Stormcrow/Massgrave
Split CD

Originally released on vinyl back in 2008, this re-issued split features 3 songs from Bay Area sludgsters Stormcrow and 14 tracks (including 5 bonus tracks for those that own the original Agipunk Records release) from Vancouver grindcore acts Massgrave.

The 3 lengthier Stormcrow tracks are festering, crusty, sludgy numbers that are self described ‘stenchcore’ and been compared to Hellbastard (ironically just signed to Selfmadegod), Deviated Instinct and Amebix. Slow burning, primal and trigger free, “Poisoned Mind”, “Lost Hopes”, and “The Science of Tyranny” ooze with a nice mix of death metal, sludge and doom and even throw in some ambient sections that would appeal to the Samothrace/ Deadbird fans, though far more crusty and raw. Some more up tempo crust arises here and there (“Lost Hopes”), but for the most part the band play slow and dirty with the 9 and a half minute “The Science of Tyranny” scrawling and seeping its way into your mind. Isn’t it about time for a full length follow up to 2005s Enslaved in Darkness guys?

The 14 Massgrave tracks are almost sonically opposite from Stormcrow, as the band ply a form of classic, crusty grindcore that reminded me of early Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, Terrorizer, Righteous Pigs and such; punky and feral but surprisingly catchy. Short, direct cuts with power chords and gruff vocals, Massgrave are no where near as polished and violent as some of their modern grindcore contemporaries (Insect Warfare, Mumakil, Kill the Client, Magrudergrind), but they share the same backbone and influence if delivered with a slightly more old school, tone and approach, which I found to be one of the more effective retro grind sounding releases of late. Feedback drenched tacks like “At What Cost”, “Blindfolded Conscience”, “Corruption of Innocence”, killer “Suffering Until Death”, “Get Over Yourself”, and even slow groove that starts “Corporation Mind Control” took me back to the classic era of Earache and Peaceville records with pot and politics fueled tenacity. Even the cover of Nirvana’s “Tourettes” bristles with classic punk/grindcore energy.

I’m not a huge fan of split CDs, but this one is one of the better ones I’ve heard and I look forward to collecting and hearing the discographies from both bands, especially Massgrave.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 30th, 2009

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