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Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Despise You (Split) – and on and on

Pressing play on a record like this is like activating an electric death chair with chainsaws for legs. 

Despise You are Hardcore. Not so much genre defining but genre defined; every note they play, every vocal line they spit, every minor scale circular riff is a summation of hardcore at its most central. 

Charging through song after song Despise You manage to never repeat themselves; keeping each burst of anger fresh and whatever wounds they harbour open and weeping. Each song is uniformly tight and well produced with little to mark it from the last or the next.  The use of female vocals in certain sections works well but seems to get a bit lost in the mix.  

After a few listens it all becomes a bit much, however standout tracks like Destinal, Bankrupt Social Code, Seven Funerals and Cedar Ave. show that Despise You are a band that as individuals could pretty much push the boundaries of hardcore/grind as much as Agoraphobic Nosebleed or anyone else if they wanted to. However I get the feeling that Despise You is made up of the sort of musicians that are probably in several bands, each with a strongly defined template. The Despise You template is iron clad in hardcore musical history and you’ve heard much of it before, perhaps not as well recorded or performed, but it is true to what it is and so be it. 

Agoraphobic Nosebleed on the other hand, containing members of Pig Destroyer and Isis, have a different feel and slightly more depth in their sound. Extended Sabbath-like sections, undercut with feedback and samples round out tracks that owe so much to Slayer that in many places Scott Hull’s guitar seems to conjure Kerry King at his most medium brutal. 

Compared to Despise You, Agoraphobic Nosebleed are a really happy band and on ‘And On And On’ you can hear the massive smiles all round as they nail their proto-metal riffs over blast beats and obligatory tirades against The Man, sunflowers, losing your car keys or whatever. Most of the vocals are incomprehensible but it’s the intense fun of this record that keeps you coming back for more. 

Overall, this record kicks ass and is a worthy addition to any Grind fans collection. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to a novice and it doesn’t stand up to Brutal Truth’s latest record nor the last Pig Destroyer but hell not much does. Two bands for the price of one, a healthy dose of new grind to start the summer, and a chance to hear Scott Hull at his post AC most musically irreverent probably makes this unmissable for all grind devotees. Everyone else will shrug and move on with their lives. En Shallah. 

Released April 26th on Relapse Records


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