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thuggery - 90%

Noktorn, January 10th, 2011

I swear to god from the moment I first listened to this I don't think it went a day unplayed for a month. This is one of the catchiest, most painfully entertaining slam releases I've ever encountered, and the number of people I've shrieked to about this album's qualities has to number in the triple digits. This includes people on the street who I've just frantically yelled "SHORT BUS PILE UP!" at. They're fearful and questioning and they SHOULD BE.

Short Bus Pile Up plays SLAM with a capital SLAM and spends most of the running time of their debut album reminding you of the fact. Absurdly brutal and single-minded, this band is like the more human, spirited version of Cephalotripsy. Instead of relying purely on slams like that band, though, Short Bus Pile Up unleashes a variety of grooves on the listener, from oldschool pornogrind gore-polka passages to Devourment-style slam to Jungle Rot-type chunky death metal. Of course, all the usual suspects are present: a wonderfully gurgly vocal performance, bass drops, gravity blasts, and needling tremolo riffs, but Short Bus Pile Up uses these old tropes in such an engaging manner that the fact that they're old ideas ceases to matter at all. The songs are compact and devoid of extraneous filler- every single riff and drum beat is firmly calculated you make your dick turn inside out.

I appreciate how succinct this band's music is- nothing is wasted and everything feels essential. Not to mention the fact that the songs are fantastic: Short Bus Pile Up has a great sense of pacing, knowing exactly how slam should be constructed, using blast beats to develop tension that gets released in one of the band's array of massive grooves. The usage of porngrind-style polka beats is an interesting element that gets used to great effect, forming a straightforward rhythmic base for chunky, almost Neuropathia-style riffs to run over. The only thing you can add to slam to make it better is even more groove, so I approve of the decision.

About the only element I would even mildly complain about would be the production, which seems to be missing a bit more low-end on the guitars- they're not buried, but they could be brought forward a little bit to match the drums better and make a bigger wall of sound. This is a minor quibble, though, as Short Bus Pile Up have already made one of the best slam debuts (of sorts) I've ever heard. If you love the style like I do, this is an absolutely mandatory purchase: support a young band who are making the music we want to hear, please!