Despise You/Agoraphobic Nosebleed
And On And On...Split

It makes sense that Agoraphobic Nosebleed did a split with Despise You.

The band has worn proudly on their sleeve their love for grinding power-violence through the shirts they wear, songs they’ve covered, and singer Jay Randall’s very own free record label, Grindcore Karaoke. But they didn’t just have a flavor-of-the-month powerviolence band to do a split with. Oh, no. They teamed up with Southern California’s seminal Despise You who serve up their first new material in roughly ten years.

That’s not to say that ANb are doing Despise You any favors. In fact the west coast crew delivers such an intense and blistering amalgamation of grind, metal, and hardcore (18 tracks in just under 17 minutes) that Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s psycho drum machine thrash tornado keeps up predominantly on the strength of their tightness and speed. And fortunately this split does provide equal parts blasting noise and aggression with a couple of surprises to make it an interesting listen, even for the most calloused grind freak.

For starters, Agoraphobic Nosebleed throw a curveball by starting their half with a doomy sludge song, “Half Dead”, that while it does have a great cavernous dirge, complete with delayed and echoed vocals, it almost gave me a flashback of their stylistic shift heard on their split with Converge back in ’99. What’s also interesting is the Agoraphobic Nosebleedhalf of the split is fairly congruent with it’s seven tracks. It starts with said doomy song, followed by a fast thrasher, which could have come off their most recent album, Agorapocalypse, before three short, thrash-n-burn, grinding tracks tear through the middle at 50 seconds or less a piece, and then exiting with another thrash speedfest, ‘Possession’, and again a sludgy noise-metal track to bookend their half of the split. I’m not sure if it was intentionally structured with a palindrome sequence in mind (sludge-thrash-grind-grind-grind-thrash-sludge) or if that was accidental, but it does provide for an engaging listen and a unique musical pacing that works in their favor.

However, it is hard to complete with the tall order Despise You place on the table from the beginning. With the majority of the songs ranging from 30 seconds to one and a half minutes, they cover a wide spectrum in an otherwise limiting genre. There’s even a sing-a-long in “Fear’s Song” with the chant, “I don’t care about you, fuck you!” Another stand out song, “You Can’t Fix Me, Don’t Trip”, sounds like Slayer run through a powerviolence converter – it’s a great 54 seconds followed immediately by “Painted Grey” which sees the band turn on their D-Beat side briefly, deftly splicing in some blastbeat bursts before ending with a galloping riff (What? In a powerviolence band?).

Both bands ultimately bring the intensity, but it much different ways. I’ve found myself going back to the Despise You side more frequently, probably in no small part because they have some memorable and adrenalin-pumping parts that sound raw and immediate. However, Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s clinical-level of drum action and tight riffing will make your head spin. It’s a tough call, but I will say the long wait for new Despise You material in MANY years actually delivered while the Agoraphobic Nosebleedsongs tread in the same basic waters they’ve occupied in the last couple years, it’s still ripping stuff, but again, when Despise You is opposite your band on a split, it’s a tall order to answer back

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Stacy Buchanan
September 30th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: vugelnox

    I really enjoy the shift ANB has undertaken over the years. They’ve put out enough under 30 second grind bursts to fill several band’s discographies so exploring thrash and sludge is a nice change.


  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    dunno why I haven’t gotten this yet. ANb always make me smile…


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