Captain Cleanoff
Rising Terror

Even for well-seasoned metalheads, grindcore is a tough pill to swallow. It takes some very skilled manufacturers to produce grind that can walk the tightrope between borderline white noise extremity and a whiff of actual songcraft and something for listeners to latch onto. Personally my tolerance for grind has lessened in recent years, mostly due to the fact that good grind bands are difficult to find. Thankfully a few gems have crossed my path and rejuvenated my interest in the genre over the past couple of years, like Gridlink’s Longhena, Antigama’s Meteor and the solid blast of Nasum worship delivered by Unrest earlier this year. Now we have the long gestating second album from Aussie grinders Captain Cleanoff to sink the old chompers into.

Captain Cleanoff formed way back in 1997 and are veterans of the Australian grind scene, eking out a respected albeit criminally underrated career. Yet  despite a lengthy career featuring a bunch of Splits and Compilations, up until this long awaited new album, entitled Rising Terror, Captain Cleanoff have only released a sole full length album. The album in question was 2008’s cheekily titled Symphonies of Slackness, a blisteringly well-constructed modern update of the classic grind sound pioneered by the likes of Napalm Death and Terrorizer and an album that I rank as one of grindcore’s finest achievements. While it may not reach the impeccable standards of Symphonies of Slackness, Rising Terror marks a welcome return from these Aussie grind kings and fails to disappoint.

The music is furiously fast, perhaps faster than ever before, as Captain Cleanoff rip through the album’s 16 tracks in a mere 21 minute run time. It’s perfectly concise for this sort of unrelenting barrage of noisy grind violence and the songs are expertly crafted and tightly performed while sticking closely to the signature Captain Cleanoff sound. Like most grind albums Rising Terror plays out most effectively in sequence and preferably in one short and manic listen. Individual tracks are difficult to isolate, with many clocking-in less than one minute, but as is often the case with grindcore brevity works advantageously and there’s certainly no shortage of hooky riffs and fierce street level grooves to counter the frenzied speed and nailgun blasts.

Cyclonic grind riffs, blast beats, thrashy d-beat rhythms and deranged screams and growls combine for the bulk of the material but Captain Cleanoff are more adept than most grind acts in the art of song-writing dynamics. Whipsmart riff changes and subtle change-ups in rhythm and tempo eliminates the monotonous attributes often found in grindcore. The band even deviates outside the rigid grind guidelines on the fleshed out atmospheric sludge of instrumental closer “Threads”. But in the end the real strengths of the Captain Cleanoff sound is found in the stabbing bursts of flesh-ripping intensity on tunes like “Napalm Burns”, “DISco grindCO” and “Shrine of the Entombed”. And the band brings plenty of catchy riffs to the table as well, strongly evidenced during the measured pacing and riff driven crunch of the superb “Ode to Necro”.

Production-wise Rising Terror sounds pretty goddamn beastly, with a sound that offers clarity and definition to the instruments without dulling the raw aesthetics and unchained violent energy of the Captain Cleanoff sound. The ear smashing loudness of the recording is a touch fatiguing but the brevity of the album ensures this aspect doesn’t prove to be a deal breaker. Unrelentingly vicious yet as insanely catchy as grindcore gets, Rising Terror embodies all the attributes that separates Captain Cleanoff from the grindcore pack and stands as a killer addition to a sparse but high quality recorded output.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
July 6th, 2015

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