Grindcore is a realm in which bands usually either turn out wonderfully violent or boisterously obnoxious. The releases that outfits lurking in the genre either turn out as marring masterpieces of fury and distortion, or as incredibly messy and unstructured noise. Among the bands that do it right are one of the great pioneers of the genre itself, Blockheads
. Established in 1992 from Nancy, France, this deadly group has released a sleuth of full-length records such as “Last Tribes” in 1995 and “Shapes of Misery
” in 2006, and become one of the most renowned grindcore acts ever to storm across the metal scene. They also collaborated with other bands, such as Mumakil
and Inside Conflict
. Eventually, Blockheads
was signed to Relapse Records, which is known for harboring bands such as Dying Fetus
and Cephalic Carnage
. This is where the band’s fifth full-length album, “This World Is Dead
,” came in. Loaded
with 24 short tracks and one longer one, the French quartet is out to unleash violence in the early course of 2013.
As a Blockheads
record, anyone can expect the type of music the band plays best in “This World Is Dead
:” Fast and furious grindcore that will send listeners swinging their limbs like a complete maniac. The drums mostly compose of rapid-fire blast-beats and fills. However, they also hold some slower-paced moments, creating some nice diversity in speed. The guitars are as raunchy and distorted as ever, exerting vehement riffs throughout the album. On top of all of this, the raucous, aggressive screams and bellows of all four members of the group emphasize the destructive fabric of the instrumentals. The sound production is also well done, making the music sound both raw and audible. These elements blend together in order to create a highly visceral and vicious fusion of grindcore and death metal. As stated earlier, all of the tracks, excluding the last track “Trail of the Dead
,” are rather brief, ranging from less than twenty seconds to a little over two minutes. This helps in underlining the music’s devastating effect, since the grindcore onslaughts are distributed in concentrated, potent doses. As usual, Blockheads
smash the scene with raw and tumultuous grindcore.
On the other hand, deathly grindcore is not all “This World Is Dead
” specializes in. There are plenty of unique perks that Blockheads
holds outside of the act’s usual normal raw grindcore mold. The guitars, while generating very raunchy, thrashing riffs, also have some melodic riffs throughout the album, which are made very clear from the greatly-executed production. Sometimes, they even have an epic tone to them, making Blockheads
’ sound even more unique compared to other acts that wildly roam in the grindcore department. Another intriguing aspect of this album that separates itself from the rest of the squalid pack is that there are moments in this record where the band takes a break from its hyper-velocity assaults, and instead aims for a slower pace. These parts somewhat fit the doom metal mold; they hold a sluggish march-like tempo while maintaining the amplified buzz-saw guitar play, and they are best showcased in the last song “Trail of the Dead
.” This augments a sense of versatility to the album, where it is not all about the crazed, machine gun-like violence. The melodic and versatile aspects of the band’s violence make this album even more enjoyable and memorable.
has returned to the stage as monstrous as ever, and this is proven with “This World Is Dead
.” Not only does this album unveil why Blockheads
has been considered as iconic to the grindcore genre, it also simply stands out as a versatile record compared to others of the similar caliber, with epic yet still grubby guitar riffs and the sluggish doom-like tracks. The only issue that can be spotted on this excellent release is that it likely would have been better off with a shorter playing time. “This World Is Dead
” lasts for almost forty minutes, with almost all of the songs following the same formula of metallic mangling. While this is not necessarily a true shortcoming, having the record go on for just twenty to thirty minutes would have been just as effective. Nonetheless, there is very little to complain about this album. Loyal fans and newcomers alike, those seeking out a fine grindcore release will want to go rampant to this record. The album starts and marches forth in pure and rapid chaos until the final track, where only a barren wasteland remains afterwards, making “This World Is Dead
” a nicely catastrophic soundtrack to the apocalypse.