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Agoraphobic Nosebleed

Agorocalypse

(Relapse; US: 14 Apr 2009; UK: 20 Apr 2009)

The mere notion of Agoraphobic Nosebleed exploring conventional song structures will undoubtedly have many people checking for airborne pigs, but it’s true. The band responsible for some of the most psychotic grindcore of this decade (namely the 100-track, 21-minute Altered States of America) has ditched the six-second blastfests in favor of a more fully fleshed out sound. Considering that guitarist/programmer Scott Hull pulled a similar stunt on the last two albums by his regular band Pig Destroyer, it’s not much of a surprise that he incorporates some classic metal riffing throughout Agorocalypse, not to mention some honest-to-goodness solos, creating at times a sludge/doom/thrash/grind hybrid.


There’s an undeniable sense of groove throughout the 33-minute record, as the drum programming sounds so convincing listeners can hardly believe it’s not a live drummer performing the extended solo on “Question of Integrity”. Vocalist James Randall is his usual demented self: His lyrics combine gut-busting humor (“Dick to Mouth Resuscitation” and the Voivod-parodying “Timelord Two (Paradoxical Reaction)”) with some graphic but potent satire (“First National Stem Cell and Clone”). This time around he’s helped out by co-vocalist Katherine Katz, who lends her own screams and songwriting to such tracks as “Moral Distortion” and “Trauma Queen”. Fans of grind in its traditional form will definitely bristle at the band’s decision to move outside the genre, but when you look at this brutal, lavishly designed album without the grindcore blinders, Agorocalypse is undeniable, ripping good metal, pure and simple.

Rating:

Adrien Begrand has been writing for PopMatters since 2002, and has been writing his monthly metal column Blood & Thunder since 2005. His writing has also appeared in Metal Edge, Sick Sounds, Metallian, graphic novelist Joel Orff's Strum and Drang: Great Moments in Rock 'n' Roll, Knoxville Voice, The Kerouac Quarterly, JackMagazine.com, StylusMagazine.com, and StaticMultimedia.com. A contributing writer for Decibel, Terrorizer, and Dominion magazines and senior writer for Hellbound, he resides, blogs, and does the Twitter thing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


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