Continuing our series of metal reviews by non-metal fans, Mister Growl welcomes back guest reviewer Shane Frasier, manager of Acquired Taste Bookings and creator of the Behemoth Music Festival (a series of concerts in Upstate New York that recently reached down into Brooklyn). He has also been a member of roughly seven thousand bands, ranging from hardcore punk (Daytime Soiree) to electronic/dance music (Mr. Owl) to eccentric insanity (The Lanky Mofos and The Bumblebees). He was nice enough to accept our invitation and review the new Mammoth Grinder album, Underworlds:
“You don't need much of an active imagination to guess what kind of music Mammoth Grinder is. It'd be funny, and yes, kind of unique, for them to be a jazz quartet, but no, these guys play a thrashy version of hardcore that demands you to throw down in a pit. But fitting the bill name-wise doesn't save one from ridicule, especially in the music world. Thankfully, I have little to gripe about with their new album, Underworlds.
Mammoth Grinder is fast-paced and destructive, but they stay just out of reach of the term “brutal” to save them from being bogged down by such associations. It's the kind of music I feel a psychopath would listen to to get pumped about hunting down some moronic teens in a horror film. While it mainly stays grounded in its fast-paced hardcore roots, it does try to stray often enough to not warrant it being considered bland.
"Wraparound Eyes" and "Paragon Pusher" really emphasize what these guys are trying to do here, sporting quick beats, growling vocals, and thrash-induced riffs that never overstay their welcome (but how could they at under 3 minutes anyways?). The guitar work on these songs takes center stage, with harmonizing parts that effortlessly blend together to create a wall of cacophony so great that I'm sure somewhere, in the vast ruins of space, some universe has been torn apart.
"Barricades" and "Roperide" work at a breakdown-like pace, chugging through with a sense of dread. They feel slightly metallic in their approach, but don't stay true to their tropes. "Barricades" really takes the cake out of these two, mainly because it’s so damn catchy. I've often found it's hard to make slower paced songs more memorable, mainly because, in these genres, they're more focused on being destructive more than anything. It’s nice to be reminded there are exceptions to the rule.
"Born In A Bag" and "Breeding" bring back the speed, displaying a punk attitude in the songs. I know, thrash and hardcore are pretty close siblings to punk in the music world, but really getting them to fit together is hard work. Others like "Moral Crux" deviate from the prominent fast-paced setting, relying on its intensity and slow-paced doom to instill wonder in the audience.
Underworlds is very solid, and while nothing is really different from anything I've heard before, it doesn't matter. Mammoth Grinder has set up an album that never finds a middle ground, opting to either go fast or slow. That black or white mentality might be a turn off to some people, but that's what kept me going with it. I’ve always wanted a variety of tempos and genre influences in each song, but for some reason, Mammoth Grinder wooed me away from that mentality. It's about time someone did.”
- Shane Frasier
(Editor’s note: This album is in my list of top albums for the year. I will be releasing a Top 50 list in December. - Mister Growl)
Many thanks to Shane for covering this release, and we seem to have some momentum with THREE positive guest reviews in a row from Mister Frasier. Note to self: Send Shane all crusty grind/punk/hardcore/d-beat releases we need reviewed.
Stream Underworlds over here at Bandcamp and buy it for a well-spent $6.66: http://mammothgrinder.bandcamp.com/