Thursday, November 5, 2009

Squash Bowels - Grindvirus

Squash Bowels MySpace
Release: 2009
Type: CD
Label: Willowtip

This is my first experience with Squash Bowels and I came away completely impressed. The thing that amazed is that the songs have virtually no death metal influence. This made no sense, seeing that number one, they were referred to me as goregrind, and number two, their tone is much closer to Inhume than Insect Warfare. Before the first song was over it seemed only natural to expect cross genre elements to invade their music. But it's not the case and I simply could not believe it. I found myself straining my ears to follow the guitars through the heaviest of blasting sections only to end up right where I started: surprised and impressed. There are some gallop riffs in a few spots but the only song with discernible double-picked riffing is "Shit Oneself" and even this is mid-paced and is only featured in the beginning. The rest is all straight up grind, crust and groove riffs topped off with brutal/slam accents. All of which I can only describe in one way: satisfying. If I had to call this anything in particular it would be Brutal Grind.

One of the great things about Grindvirus is how aggressive and energetic each song is despite the riffs being primarily slow to mid-tempo. Most songs are structured around a handful of complementary riffs, often playing verse-chorus-verse with two of them before a bridge or breakdown takes the song in a new direction. Some of the riffs are actually rather simple in their presentation. But it all comes back to their tone. That deep death metal tone adds an extra layer of punch and crunch that makes even the most straightforward riff crackle with energy. It's truly a great reminder that brutality does not always equate to being faster than the next guy.

But the cornerstone of this album is the drumming from Marius. The drumming ties this album together beautifully. Eschewing convention, Grindvirus offers beats and rhythms that are tailored to the music instead of playing what is only specific to the genre. Where many bands would stomp with a half time polka over their groove sections, Marius throws in syncopated breaks with quick kick flourishes - all while maintaining 8th note hats (see "Oust - Odour Eliminator" and "Hamsters In Your Head"). He has lightning quick fills, abuses all his cymbals and can sustain high speed blasts long enough to land a spot Jon Chang's watch list. But to top it all off the man is precise like a metronome.

Some other songs to check out include "D.I." which is available on their MySpace and also on the Willowtip site. This might as well be an instrumental. The vocals consist of some growls tossed in at transition points and a low-end squeel which is nothing more than an extra instrument in the mix. It's also got the most double bass. Great tune. Also check out "Abhorrently Stinking Rich Man" for a good example of how great drumming can make minimalist riffing sound awesome.

You can buy it here. Willowtip still shows it as Pre-Order but it's released, so ignore that. While you are waiting for it to arrive go ahead and give it a listen or twelve here. If for some reason this doesn't do it for you, leave us a comment because we'd like to hear why.


Flesh Monolith said...

Jesus Christ is this heavy, good find.

King Cripple said...

Heavy, indeed! That production is great. You were also spot on about what a good drummer can add to a simple riff. Have you spent time behind a kit yourself?

These guys are sort of a weird signing by Willowtip. Your review and the songs I have heard make them sound like a welcomed departure from the label's usual slick and thin tech-death. I hope Willowtip continues down this path.

Zmaj said...

Hey guys. As requested, I linked you up on my side.

An unrelated note to 206-grind: that Magrudergrind S/T review was fucking spot-on.

206 said...

I've been around drum kits all my life. I understand them, but I suck personally.

Zmaj - glad someone liked it. Cheers.

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