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Better to Work on Your Music Than Sweat to the Concept - 23%

Echobreather, May 13th, 2022

Modern grindcore is dangerous stuff to work with. If executed properly you get brilliant stuff like Afgrund, F.U.B.A.R. or Total Fucking Destruction. If not executed properly you get dreck like this. Some people claim this as a brilliant concept album, I would say that this HAS that potential, but the instrumentation does not. Matthew Widener, the person behind everything on this album, had a brilliant idea of making anarcho-grind with orchestrated protest music thrown in for a special flavor, but I don't think he executed it well. I'm probably not going to get really far with this review either because the music is pretty much the same all the way through.

First thing I have to confront about this. The vocals. I think Matthew's vocals suck and bring the rest of the album down. He doesn't growl, but he doesn't yell either, but he rather barks. And when he DOES bark, he just has SO many voicecracks and he sounds like a pitbull who has a tendency to bark whenever someone walks by the house of it's owner. But the barks are also everything that Matthew does, sometimes it's gang shouts, but mostly barking. Damnit, do some shrieks at least! Also the tempo of the songs don't change at all, every song is about as fast as the other, there's little to barely any variation in the tempo, which makes this album boring. It does get slower too, but only occasionally. The guitar work is just about what you would expect on any extreme metal album, but this isn't grind. If you're a little confused then I'll explain that later. And the guitars are not creative either, and lack variation too. The guitars also have the stupid swedish death metal guitar tone. Damnit, the S.G.S. (swedish guitar sound) is meant to be used in small doses only! If you just tried to equalize it to sound like that with a Metal Zone, then it wouldn't have sounded as terrible. Using the HM-2 pedal to get that tone through-out the album just ruins the character of the guitars. The bass is not special, but does get highlighted a lot, such as in "Class War Never Meant More than it Does Now", the title-track, and the instrumental "Sweat for Blood". There were other places too, but I forgot. Basically, the bass does it's job. The drums sound pretty weak, they lack the punch that metal (and I mean overall) drums should have. And they play most of the time either fast punk rythms or speedy blastbeats. And there's barely any variation to that as well. Damnit! You have got very good potential, but you waste it one the same riffs and melodies, and same tempo and rythms. I'm not asking you to become Napalm Death or anything, but at least slow down more than thrice. I know grind is about speed, but come on, I can't listen to blastbeats 27 minutes straight! If Matthew (sorry, I'm obliged to use his name, because he's the only member of this project) added like three minutes worth of slow sections in here I would've already been much happier. Without that it makes the album broing. Boring I tell you. The lyricism is typical protestant anarchistic poetry, which is actually written really well, but I think it's a bit repetitive. It is a concept album after all, but it's mostly just anti-work, anti-capitalist, anarchistic lyricism that has been done thousands of times before, and it doesn't have too much variation either. And that's the main issue with this album. Lack of variation. The same melody is even incorporated into about every other song!

Now, the orchestrated music added to this thankfully makes this album not completely suck. Unfortunately this too suffers from lack of variation, but it does give the album a bit of atmosphere. But when the orchestra isn't playing then the music is pretty lifeless. If Widener hired someone to do vocals then the album would've been a lot more energetic. One more thing, this is not grindcore. This is crustcore. It has more anarcho-punk influenced lyrics, and it's also way more fast and political than regular grindcore, because grind steers more towards social issues and also heavyness (but not only that), crustcore just towards speed. Sure, this has blastbeats, but death metal has blastbeats too.

This album has got potential, but gets drowned in shitty execution and poor production. The orchestration wasn't a bad move, but with the metal instruments this bland it is pretty boring. I can't really reccomend this to anyone honestly. If you enjoy crust influenced extreme metal then only listen to this album if you're not bored, otherwise avoid. Also, why do people think the swedish death metal guitar sound rules? It doesn't even chug properly!