Monday, February 20, 2012
A favorite old saw of mine is the ability of certain albums to evoke different things from a listener, like a particular mood, aesthetic, image or idea. Some feel cinematic, and bring to mind cyberpunk or horror films, while others recall surrealism or political uprising. Shower of Bricks, the latest EP from the Australian grind madmen in The Kill, recalls something more basic than any of these examples: this record sounds like pure violence.
After a four-second The Exorcist sample that serves as an intro, the band smashes out of the gate with "Trolley Pushing Zombies," a frothing minute of grind that embodies the speed, brevity and sheer relentlessness that I love about this band, so much so that it's probably going to be the song I use to introduce my friends to The Kill from now on.
The EP's eponymous track offers some of the few slower seconds on the entire MCD (and it's still murderously fast, if that tells you anything) in the brief sustained strum that begins the song and a few loping riffs that serve to keep the pacing interesting. It also happens to be one of the catchier songs, as I found myself recognizing it, especially the scream-shout vocals and circular riff pattern that occurs around the mid section, after a few blind listens.
Two songs, "Pub Brawl" and "Utterly Unimportant," appeared previously on the band's Blast Beat'n the Shit Outta PBS radio session album, though the improved production and volume on this record let the song shine in a way the other versions couldn't. While the drumstick count-off on the radio performance of "Pub Brawl" suggests that a click track may have played a part in the improvement, it doesn't change the fact that the songs are at their best in this crisp, higher quality form.
The one-two punch of a dramatic descending riff followed by a chugging stop-start riff, both slightly reminiscent of Discordance Axis, make "Passed Out" a perfect closer, with a brief runtime that means you'll be lunging to restart the album the second it ends.
The songs on this EP merge the "all fast parts" ethos Jon Chang perfected with Gridlink with the aural horror that Repulsion and Pig Destroyer ooze, underscored by an unpretentious attitude that classic grind fans will instantly gravitate toward. This is unquestionably the band's best effort to date, and while little has changed fundamentally in their snarling, blood-soaked style, it finds them at an unprecedented level of musical focus that would be a top-five year-end shoo-in if carried across an LP.
If my review of The Soundtrack to Your Violence a while ago didn't have you rushing to check out their material, let this be your mulligan, because The Kill is still among the best pure grindcore bands operating today and more than deserves your attention.
"Shower of Bricks" (Soundcloud)