Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ass to Mouth: Degenerate (2014)

Originally reviewed here.
You just know what to expect with a name like "Ass to Mouth". Hint: it's not radio-friendly. It is not the kind of thing that is going to be heard on pop radio or MTV. It's going to be nasty, it's going to be extreme, and it's going to be very short.

It's grindcore of course, though not the overly noisy, chaotic type. There is a pretty obvious structure to the songs here and actual riffs. Ass to Mouth incorporate a lot more thrash metal elements into their particular brand of grind. Thrash riffs and shouted vocals are utilized frequently. What results is grindcore in which the vocals can actually be clearly understood and there is a coherent rhythm to the songs. That is pretty rare in this style.

Occasionally, Ass to Mouth throws in something completely out of left field, such as the almost funky bass rhythm at the end of "You Have 0 Friends", the cowbell opening to "One Shot Too Far", and the almost upbeat beginning to "Here Comes Mr. Pig". Those are the moments that stick in the brain. It is clear as well that Ass to Mouth have a sense of humor, based on the above song titles, among others. Plus, their name is Ass to Mouth. Come on.

The vocals are the element that stands out the most to me. As I mentioned, they are presented in a thrash metal-style shout rather than the death metal grunting. There are the occasional pig squeal vocals, but they are used mostly as backing vocals on the occasional track. It is much more of an extreme punk style than a brutal death metal style.

This album flies by in just over thirty minutes. With twenty tracks on it, it is pretty obvious that Ass to Mouth do not really attempt to do anything progressive. In fact there are only a couple of songs on the album that are even more than two minutes long. Most of the rest fall in the minute and a half range. Ass to Mouth simply scream and thrash their way through a couple of verses and call it a song.

Ultimately, this is a fine grindcore album. It is interesting enough to me, though grindcore is not a favorite style of mine. It remains varied enough to maintain interest and is something I could listen to again and again.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fear of Domination: Distorted Delusions (2014)

Originally reviewed here.
Seriously? There are still bands like this out there? Not to mention newish ones? Immediately when this album began I felt like it was 2000 all over again. I would have loved this early in college. Jaded, lawyer me is not nearly as impressed. That is to say, I found this barely listenable. I was even more annoyed with the band photos which portray a group looking like a cross between Mushroomhead and Hollywood Undead.

Musically this band sounds like a cross between Spineshank and mainstream-leaning In Flames. There is some melodic death metal present in there but the industrial tinges overwhelm them frequently to the point where the keyboards are about the only thing that can be heard. The music sounds incredibly juvenile, the kind of thing that 16-18 year olds would play loudly on their car stereos to freak out the neighbors. I know this, because I was once one of those kids. But now that my tastes have matured I find myself avoiding schlock like this.

The vocals are not impressive, pretty stereotypical melodeath shrieking. There are a lot of samples used and the riffs, when present, are as basic as could be. This is basically nu-metal, folks.

That's really all I want to say. I did not make it through the whole album.