ANTHROPIC: Architects Of Aggression
Release year: 2020
Label: Jbudz Records/Sevared Records/Haunted Hotel Records
Grindcore’s a funny old genre, isn’t it? The bastard child of early extreme metal and equally early extreme punk, taking musical aggression to ludicrous levels of straightforwardness, has morphed into all kinds of things throughout the years. From industrial and noise laden filth to pornogrind to something even resembling polished, sophisticated stuff, there’s no shortage of forms the genre has taken.
And yet, I find myself returning to the cornerstones of the genre, to the good old artists and bands delivering the uncluttered, unconvoluted and pure forms of grindcore. For the most part, with the odd exception of course, the further the devolutions of grindcore stray from the point of origin, the less appeal it tends to have for me.
Anthropic, hailing from Buffalo, New York, USA, take the listener back to the glorious basics of grindcore with their debut full-length album, Architects Of Aggression. During the 16 tracks and 25 minutes the album lasts, they shred, grind and just plain brutalize their way to your heart. Imagine, if you will, classic Terrorizer co-mingling with early post-Lee Dorrian era Napalm Death, and you’ve got a good idea of what to expect.
In other words, the songs are short but not super short, the music is fast and grinding and balls-to-the-wall, but not to the point of ludicrous insanity. You can actually hear riffs and structures here. The blasting insanity is tempered with upper mid-tempo, rhythmically riffing sections. And, yes, there’s a clearly discernible dose of death metal in the blend.
Original, this ain’t. That much is for certain: if you’re familiar with the classics of grindcore, Architects Of Aggression will be familiar territory for you. However, delivered with a clear and powerful, but still sufficiently organic sound, Anthropic keep things from becoming stale; familiarity does not mean tedium or mediocrity in this case. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Taking the tried and tested formula of combining violent hardcore punk with equally vicious death metal, curing it with razor sharp riffage and covering it with a dressing of aggressively gruff vocals, Anthropic have taken a classic recipe and prepared a tasty dish out of it. I don’t think I can carry the cooking metaphor any further but, really, this is one tasty stew.
To reiterate what I wrote earlier, when I think of what grindcore is at its best, I find myself returning time and time again to the originating bands. Anthropic, in their style that is almost some kind of faux vintage, prove my point: this is the way grindcore is supposed to be done.