Subvert the Dominant Paradigm

Taking their moniker from the B-Sharps school of “we need a name that’s witty at first, but that seems less funny each time you hear it”; New Mexico’s Noisear has been cranking out the fast and furious since about the turn of the century, to gradually increasing recognition culminating in this, their debut album on Relapse. The most obvious parallel this listener draws is to their new label-mates and contemporaries Antigama, in that their sound is rooted in “traditional” grindcore dynamics, particularly in the rhythm section, but with an experimental flair that distinguishes them from the rest of the blur. Or in other words, metal in the front, punk in the rear, and spazztic moments of genius scattered liberally throughout.

This is not to say that bassist Joe Tapia or drummer Bryan Fajardo are sloppy by any means – they are in fact fairly fucking tight – and the former’s frantic pulse and the latter’s train-wreck fills seem to be the result of a well-calculated chaos. Six-stringers Dorian Rainwater and Thomas Romero give most of their grindcore peers a run for their money with some impossibly speedy yet concise riffs, as well, they break unison frequently with some disorienting lead harmonies, sharp pinch harmonics and even some occasionally big-riff breakdowns and metallic heroics. Vocalist Alex Lucero (with assists by Tapia and Rainwater) has both the “eee-ree-ree’s” and the “frah-yah-yah’s” down pat.

Make no mistake though, that despite some of their creative excursions, Noisear keep the accelerator floored throughout the proceedings, so if you are on the look-out for the more experimental moments, don’t blink or you may miss’em. At their “slowest”, they sound like a runaway rollercoaster and at their fastest its pure blur, baby. 29 of the 30 songs here are under the 2 minute mark, and most don’t even make it half that far, and as such I am not going to even attempt to pick out any particular stand-out tracks, though the band is consistent and hardly redundant throughout the recording, which is always noteworthy in this genre. Track 30 is a 20 minute noise track that is far from unlistenable, but seems like a needless tag-on and is nothing to write home about – although the idea of writing home about a noise track does tickle my funny bone (Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda, Here I Am At… Camp Masonna*).

All in all, if not mind-blowing, Subvert the Dominant Paradigm is as satisfying a grindcore release as I have heard in recent years, particularly from a U.S. band (I’m a bit of a snob – sue me). Fans of actually interesting, good guitar-work in this genre know how few and far between such examples can be, and would be well-advised to check this out, as would fans of Antigama who were particularly enthralled with that band’s spectacular run from Discomfort through Resonance. As someone who’s days of uber-grind enthusiasm are somewhat behind him, I can’t say I’ll be spinning this album constantly, but this has whet my appetite for their upcoming Maryland Deathfest appearance, and Noisear is, if not an upper echelon grind act quite yet, certainly head-and-shoulders above most of their genre brethren, and well worth checking out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
March 9th, 2011


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