Relapse has released a solid crop of albums in 1Q09. Cerebral Metalhead will review one of them a day this week.
One of my favorite lame music critic clichés is relating a band's music to its provenance. Of course Norwegian metal will be bleak and frosty -- just look at those fjords! Antaeus and Deathspell Omega? haughty and condescending, like everyone in France. New Orleans sludge bands have that sloppy, misanthropic sound 'cuz they all live in a humid, drained swamp. That kind of analysis falls apart when you're dealing with Mumakil. Let's consider that bastard on the cover a stand-in for this Swiss quartet (the band's named after giant war elephants from the Tolkien mythos). I'm guessing he isn't too interested in being a tax shelter for billionaire white collar criminals, and he sure as hell ain't politically neutral.
Blasty-blasty death-grind, pithy and unpretentious. You know/love this shit. You own the entire Pig Destroyer, Misery Index and Rotten Sound catalogs. Considering that every single one of its 27 tracks is, how shall we say, upbeat and in C minor, Behold the Failure could have been far less variegated than it is. Some tracks tattoo grooves with death metal tremolo; others let the drums do the talking and stampede right on by, skewering the unprepared on their tusks like grindcore kebabs. Buried within Mumakil's blastbeat caskets are a whole lot of chops -- I hear the jiggly dexterity that guitarist Jéjé and bassist Taverne shared as ex-members of the mighty Knut.
Duh this is belligerent music, but Mumakil display a caustic wit in their tirades against all the familiar faces in the grindcore rogue's gallery: war-mongering politicians ("The kings of the earth / In their quest of power / Have condemned us all"), hypocritical cops ("You chose to become a cop / On your face I piss") and fascist religious institutions ("Thanks to god for making me discover / A two-thousand year old shame") each get shat upon. The haranguing is merciless, even more so than the music. Oh, and how about this gem: "The right to disagree has been removed / But you didn't move / Keep an eye on your right to breathe." Zing! Someone call up Schwarzenegger to record that one for a soundboard, pronto!
Pre-order Behold the Failure at Amazon