The Farmers' Wrath
posted on 4/2009 By:
I don’t care for grindcore. In fact, when I applied to be a writer for Metal Review I specifically mentioned that I don’t care for grindcore, and I remember it well because it was only a few weeks ago. Yet here I am on my second review, and I chose a grindcore album... and I actually really like this album.
None of this adds up at all. But I think I know what happened.
I’ve always made an effort with grindcore, which is why I liken it to when I used to visit my grandmother as a teenager. The difference being that instead of being scalded at any moment with a “so, when are you going to cut your hair?” and an obligation to reply politely, I’m nervously dreading the equally unwelcome and subjectively rude blast beat incursion, turning up to ruin everything and tear me a new asshole where my ear used to be. The only side effects of my grandmother’s old-fashioned goadings were a little white lie and a biscuit. RADADADADADADADA.
My grandmother wouldn’t enjoy Birdflesh, their Halloween car boot sale costumes, puerile lyrical humor and monstrously inflamed screams would go down about as well as her grandson tattooing his face. But I like those three elements, so that was enough for me to give this band a listen, with the plan to get in and out before the drums were sick everywhere.
The word “absurd” appears regularly in reference to Birdflesh and in all fairness does apply to pretty much every element of their image, but it’s used somewhat thoughtlessly to describe their music. Song titles like “Organ Smoothie” and “The Flying Penis” promise silliness and very little in the way of musical substance, however what lies beneath are some of the purest punky thrash riffs and phrase progressions that you could ever hope for from a band who are out of their mind. What Birdflesh have actually done is use their own attractive brand of nonsense to bypass my ignorance, allowing me to listen to their music. I know this to be true, because the exact same thing happened with metalcore when I thumbed-up Austrian Death Machine.
Over the last few days I’d say my experience with Birdflesh would be quite like growing a pair of voluptuous breasts. At first I was reluctant to go against my nature, but was rather pleased in the end, returning frequently for another play. Getting used to the song format on The Farmers' Wrath, I doubt I’ve even seen a CD with 26 tracks on it, but the songs scream past pleasingly, in a blur of brutality and intensive catchiness that can be tastefully eccentric, but never slapstick. The ska-introed title track swings arms one moment, and runs into walls the next, whilst “The Triumph of Grind” is the kind of fetching metal party anthem that every metal band secretly strives to break out. If System of a Down and Municipal Waste were ground into mince and spat through a speaker, they would sound like The Farmers’ Wrath.
My only real gripes with The Farmers’ Wrath are brown-nosingly positive; the snare stabbing gets so intolerably brain-kebabing that the follow-up guitar chops project the groove of a one hundred mile floorboard. Plus, the riffs themselves are just too good for containment in minute long songs – note the Anthrax-styled beast that closes “In Sickness of the Sea.”
This Swedish trio of tricksters hasn’t produced a classic by any blast of the beat, but the album has played an important role if it has at least bridged a few gaps and enlightened this metal fan’s attitudes towards other sub-genres. Give it a spin, because it certainly won’t do any harm.
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