's maniacal digital grind first met my ears last year, when I picked up a second hand copy of their double disc 'Bestial Machinery
'. Wow. I didn't really know what to make of it to begin with; even having listened to grindcore for a number of years, this was something else entirely. The violent energy was astonishing, and I looked forward to their next release.
Well, 'Agorapocalypse' is here, and the apocalypse in fast forward is what it sounds like. Opening track 'Timewave Zero
' approaches like some epic war machine, slowing in preparation for its final assault. From there it powers through two minutes of insane riffing, frantic howls and screams of rage. The opening five tracks all contain this same level of intensity, never compromising speed for brutality except when necessary, but containing some thick chunky riffing, especially in the rumbling intro to 'Hung
from the Rising
In fact it appears that Scott Hull
and co have been listening to something other than the crazy voices in their head, as 'Agorapocalypse' is a much more musically based album than the 'micro-grind' flavoured records they have released. 'First National Stem Cell and Clone' is a perfect example of this; blending grind, death metal and thrash into the one track successfully, as with the following 'Question
'. Of course, they haven't lost this grind edge completely, with closing tracks 'Ex-Cop' and Flamingo Snuff' both capable of fitting onto 'Bestial Machinery
', and 'Druggernaut Jug Fuck' hitting pretty awesome speeds in places, but in reining in the craziness for a more refined and focused result, it appears Agoraphobic Nosebleed
may have found the perfect combination to create excellent works of grind.
Vocally the album retains that quality of the unhinged, especially with the triple layered vocals of Richard Johnson, female screamer Katherine Katz and main lyricist Jay Randall taking turns to assault your senses. Katz does a particularly good job, sounding as demented as posible while never losing a clarity to her delivery.
'Agorapocalypse' may be the turning point for Agoraphobic Nosebleed
; the moment where their brand of spazz grind evolves into a potent musical weapon. Older fans may be disappointed by the lack of 30 second blast fests, but when that is stripped back, you find a band that is not afraid to compromise in order to find the result they want. They haven't lost their edge, they have merely refined it into a malignant, musical beast.