Painful Defloration

Among the few facts you can find about this Ukrainian trio online, is that they refer to their music as “aesthetic grind”. My pet peeve about bands inventing their own “one band” genres notwithstanding; I suppose the implication is that Painful Defloration is more concerned with artistic considerations than their genre brethren, which would be offensively pretentious if not for this third album, on which they make a pretty powerful case for themselves. Make no mistake, this is no “high art” by any means; Painful Defloration bust right out of the gate wielding jackhammer rhythms, razor-wire guitars and furious vocals though obviously this is not what separates them from the pack, any more than their studious absorption of influences ranging from the old-school to the new make them all that different from the current class of grinders. Rather it is the combination of the aforementioned elements with their tight songwriting, tightrope dynamics, perpetual motion machine momentum and, horror of horrors, fearless embrace of melody which makes Antihuman/Antisocial as crucial a grind album as 2011 is likely to offer.

“Don’t Stop Violence” lets you know the band means business, and almost immediately the album throws the listener for a loop sonically, in that the production and performance is of the higher standards of the more metallic end of the grindcore spectrum, while the riffs, vocal phrasing and basically everything else is of the hardcore variety. Beginning on the very next track “Grind Til You Die” and continuing through the rest of the album, the band starts opening up their tool-box with melodic punky passages reminiscent of something like Tragedy or even Kylesa at ludicrous speed, spliced with breakneck break-beat transitions worthy of my now fallen heroes in Japanische Kampfhörspiele. If they occasionally slow down to catch a breath, it’s only in order to go five times faster on the next riff, particularly on the ironically titled “Stand for Nihilism”. The album peaks with the back-to-back combo of “The Loud Underground” with its sneering duel vocal ranting and snappy two-step kick, and “Beyond All Lies” with its winding lead melody chorus snaking out of the punchy verses. It’s all brought to a quick halt from which they slowly slink back in with a dreary sludge riff emerging from a creepy whisper-roar, speeding up to hit the chorus again and spacing out on fuzzy leads till the end. Excellent stuff.

Coming down from this peak, the album plateaus until the penultimate “The Gallows Swing” totally lives up to its name before leading into an excellent cover of Deep Purple’s “Comin’ Home” which closes the album on a million high notes. The “Aesthetic Grind” here isn’t that Painful Defloration are some kind of snooty, bespectacled hipsters ironically playing extreme music, or Zorn-esque avant-garde innovators; rather it’s that by album number three, the band has mastered this misunderstood art in all its glory. Knowing that speed means nothing if the songs make no sense; the band execute their dynamic tempo shifts and catchy, memorable riffs with superb proficiency, lacing them with saccharine sweet melodies and keenly phrased vocals, infusing each of these one-minute-plus numbers with character, though never letting the songwriting get in the way of the brain-bashing or vice versa. Starting, for example, with their silly name, obscure location and blah album cover; I could probably come up with a million more excuses for sleeping on this band, but after listening to this record, all of those seem a bit lame. If you are fan of grind that is as cohesive as it is chaotic and melodic as it is manic, don’t make the same mistake.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by John Gnesin
April 11th, 2011


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