MMA Reviewer's Challenge: Album Selected by Vim Fuego.
OKAY WAIT. HEAR ME OUT.
This one might be a bit...odd, so just stick with me.
Grindcore is an interesting genre to tackle. It's kind of like that drunk and filthy uncle you see stumbling in your front yard during a family reunion, who no-one in your family really wants to recognize but who's still been there as far back as you can remember and can't really do much about. But musically, Grindcore is a disturbing genre -- you take the dark, occultic roots of 70's metal (à la Sabbath) and boil it down until you get the most heinous and sickening components. All packed into these bite-sized songs (at only 1-2 minutes in length, many times even less) all with an almost overwhelming level intensity and brutality.
But what if we took it one step further, you ask. What if we took this genre that already revels in it's own depravity, and make it even uglier? Enter "goregrind", a genre often thought to have been debuted by Carcass back in 1988 with their album Reek of Putrefaction. Now this is the REAL abhorrent stuff, as in "make your supposedly edgy-music-loving friend keel over and die" abhorrent. Carcass was not the only band to bear the title of goregrind, however. Bands like Exhumed, Impetigo, and Haemorrhage began crawling out the woodwork in mass exodus in the late 80s and early 90s. Goregrind gained it's own following separate from it's parent sub-genre, as people were enthralled by the flippant use of down-tuned guitars and cheesy horror themes. One of the more popular of these bands was none other than Sweden-based Regurgitate.
Regurgitate made their first entrance onto the scene in 1991 with their demo, but didn't really make a breakthrough until their debut studio album, Effortless Regurgitation of Bright Red Blood (...), in 1994. This release was disturbing enough on it's own, but the real treat didn't come until about 6 years later. "But Thatcher," you ask, "how would they even be able to top that debut? What more could they do?" A lot more, it turns out. Carnivorous Erection was the name of Regurgitate's sophomoric release in 2000, on the dawn of the new century. Grindcore was and still is a popular genre, but it was still at it's zenith around this time. So this admittedly exploitative piece of history came out around the perfect time.
As you might have guessed, Regurgitate are not the most subtle bunch, and it's clear in their choice of cover art and in their music. What they display on this release is nothing short of the musical equivalent of death by a thousand cuts (or in this case, 38), and I wouldn't be surprised if someone would be put off by it. Hell, I'm still a bit uncomfortable, and I've listened through it dozens of times. But Regurgitate's work is not without merits, as they do put on quite a show. Jocke Pettersson (skins) in particular is the highlight of the album, and his pure ferocity and speed is extremely entertaining even with the sometime aggravating heading music. The Swedes especially hit their mark when they slam out an incessantly groovy crunch such as on, ahem, 'Fecal Freak'. But a very glaring problem with this release is the "vocal" work by Rikard Jansson. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't exactly my first tango with grindcore, as I'm a huge fan of fellow Swedish grinders Nasum, and I'm very familiar with their screaming vocal style. However Regurgitate and Jansson opt for this sort of watery death rattle. Might sound cool? Perhaps maybe used once, but it's on every single track, incessantly gurgling, sometimes ruining what could be a very powerful and exciting time. I know Regurgitate's sole purpose here is to shock, but there is a clear cut difference between shock and just being plain annoying.
There's really not much more to say about this one. Carnivorous Erection is a trip, sure, and I had quite a bit of fun on a few of the tracks, but isn't nearly as fun as some other grindcore or even goregrind acts I've come across. "Good, but non-essential" is a perfect phrase to summarize. I'm off to go rest for a bit.