Malaysia

Review: Jagernaut / Terlarang, 2012

Greek crust behemoths Jagernaut bring forth their very own apocalypse through the tried and tested yet timeless methodology of grind infused punk vitiriol. Their half of the split is packed with more clamour and filth than a room full of politicians, and their rhythmic qualities exude the classic bottomed out crust qualities stooped in nauseating thickness and dishevelled conferral, tirelessly vomiting out dank Doom idolatory minus the 90's guitar fuzz, like the great defilers of peace they are. True to their heritage a thick slather of vocal vulgarity screams and roars all manner of malice to the horrors of the world completing the ethos whilst adding another branch of horror to this gritty yet fulfilling piece of virulence.

Malaysia's Teralang occupy a completely different yet equally fulfilling portion of the extreme punk spectrum, where Jagernaut sought to disgust Teralang seek to invigorate and perhaps even confuse with their madball thrash parade, that stumbles across as a preposterous merger of the likes of Hellnation and XbrainiaX with a load of funky genes thrown in for good measure too. Its goofy fastcore with heaps of awesome, really perky upbeat riffs, psychotic blastbeating and deranged vocal tantrums. You see that brain blasted cow on their side of split? Yeah that's genuinely what happens to you when you listen to this mad raving!

Jagernaut / Terlarang


Raw Grind Chaos (Review: Unholy Grave/ Hatred Division 2012)

I think Henry Rollins summarized what being punk is quite nicely when he advocated it as hippies with a fierce attitude; a culture of protest, ethics and social consciousness:  a dualism of music and message which in the weird and wonderful world of 2012 is only held up by a few depraved under belly of punk derivatives, none more so than the grind is protest-ers  of mincecore. Sharing seven inches of wax and brooding dissent by way of spartan means of lo-fi feral vulgarity is old school blast masters Unholy Grave and grindcore underdogs of the third world Hatred Division, but before I put this 7" wonder under the cutting board I have a protest of my own to champion. And that protest being that they should  of kept the alternate artwork as per the test prints (have a looksie and the other side), sure it looks like something torn straight out of Conan the Barbarian novel and lacking in punk aesthetic, but killing orcs and in true homo-erotic power metal fashion never gets tiresome and would do much to bring a bit of color and character to the visually predictable depictions of woe and wrong; surprise in this instance being a good thing especially when trying to distinguish this unholy grave release against several hundred others.

Jumping back to the core issue: the actual content, this release is as ripe as they get, hooking you tightly right from the get go and systematically churning out one squalid track of socially embittered fury after another, little wonder it so quickly needed a repress to which they  addressed the visual photocopier bore with a nice cheery shade of blood red on both print and wax. 

 First up is Unholy Grave, who ever true to form blurt out their logic defying twirls of old-school grindcore entertainment in complete excess: their standard madman howls, riveting angular riffs and tremoring blasts, all lifted straight from a rehearsal recording giving in that coarse edge the band thrive off, although this time it is noticeably more raw than other Unholy Grave material, but not in the burly dense way but rather feels consistently flimsy. Even so the tracks are joyfully grindful and extract from the listener a sort of light hearted energy which idealistically peaks exactly at the end of their side.  The band tightly in their comfort zone of short excursions of zero post production tape recorder type old school obliteration. 

Now what follows is crafty in a coincidental sort of way that really gives the unique charm of the release, in that whilst still fresh in our mind all the things we wanted from the Unholy Grave side from nudges in production values and a deeper sound are now presented in Unholy Grave gold standard, except its not Unholy Grave, but Malaysias purveyor of all things bitter Hatred Division. Its one of those surreal wish comes true - lets double check that - holy shit I can bend the universe to my will moments, to which my review has probably ruined the surprise for you if you haven't checked the release out already. Even by the time this unintended novelty value wears thin, the stranglehold Hatred Division on you doesn't, from the strength of this release alone the band are steam rolling themselves to be the next Sakatat. 

Perhaps redundant, but I can only describe them as being the best choice cuts of Unholy Grave type band, the only real differences I can take from this 5 minute wonder ride of old school purity is that their temperament is slightly less on the crazy end and slightly more so on the aggressive end, a bantam shift, which really does nothing to detach themselves from the tit of Unholy Graves grinding milk. So expect a parade of blasts, ungodly growls and grumbles all conjoined by some intense and hooking string work in the most flattering of  ways, that can sit alongside Archagathus Mincecore Demo, Sakatats half of Cut your throat split and Unholy Graves half of their Rotten Sound split in Alex's wall of perfect Mincecore releases. 

Rioutous Outburst / Grindfather Productions / Tombs In the Valley / FastDie / Extreme Terror  Production / Douchebag Records

Play Fast or Die!(Review: Gymnastic Skull Whistling, Demo 2010)

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Play Fast or Don't, not only is it an epicly titled album by some upstart protogrinding iconoclasts who masqueraded under the name of Electro Hippies, its usage has also become synonymous with one of the best  grind festivals, but perhaps more importantly the phrase has become almost constitutional in nature across the Grindcore / Powerviolence / Fastcore spectrum.

 Taking this ethos to heart and duct tapping it into their punkish stride would be Malaysia’s uniquely titled Gymnastic Skull Whistling, in fact a name so obscure and incongruous many a minute has been spent conjuring wild fantasies as to what it would entail exactly. Not only does their name attach itself to a sense of bizzarity, but their rampant thrashing seizure of fastcore converges to the outlandish nature attached to the name.

The production values leave a great deal to be desired, but their heart is in the right place taking cues from the likes of semi-psychotic total-Fastcore veterans Hellnation and Quattro Stagioni, more so the latter than the former; with distinct parallels between the sharp crazed vocal pattern Quattro Stagioni exploited, but also in the very much in your face snapping drum work. There is a distinct metal ring to the percussion, the heavy use of snare being the guilty party, which to my liking is relied upon a bit too heavily giving a certain blunt remembrance but also an explicit desire for a flex of something more responsive and diversified, especially when compared to the guitar work which although somewhat drowned by the drums gives a nice lift of vitality to the release.

Although much can be done to trump the throws of mediocrity and passability, such as those aforementioned, yet overall there is an inherent luddite charm to the release that does get your head nodding in approval, because fundamentally the release is fun in an irregular sort of way, it’s the sort of charm that will merit a couple of joyous listens, but eventually be lost to the far more lathered fastcore on offer by contemporaries. However it being a demo, Gymnastic Skull Whistling still have an opportunity to iron out some of these pitfalls and reinforce their strengths, a future I am curious to see pan out. 

The Book of Face