Monday, February 16, 2009

Harpoon - Double Gnarly/Triple Suicide (Interloper Records, 2009)

My tolerance for synthetic drum-aided metal records is directly proportional to how lifelike the drums sound (ergo, how unnecessary the non-human drummer is). Meshuggah's Nothing? V:28's VioLution? Goooood. Noism's ±? Baaaaad. In grindcore, when the BPM level is so high that it approaches speeds most humans couldn't possibly play, the minute differences in each beat's attack and decay become even more important. Programmed drums just can't replicate them well. No idea why vocalist Toney Vast-Binder and everything-elsist Dean Costello would conceive Harpoon as a drum-grind project when there are so many employable human blastbeat machines in their Chicago hometown. The Fisher Price-grade programming is the only thing holding back Double Gnarly/Triple Suicide from total rule-osity.

The record sits in the pleasant middle ground between Phobia's d-beat leaning grind and Pig Destroyer's more metallic assault. Vast-Binder's got binder full of cock-eyed lyrics to vomit forth. Shit like "While driving one day he came across a plodding white elephant squirting dust from its trunk" could be interpreted as metaphor or smirking dada-doodoo...elsewhere there are non-political songs about politically-minded people ("Lefty"), and a song about the difficulty in listening to the elderly ("The Difficulty in Listening to the Elderly"). Unlike Vast-Binder's other band 7000 Dying Rats, the humor doesn't come easy, and I appreciate that. But then "Throngs" comes on, and that stupid digital tom roll happens, and I'm like "when did a-ha start playing grindcore?" And then it's all over for me.

1 comment:

dschalek said...

This is a really good album, Etan, and I gave it a positive review as well. The drum machine is wholly unnecessary and the follow up must have a human drummer. If so, I could really see these guys giving Municipal Waste a run for their money.