Tanned Christ
Antipodean Sickness


Good fuckin’ lord, here is some goddamn bonkers grind from Australia.  Tanned Christ are a quartet with an anxiety-ridden attack that sounds like they’re on the verge of a musical heart attack and hernia that could kill off the entire band without a moment’s notice.  This is not traditional grind, no fuckin’ way Jose in the Napalm Death shirt over there.  The assault and battery on Antipodean Sickness is full of skronk-y noise guitar, drumming that stops and turns on a dime (from jazz beats to straight up blasts), blown lung hardcore vocals, time changes fit for a mental ward and practically zero chances to catch a break or a breath.  If you held a gun to my head and said, “Give me a reference point asshole,” I’d have to say it’s like a mustard gas bomb containing trace elements of Dillinger Escape Plan circa Calculating Infinity, Antigama, Lethargy (from New York), Sulaco, Botch, Today is the Day, Unsane, Cavity and Psyopus.  My math is probably off somewhere but this is some obtuse-angled, Pythagorean mania of the highest order.

“Insolvent Self” makes all that djent stuff seem tame.  There’s a raw punk feel to the band and the recording but this isn’t three-chord d-beat in the least.  This is musical war.  Listening to this is like running through an Olympic marathon and jumping hurdles with a landmine strapped to each foot while juggling live grenades at the same time.  The freeway traffic jam stops n’ starts rarely utilize traditional riffs, instead relying on frenetic noise squalor, high-end guitar abuse and mathematical licks that never slow down or settle on a coherent structure.  It’s like Coltrane’s craziest jazz on acid in the midst of a DIY basement grind festival.  Spitfire hardcore screams rage over the lunacy which is full of stark low-end redirections and drumming that goes from a d-beat to a blast to a schizophrenic jazz pulse faster than you can say, “Christ on a croissant!”  Despite a few endnote, filthy lurches “Global Priest” is like the Am-Rep vein mainlined to monstrosity with crack, speed and crystal meth.  There is ALMOST a groove in this one…the deconstructed riff fragments are somewhat catchy even whenever they’re smothered by a smog blanket of smokestack distortion, throbbing light speed bass lines and hypertension blasts.  If you have any sort of heart issue, I wouldn’t recommend listening to this song or anything on the album in general.

The furious, God killin’ exhilaration of “Street Change” toys with being a tangible punk song, yet the serpentine guitar twists get faster, meaner, nastier and more out of control by the second until the entire song collapses into free-form noise-grind excruciation that takes the concept of “music” behind the barn and shoots it in the head with a nailgun for good measure.  To my ears, this makes Botch sound friendly and welcoming.  The title track is reigned in with a bludgeoning bass groove and is the about the closest Tanned Christ come to actual structure on the entire album.  Don’t get me wrong it’s still fuckin’ mental…there’s just a fully-formed, NYC lurch happening as transposed by skilled Aussie grindfreaks.  Take Today is the Day’s toppling, constant climactic approach on Willpower and distill it down into a burly sludge/doom groove and you’ll have the feedback-blasted, riff-heavy vomitation of “No Love Ever.”  The bass is fatter than a Christmas hog and the guitars mire out one rotten meat riff after another.  There’s enough feedback on hand to give Cavity’s early work a serious run for its money and the effect of Tanned Christ’s madness slowed down has a lasting, nightmarish impact.  “The Call of the Meat” is another spray of armor-piercing grind that mutates into trippy, cryptic noise-rock with hellish guitar textures in the second half that certainly tip the hat to Reverend Steve Austin’s method of decimation.  Again, the gorgeous buttery bass tonality holds this barely coherent mincing together with plummeting groove and intricately clean playing.  “Abscond” follows a similar template with its first half being a retching tech-grind experience that soon goes into sustained, drawn-out noise scrapes that would have been perfectly at home on either, Scattered, Smothered and Covered or Temple of the Morning Star.

It’s safe to say that the album’s final trilogy of tunes might be even more pissed off than anything that came before.  The bovine bashing histrionics of “Mooncalf” is an unrelenting squall of grinding acid rain that finally settles on a catchy punk-rock drum exposition before it comes to a close.  “Prowler I” is just grind, grind and more grind with the most high-pitched vocal screams on the entire disc.  Tanned Christ returns to murderous, noise-sick sludge on closer “Prowler II” where the might of the jam is enough to snap an oak tree in half with its bare hands as every detuned groove lumbers and stutters like a drunken circus strongman.

Antipodean Sickness is hellaciously noisy and damn good.  The band’s psychotic sonic prayers are enough to shock a sane man into insanity.  Even though the album moves along at a time blurring clip, there are still numerous moments of defined songwriting abilities that you damn sure remember it after a few listens.  This might not be for everyone but I sure enjoyed the hell out of it and I venture a guess that fans of tech-grind that can also get down on punk, hardcore, noise-rock and sludge influences will too.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
December 22nd, 2015


  1. Commented by: Jesuskhrist

    Weird. Sulaco is a far away from grind as I can imagine. I will avoid this.

  2. Commented by: Jay

    Thanks for the comment man and reading the review! I appreciate it a ton. There’s definitely a lot of grind happening here, but it’s wrapped up in something else that’s for sure. That’s why I tried to note in the beginning that it wasn’t traditional at all.

    What would you consider Sulaco’s “Tearing through the Roots” in terms of style? I hear it get tagged and bagged as grind a lot but I always thought it was more of a noisy tech/hardcore record. Even when I picked that album up from Willowtip way back when with a pile of others, I remember the label even calling them tech-grind. It was tough for me to make a judgment call. These guys have plenty of blasts and speed freakouts thoughout, so it’s definitely in their sound a lot but they have that weird kind of tech/hardcore feel too. I tried to emphasize that atmosphere being here so folks would know this is more off the cuff.

    I’m more of a classic grind fan myself because that’s what I grew up on and the kind of shows I’d see living in the Pittsburgh area all of the time (we used to be really rich for those shows but it has sadly tapered off from the days when Phobia used to stop by frequently), but I did enjoy this. Depending on what you’re looking for though I can’t say you will. They’re a different trip than Aussie grinders like Volatile, early Blood Duster, The Day Everything Became Nothing, etc.

    Glad to help lead you to sanctity though if this is something that you wouldn’t dig! That’s why I’m here.

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