Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing", even if it lacks the sheer bloodyminded focus of HNSNSN. And you can hum Anti-Cimex's "Victim Of A Bomb Raid" along with most songs here, which must be a good sign. If we had to pick favourite moments, they'd probably be the brilliant blur of the opening three tunes (the second of which, "Toxic Kiss", features vocals from ENT mainstay Phil Vane) and the mid-album, Discharge-influenced "Workers Unite" (since we were at Marx's graveside not too long ago, natch)... but really, you won't go far wrong with anything here.

Coldworker are the latest project of ex-Nasum man Anders Jakobson, and their second album, "Rotting Paradise" is more of a melange of grindcore with straight-up death metal: rarely recalling the sheer speed of Nasum, although there's still plenty of aggression. With the brightest tunes like "Reversing The Order", "Scare Tactics", and "I Am The Doorway", a three minute blaze of glory followed by a minute or so of slower moshery a la Napalm's "Silence Is Deafening", Coldworker start to live up to the high expectations we've not unreasonably set for them. And that's probably true of at least half the record, which is more than we were quite able to say of Deicide's recent long player.

Technically speaking, fresh-faced Bandung combo Sunny Summer Day are not anything to do with grindcore at all, but any of their tracks will actually nestle rather lovelily between Venomous Concept and Coldworker on yr average playlist, and we confess to have fallen rather totally for their free download single, "So Much Fun", on Letterbox (the Cumbria-based label who provided a home for California Snow Story's touchingly classy "Close To The Ocean" album a little way back in the day). Like their Cloudberry EP, "You're The One For Me", and a little like fellow rough diamonds the Fantasy Lights, "So Much Fun" shares much of its DNA with early Sarah demos: writers rather tougher on their charges than us might speculate as to whether that's quite enough, in today's rather crowded (frankly overcrowded - sorry) indiepop market. But given that we could quite happily spend any given day ensconced entirely in early Brighter, Another Sunny Day or St Christopher demos, and quite frankly often have done, we think "Fun" is rather brilliant, with the guitar lines all doing exactly what they should do as the band breeze along easily-imaginable country lanes of impeccable summery indieness. There's also a full 6-track download EP ("Me, Myself And The Empty Soul") from where this comes - it's worth investigating if you were charmed by their Cloudberry release, but probably not worth investigating if you're, say, Sarandon.

We continue to harbour (because we can) a strongly alliterative fantasy that Sunny Summer Day could do a covers EP, perhaps taking on "Sunny Sundae Smile", "Super Sunny Summer" and - though this would involve a bit of branching out - growl their way thru Gallhammer's "Sunnyday Slaughter" - but back in the world of stuff that actually happens, yes "So Much Fun" is something pretty spesh to be going on with, and you can sample it here.