Night of the Ultimate Mosh

Grindcore. Punk. Humor. Elements that have all been successfully melded into one 27-minute explosion of crusty blastbeats, power chord riffs and ridiculous non-traditional grindcore lyrics.

I actually first heard Sweden’s Birdflesh on Relapse’s Swedish Assault album, and as a result dug up this album, their second “real” album. I’m not sure about the age of the songs on that compilation, but they seem far more brutal (both sound and structure-wise) than the far more peppy grindcore on display here. Either way thought for someone like me who really isn’t all that into grindcore, this album rages pretty hard, and thanks in part to influences of Carcass, Napalm Death and a heavy dose of punk and crustcore, remains pretty catchy and lively.

It’s not nearly as muddy or guttural and off the audio scale as a lot of grindcore, with a fairly light guitar tone that allows actual notes and riffs to be heard. Which is good as a lot of the short power packed songs contain some very punchy yet controlled blastbeats. It’s not as constantly intense or polished as say Rotten Sound, and the whole album gives off a sort of “garage grind” vibe of three crazy guys just having fun in their basement. Most notable though are the rather humorous lyrics; sure there are the standard undead, gore-obsessed stuff that makes it solidly grindcore.

Tracks like “Slaughter of Flies”, “CoffinFucker”, and “Gut to Kill” cover standard grindcore territory. But when your suddenly introduced to a song about a cats halitosis (“Catmouth”), murderous farm animals (“The Evil Pig”), and even a short tuba-backed ditty (“Dance on the Frozen Desert”), you realize that Birdflesh may not be the socio-political, gore mongering type and don’t take themselves too seriously. Of course, if the cover photo and inlay pics don’t clue you in. And to be honest the slightly off-kilter lyrics made the album somewhat “different” than the vast muddy hordes of down tuned blluuurgh.

As required by grindcore, all 27 songs are short, ranging from 29 seconds to an epic 2 minutes, but unlike most grindcore I’ve heard, it’s all discernable and dare I say it, fun? I would love to make this a mammoth two page review of definitive highlights and deep rhetoric, but an album like this really does not deserve to be drowned by my verbal diarrhea; its brutally simplistic and whirls by so quickly, there’s not much to assimilate other than the intensity of the music while it’s pummeling you. My lack of utter gushing enthusiasm may come from my general apathy for grindcore in general, as I don’t see myself listening to this album on a regular basis, despite its likeable grinding punk.

I personally found this album rather tame to the material on Swedish Assault sampler, which is a shame, as that stuff blew me away rather then merely entertained me (It made me buy this) – plus, I generally found the lyrics to be far more amusing than the music. Much like the album, this review will be short and succinct. If you like grindcore, get this. If you don’t like grindcore – get this. It may make you place one foot cautiously on the grindcore bandwagon and with its seething yet amicable noise.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 25th, 2002


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