Focus tends to be the last word that comes to mind when I think about Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Take the 12 Days of Sodom EP which consisted of brief, looped industrial static behind Randall chanting the title of each Day. Or the oddly random answering machine messages posing as music. Or cramming 100 songs on a mini-CD... Before an idea was even mapped out, it seemed like ANb was already moving on to the next one. They were not interested in trivialities like Rough Drafts, or even First Copies - it was all the proverbial Business Model Outlined On A Dinner Napkin.
So, what am I trying to say here? Quite simply: ANb wrote actual songs this time around. I know, shocking, huh? To put that another way: Scott Hull is back. Sure, there is a whole new breed of PxDx fans praying to their holy trinity of Hyperviolet-Gravedancer-Loathsome who may feel otherwise - but for my $12+shipping, this is the best work Senior-Seven-String has bestowed upon the world since 2001. What brought about the change? Probably that movie soundtrack he wasted a year of his life on... which the director subsequently didn't even use. Who wouldn't that piss off?
On the docket are 13 songs of crossover grindcore ranging from 50 seconds to three minutes. The guitar work drips with energy and is undoubtedly the most intense we have heard in years. Huge Gonzo-Violence riffs, shredding solos and breakdowns with a degree of punishment only an extra guitar string can add. If you can think of anything remotely crossover thrash, it's here. And the drum kit this time around is remarkable in sound and quality. It's triggered, of course, but at least sounds plausible. Excepting a few quad-time cymbal rolls on top of the regular rhythms in two songs, every track contains drumming that could be preformed by the Brian Fajardo's and Derek Roddy's of the world. There's even a free-style, down-beat heavy drum solo for our ears to feast on.
The funny bit is that Jay Randall himself gets caught in the focus act. As always, he is writing the lyrics, so you know what to expect: innuendo-laden teen angst filtered through cock fetish humor and an ass-load of self-referential mockery. That about sums it up. But all things considered, these are the best ANb lyrics to date. Looking at Timelord Two you read about a man who traveled back in time to kill Jesus, only to return home and discover he actually killed The Beast. What does he do? He sells the remains for next to nothing to a Japanese guy who ends up programming the world's first blast beat. Is there a message here? Grindcore freaks smoke crack and worship Satan? Who knows? There is also the magically entitled First National Stem Cell And Clone which asks Christian mothers a very honest question: what cock wouldn't you suck to save your child's life? Then on the self-referential side comes Question Of Integrity which sums everything up masterfully:
You want to talk to me about Pig Destroyer?
I smoked crack with a fucking cop
You want to see ANb live?
We'll take the deposit and just not show up
True to just about every ANb release, Randall invites someone to suck his balls. It's practically a meme by now. There's a Discordance Axis, Pig Destroyer and a number ANb plugs; reference to the Honky Reduction 10"; and probably my favorite line (if not from my favorite song): I'm giving up my ego, my desire, my vanity, all to fill one tiny need: To spread open my ass and shit on your dreams. Over the top? Of course not. ANb have been in their own purple smoke-filled stratosphere since day one.
This is one of my favorite releases of the year. Check it out and decide for yourself. If you don't like it, tell us why. Relapse offers two versions. You can get the CD for $12, or for $4 more you get the CD in an old-school long box which comes with a mini poster, four buttons and an ANb east-coast-gonzo-violence patch.