Monday 16 February 2015

Cretin - Stranger (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/12/2014
Label: Relapse Records

‘Stranger’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. It
2. Ghost Of Teeth And Hair
3. The Beast And The Drowning Bucket
4. Knights Of The Rail
5. We Live In A Cave
6. Sandwich For The Attic Angel
7. Stranger
8. Mister Frye, The Janitor Guy
9. Mary Is Coming
10. Honey And Venom
11. Freakery
12. They Buried The Lunchbox
13. Husband?
14. How To Wreck Your Life In Three Days

Cretin is:

Marissa Martinez-Hoadley | guitars / vocals
Matt Widener | bass
Col Jones | drums
Elizabeth Schall | guitars


GRIND AND ROLL! GRIND AND ROLL! This California grind band combines old-school, crusty, thrasy D-beat riffs that reach waaaay back with atonal blasts and some of the angriest vocals around. The album starts off with -gasp- lead guitar and a pounding heavy rock riff and segues naturally into familiar blast territory without sounding out of place or forced at all. Something one does not always expect in a “grind” record is to hear straight up guitar solos with bends and stops and a true sense of melody. Which leads to something this band does a lot better than a lot of grind bands: using some actual melodic tension to build riffs along with just being stupid fast and abrasive. Each song feels like a real song, not just a collection of chainsaw riffs, and each song moves through parts in a progression that leads itself. With some songs pushing well over two minutes, and one (track #2 “Ghost of Teeth and Hair”) there are enough transitions and riffs on  individual tracks to cover entire albums in the genre.

The vocals are something that you don't always get to hear and on ‘Stranger’ you get a really angry sounding voice that hasn't been covered in piles of distortion and compression and sheen to the point of sounding fake. Just low-to-mid pitched loud and raw as f@@k venting. It's good to hear heavy music that sounds PASSIONATE in a sea of quantized, pitch corrected, micro-edited heavy music floating around out there.

The production on the album is bright, loud, and full of energy. There isn't an element present that isn't mixed to be right in your face at every turn. It's hard to pick a favorite track, as the band has multitudes of breaks and grooves and surprising transitions to make the entire 32 minutes worth listening to several times. The aforementioned “Ghost of Teeth and Hair” probably gets my vote just for the hint of a progressive arrangement and the fearless guitar approach that doesn't really often shine in this type of music.

Oh yeah, and not that it really matters, but the vocalist/guitarist and guitar player are both women. Go figure. I'm definitely not someone who gives a crap about such things, but it’s never a bad thing to see in a scene, especially when the recorded results are this brutal.

Words by: Ian Smedbron

You can pick up a copy here

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