Don’t we all love surprises?
There are fewer things in the world that are more exqsuite then picking up a record, having it blow you away. And then you discover that it’s nearly a year old.
When that happens, it’s easy to conclude that the year has been choc a bloc with great releases all around. Normally, when examined in the cold light of day, this claim can be easy to debunk as simple wonder that you can overlook something so great.
However, in a year that has given us albums from Discharge, Arms Race, Barge, Weekend Nachos, Helen Money, Adrian Younge, Art of Burning Water, Puce Mary, Trap Them, UK Subs, Nails, Harley Flanagan, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Marissa Nadler, Nick Cave, Psychic TV, Magrudergrind, Backslider, Moloch/Lich, Mirrors for Psychic Warfare, Sunwolf and two (TWO!) from The Body, I think I can be forgiven for overlooking the odd gem here and there.
And this review will rectify things.
Full On Grindcore
On the go (in some shape or form) since 1997, Sweden’s Gadget haven’t been the most prolific act in the world (three full lengths and a split with Phobia), but they’re an example of why people use the term “quality, not quantity” and boy oh boy, does this album epitomise that saying.
‘Enemies of Reason’ hits the ball out of the park.
Full on grindcore, with a finely tuned production that is clean enough to allow the chaos to shine, but never sacrifices the intensity for polish. Just listen to the blastbeats coming through in the first five seconds. Listen to the Napalm inspired riff around the thirty second mark that carries the rest of the song in glorious fashion.
‘Choice of a Lost Generation’ is quite apt, considering recent events in Britain and America. The lines about “Speaking without thoughts/Raising your opinion/Of things you do not know” are a stinging indictment of the state of the left and right. Musically, this is the most flat out song on here. Utterly unrelenting.
Most of the songs come in around the one/two minute mark (with the exception of ‘I Don’t Need You/Dead and Gone’), and I can imagine you already get what the album sounds like, so you don’t need a further track by track breakdown.
It’s grindcore, but brilliantly played and brilliantly executed grindcore which hits you up the head and gets you ready for a trek into work on Monday morning.
Drummer William Blackmon has stated that the band focused mainly on the production this time around (owing to not being happy with previous releases), and this attention to detail has paid off. He also apparently left the riff writing to bassist Fredrik Nygren and guitarist Rikard Olsson, who adopted a more piecemeal approach to the songs.
Randy Oritz (who has designed covers for KEN Mode and David Cronenberg composer Howard Shore) provides the cover. Textured to resemble (what one person
described as) a human beehive, it’s eye-catching, sobering and encapsulates the record perfectly.
Simply put, if Napalm Death (whose Barney Greenway guests on ‘Violent Hours (For a Veiled Awakening)’, this would be praised up and down the land. As it is not, it’s fallen under the critical radar a bit.
But make no mistake, this is the grind release of the year.
4.5 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 12/11/16