Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Arc EP

Rating

Is it just me, or has everybody in grindcore gone sludgy of late? First it was Pig Destroyer with their Mass & Volume EP, and now Agoraphobic Nosebleed, a band best known for putting out a 100(!) track CD in ’03, has jumped on the sludgewagon.

Now, this three-song EP runs five minutes longer than said triple-digit effort, so suffice to say, this ain’t yer grandpa’s spazzcore. What we get instead is some pretty solid NOLA sludge worship—not bad for a band from Boston!

“Not a Daughter” kicks ‘er off with a Boweresque riff leading us into some Mike IX infused vocal venom. The band really nails the NOLA groove with a tune that sounds like it coulda been swiped from the EHG songbook, and the fact that the vocals are at least somewhat intelligible (“Stop, stop hurting me/why are you doing this to me?”) makes this number even more unsettling.

“Deathbed” crawls along at a Crowbar pace, with a few guttural growls added into the vocal mix. This one does have a bit more of a death-metal feel, but it’s definitely death-doom a la Coffins or even Autopsy—nothing wrong with that, at all. Hell, there’s a riff about three-quarters in that just screams Church of Misery!

“Gnaw” throws us right back into the EHG-style madness with a head-nodding, punishing riff begetting a series of breakdowns. This one chugs along slowly for a while before going back to that mid-pace NOLA groove, chucking in some more breakdowns for good measure. I’ll even overlook the vacuum-cleaner vocals toward the end…

You heard it here first: The first great sludge record of 2016 was just laid down by a grindcore band. I’d take this over all those 20-second songs any day of the week, and twice on Tuesdays!

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.

8.5 Rating