Friday, January 13, 2012

Sete Star Sept- Revision of Noise

“Our youth has gone to the ends of the earth to die in the silence of the truth. And where, I ask you, can a man escape to, when he hasn’t enough madness left inside him? The truth is an endless death agony. The truth is death. You have to choose: death or lies. I’ve never been able to kill myself.” – Louis-Ferdinand CĂ©line, Journey to the End of the Night (1932)

If any of you are at all familiar with my tastes by now, you know that if you but say the words “noisy,” “Japanese” and “grindcore” in the same sentence, I’ll start drooling quicker than Pavlov's pooches at a handbell concert. Therefore, it’s no surprise that as soon as I finished sampling my first Sete Star Sept track and reading some background info, I needed this record.

The band is a Tokyo-based two-piece currently composed of bassist/vocalist Kae and drummer Kiyasu whose sound rests squarely at the mid-point between noise and grindcore. This record serves as the sort of noisegrind gateway drug that Arsedestroyer and Gore Beyond Necropsy were so adept at producing, along with several helpings of traditionalist Japanese grindcore like Carcass Grinder and Gate.

Second track and album standout “Deadly Smile” (found on their Myspace, for those interested in a first listen along with their review) is an excellent introduction to their Japanese-grind-on-an-Arsedestroyer-binge sound, a thirty-six second ball of blasts and shrill, frantic screams akin to mainlining an energy drink in the midst of a bar fight.

“Pearl” opens with killer distorted vocals and proceeds to blast its way into your heart, until it makes the decision to sit on the floor a moment and have itself a breakdown. Thus refreshed, it hops to its feet and proceeds to blast away, except for a cool little riff section that unsurprisingly gets augmented by blasts to close the song.

At times, the noise seems to overpower even the band’s playing ability, certain songs seeming to fall to pieces as you listen. On “Killer,” the song fragments into a mess of feedback-drenched guitar, drum snaps and screaming that re-forms as a Dunwich Horror-on-a-stroll breakdown, gains momentum and rushes back to blurring speeds until it is again smashed apart by its own sheer velocity, this time succumbing to the force and crumbling into a closing half-breakdown.

The fact that the band constantly sound on the verge of losing everything is what makes this release so exciting, however, and although the frenetic blast/slow sustained part/frenetic blast formula can get, well, formulaic, it never gets anywhere close to boring.

While it’s probably not going to convince Rotten Sound/modern Napalm Death straight-arrows that a little noise in your grind never hurt anyone, this release is a perfect introduction to the dirtier, noisier side of grindcore without any of the over-experimental noise-and-yelling fuckery that derails some sloppier noisegrind offerings. It might not make much effort to redefine the genre as we know it (as some 2011 grind releases did), but it does make 15 damned decent arguments for the fact that it's not going anywhere any time soon, either.

Newer Sete Star Sept releases include Gero Me, a 50-track noisefuck with a beautifully grotesque Shintaro Kago manga panel as its cover, and a split with Satan (guess Big Red’s not too busy these days to help out the little guy). Upcoming material includes a split with Penis Geyser. The band have recently been playing shows with the likes of Wormrot, ACxDC and Bloody Phoenix, although a February 12th Japan show seems to be the only current date on the horizon.