When ‘hardcore’ becomes an understatement

A couple of years ago I found the most extreme band I had ever heard. It was 2010, I was just starting high school, and I constantly wanted to push the limits of my musical taste. Upon the first listens, I recall thinking to myself: this record is so extreme, its borderline laughable. In fact, I did laugh because of the extremity and sometimes I still do. And not only that, I really thought the music would remain a joke and it would just fade away with time.
Now, four years on, I still give Agorapocalypse (2009) by american grindcore outfit Agoraphobic Nosebleed a spin throughout from time to time. And recently, I began wondering what it is about this record that has made it stand out and retain its relevance, and not least its shock value?

Well, for one, they don’t have a person to man the drums. All the drum sounds you hear on this record are completely sample-based and programmed. Now that does a couple of things to the overall sound; the pace of the drums is inhumanly fast, pummeling you in the face at over 1000 beats per minute. The sound of the drums is also kind of polished – not that I mind, but it really emphasizes the inhuman aspect. Another thing are the hysterical, screeching vocals of Katherine Katz combined with growls from the two other vocalists – Jay Randall and Richard Johnson – that just add a completely new layer of insanity onto the already chaotic sound. One could fear that this could result in a drowning pool of fast instruments and screams, but its really well executed overall.

The album’s running length ticks in at just 28 minutes, and to this day I still get lost in the last part of it, simply because I can’t keep up with the ridiculous tempo. Although I enjoy listening to the album as a whole, I really need to be in the mood for the grind-bombardement.
Not to forget, I personally weight variation in music as a very important attribute, which is not a tag you can put on this record. So it might seem contradictory that a record like this appeals to me, since some of the songs just blend a little too much together. But one probably also has to realize that variation is not something one should go look for in a grindcore record.

Get blown away:

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Spring cleaning

CDs
Spring’s here, and it’s time to thoroughly clean everything – even the CD rack.

This is actually the first time I do this. Not that I haven’t passed a CD on that I didn’t care for before, but never have I removed this many at once. And since musical taste changes and gets refined by time (until you’re about thirty, they say) there has to be some casualties along the way. Even those I have been so sure about that I bought them. Here’s a short list with last words (and a bit of mocking, too. Well, mostly mocking). Starting from top left to right.

      • Cruel Hand – Prying Eyes
        I think that this band does have a good sound, but I also feel it just blends in with the mass. I can’t see why I should listen to this band over any other band that goes with the tag “hardcore punk” or just “punk”. Same goes for most of the Bridge Nine releases from this list.
      • Dead Swans – Sleepwalkers
        It’s a shame that this album just completely sunk into the deep sea of whatever. There were some promising sounds coming from this at first listen, but it just didn’t hold on to me in the long run.
      • Death Before Dishonor – Better Ways To Die
        I get the impression that they have some kind of gang inspired image taken from the hip hop community, which however does flow well together with their bold musical style. I’m just not digging it. But should image go over music? I’ll discuss that in a future post.
      • Death Before Dishonor – Friends Family Forever
        Yeah yeah, whatever.
      • Korn – Live And Rare (Compilation)
        With this album, I found out that I mostly just hate compilations. They feel so redundant. I mean, a digial release in the form of a Spotify playlist would’ve made so much more sense. But things were different back in 2006, so here, 11 live and two previously unreleased tracks. Yeez.
      • Limp Bizkit – Greatest Hitz
        Haha, yeah, more like greatest shitz. Okay, I actually might’ve kept like four songs from this album on my harddrive, so its not like I absolutely can’t stand the music. But I kept them more for the sake of nostalgia rather than the music. Which in itself is somehow problematic…
      • Bridge Nine Singles Vol.1 (Compilation)
        A collection of songs from different bands on the Bridge 9 roster. I don’t know why I don’t like them. My guess would be that they all sound the same (ouch, thats kinda harsh – but thats my experience).
      • Serj Tankian – Elect The Dead
        I think this might actually be one of the first records I ever bought. I still remember walking into the store on release day (the record’s from 2007, and that’s a long time ago, and it’s only getting farther away). I was a big System of a Down fan back then, and I remember how I wanted to support Tankian in his solo endeavour and how I loved his ‘crazyness’. It really just appears so childish to me now.
      • Panic – Strength In Solitude
        Another band amongst bands with the “hardcore punk”-tag.

Feeling like buying some of these releases following my sales pitch? They will definitely be for sale sometime via Discogs.com, but if you want to be sure not to miss out you can always post a comment.