Thursday, 18 February 2016

Agoraphobic Nosebleed - "Arc" EP (Review)

By: Mike Wilcox

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 22/01/2016
Label: Relapse Records


A solid EP and an exciting glance as the prospect to come. While it’s not the ANb sound that we might know, it’s absolutely a sound that anyone can jump into and with this effort we get grind turned Louisiana Sludge a la Eyehategod led by vocals from ex Salome member, Kat Katz. And what an effort is has turned out to be… Now go be a hypocrite and support capitalism and get your hands on “Arc”. Then turn it up really really fucking loud

“Arc” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Not A Daughter
2). Deathbed
3). Gnaw

The Review:

GRINDCORE IS SLOWING DOWN! GRINDCORE IS SLOWING DOWN! GRINDCORE IS SLOWING DOWN! GRINDCORE IS SLOWING DOWN! ONE MORE TIME! GRINDCORE IS SLOWING DOWN! Albeit a twisted reference to Iron Reagan, the message remains: the music by grind artists seems to be slowing down and taking a more sludge/doom approach. Pig Destroyer offered us “Mass and Volume”, Dc/NYC’s Magrudergrind are about to let loose their newest effort in 6 years, “II”, another notable departure from the previous grindcore format, and of course we have “Arc”, the recent album from the legendary and rather unique act that is Agoraphobic Nosebleed.

Prior to developing a polarized judgment as everyone else is apt to do, it ought to be noted that “Arc” is one of a series of EPs from ANb meant to showcase each member. With this effort we get grind turned Louisiana Sludge a la Eyehategod led by vocals from ex Salome member, Kat Katz. And what an effort is has turned out to be… The first mental note that the listener might take is the extended song lengths. “Arc” opens with “Not a Daughter” clocking in at 7:00. The more EHG sounding of the three track EP, “Not a Daughter” has the feeling that can only be obtained through many drinks, smokes, a live show, or a combination of all three. It’s impossible to not jam along with the track. While the music isn’t especially technical, the biggest difference being the “simple” drum programming compared to Scott Hull’s previous work, the riffs and changes are played proficiently, seamlessly, and solidly. You feel the weight of the riff, the consuming force of the sludge.

Deathbed” starts with what sounds like it could have been taken from a Neurosis or SUMAC set, heavy and pounding rhythms and singular loose and fat notes leading into a purge of sonic assault. Kat might as well be spewing tar into the audience. Again I am brought back to my initial though, it really does seem like grindcore is slowing down. I love it. Many friends and others alike do not. It seems to be getting a very polarized read. As “Deathbed” marches on the listener is again brought back to the NoLA sludge sound and style, which ANb once again delivers in spades.

As “Gnaw” kicks off and the album instils a kind of closure for this installation of the aforementioned project by ANb, thousand ton guitar riffs met with the gripping and soulful vocals of Kat Katz bombard the listener and again you can’t seem to stop jamming to this album. If you’re listening to it right now I can almost guarantee that you are headbanging, even if only a little bit. Even the sparse use of samples, usually at the end of the tracks, seems slowed down. Drunken sounding words of broken lives and broken systems compliment the tracks, but there certainly isn’t the sample heavy feeling that we know ANb and others for.

As the first of these releases, speaking personally, I am excited to see what else the crew puts out in the series next. I think that the reality of music is that you can get by playing the same gig, the same song, the same sounds, for so long until you get tired of it. For many artists there isn’t a breaking out of that mould, and for some when they do it, it is more or less a sonic disaster. With the advent of grind into sludge, or whatever ultimately irrelevant tags you would prefer to use, I see artists growing and expanding. Sometimes you have to change your approach in order to better get your point across. It seems that Agoraphobic Nosebleed does in fact know that, are employing that wisdom, and it is working really fucking well for them. A solid EP and an exciting glance as the prospect to come. While it’s not the ANb sound that we might know, it’s absolutely a sound that anyone can jump into and groove with. Now go be a hypocrite and support capitalism and get your hands on “Arc”. Then turn it up really really fucking loud.

Arc” is available here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

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