The Way Of All Flesh
posted on 6/2008 By:
I love grindcore. I love it lots. I love it long time.
As I listen to The Way Of All Flesh, which I have done multiple times daily since I got it, the first two comparisons that come to mind are Napalm Death and Discordance Axis, those twin pillars of metallic greatness tumbling across one another to the forefront of my brain within the first thirty seconds of this disc. If you’re a grindcore fan, then you should stop reading now because that’s all you’ll need to know. You need this record; end of review.
Everyone else may need a bit more cajoling, and to them, I offer up the simple fact that, even with some great records coming across my desk in the last six months or so, I can count on one hand the ones that absolutely kicked my ass. Dismember’s self-titled barnstormer is one, and second would be Soilent’s new one, and then perhaps third only to those spine-snapping, bone-crushing moments of metal mastery stands this raw ‘n’ furious platter of death-inflected grind. When I went a-searchin’ for my next record to review, I was in the mood for grind—I’d spent the better part of two months in avantgarde or sludge territory, ambient or abrasive or both, with a small foray into old-school death, and after all that, I was ready for an all-out blastfest again. So I went a-lookin’ for some killer grinding, and damned if I didn’t find it.
As mentioned, New York’s ASRA (“Alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse”) is heavily indebted to the gods of grind, Napalm Death, and the high-pitched deranged vocals are also reminiscent of Discordance Axis’ Jon Chang. (In tried-and-true grind fashion, the vocals alternate from a low growl to the high chattering. The chattering here is better—the death growl gets the job done, but lacks the immediacy of a Barney Greenway.) Like most modern grinders, ASRA also demonstrates a healthy respect for classic death metal riffing, evidenced in moments like the chugging intro to “Payload.” My only complaint is the production is a bit raw, and it robs the record of an earth-shattering thick recent-Napalm Death punchy sound—the snare drum can be pingy at times and the whole thing could use a little more clarity instead of a hardcore-punk small-budget recording. Of course, that rawness is often a part of the underground, so it’s ulitimately negligible, and I bring it up only to explain my scoring above in the face of my enthusiasm for this record.
No matter what, ASRA rages with the pissed-off intensity of a bazillion angry bees, so, slight sonic inadequacies aside, The Way Of All Flesh is still a very necessary purchase. Recommended to the nth degree.
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