Sunday, July 26, 2009
Insane Assholes - Grindzilla
Insane MySpace (in Italian)
Label: Subordinate Productions
Release Type: Full-Length
I know, "this album is three years old." If I have learned anything about grindcore it is not to make assumptions about another's knowledge of bands. So after receiving a blank stare every time I mention these Italian grinders, they are overdue for a proper review.
Most intelligent grindcore debates inevitably break down into two groups: those who prefer the raw days of yore and those who enjoy the precision and production of today. In this continuing and untiring discussion, Insane Assholes act as our mediator: they offer a modern approach to classic grind. Even their tone/distortion gets into the act, striking the middle ground between crossover and classic death metal.
Grindzilla contains 29 tracks, including an Intro and a bonus "Outro." Packed in-between we get over 35 minutes of everything a fan of the genre has come to expect at a production level that, like their approach, is right down the middle. The vocals are pushed far back in the mix, with the guitars in the foreground and the drums/bass right behind, adding depth and filling in the gaps.
On the classic side, along with their tone, we get a steady diet of the 2-30 second songs the industry was founded on, humorous song titles and (of course) we get the staple: grind riffs a-plenty right from the word Go. The modern side is primarily noticed in their many 2-3 minute songs, each loaded with riffs, riff variations and tempo changes. Insane Assholes cover all the bases, borrowing riffs from across the metal spectrum while never straying from the structure and overall feel of grind. Represented here are hardcore punk, powerviolence, thrash, death metal, brutal/slam and a fair number of abstract/experimental riffs reminiscent of Assuck and Pig Destroyer. And if this is not enough, they offer up one groove'n'grind song and a six-minute sludge/groove number.
Seeing that they are not tuned to mud, it should go without saying that you can hear the bass throughout the album. It is not as apparent, but compared to most bands with bass you can only feel and the trend of doing away with the bassist altogether, we have to take what we can get, don't we? The drumming, like the riffs, are across the board. Just about everything but D-Beats are found here, with nice use of mid-tempo and full-speed double bass. My only complaint about the drum work is that I would like to hear a little more creativity in the cymbal and drum-fill department. (Note to self: write a review for their 2009 split with Suppurated, which has greatly improved drumming with authentic, more audible Crossover bass.)
What we get from the vocals is in line with the industry standard: screams, shouts, grunts and growls. This is really fine by me - I prefer creativity to come from the instruments. But in the interest of fairness, the guy can speak pretty damn quick - at times he sounds like a rabid dog barking out grunts and growls as fast as the drummer can blast. These moments make for interesting rhythms and simply add to the Insane Assholes experience. They are ostensibly "Insane", so a tame vocalist would be inimical.
As for myself, I prefer unadulterated grindcore. Gore, Porno, Noise and the lot are great - no complaints from me - but if I get to pick what goes into the CD player, I want today's precision and technicality with yesterday's attitude. Insane Assholes fit the bill. I would not be surprised at all to see this album on everyone's "Top 10" lists if they got to play the role of revisionist grindcore historian.
Honestly, the songs over two minutes make this album, but if I had to select some "Standout" tunes:
Sound of my Hystericaaargh
The Revenge of Uncle Brutal
Il Sabba Degli Ignoranti
L'Inferno di Ash
Need a pet? How about a Grindzilla?