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Good, but could have been better - 80%

Zero_Nowhere, January 4th, 2011

Mincing Fury & Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay. Strange name for a strange band (and also one hell of a mouthful, so I'm shortening it to MF for the purposes of this review). It's hard to describe what they sound like, though perhaps the best single statement I could give is that they're the brutal death/goregrind equivalent of 'wacky' scene bands like Iwrestledabearonce (or for grind afficiandos, something Circle of Dead Children might record as a drunken joke). But what they lack in direction and sanity, they make up for in good riffs and sheer demented fun.

The actual sound of the album – the production, guitar tone and such – is textbook modern deathgrind. The Willowtip sound to be specific, all booming low end guitars and bassy triggered drumming with the vocals riding over and through the mix. Which brings me to my first complaint about this album: It's too clean and polished. The songwriting is deranged, with sections crudely stapled together like a musical Frankensteins monster, the riffs frequently break down out of nowhere and they seem terrified of using the same brand of vocals two songs in a row... yet the entire thing is held together by production so slick it could belong on any tech-death album. It's a bad matchup. The rawer, thinner production of previous albums was a better fit for the music.

Trying to describe the actual songwriting is nearly impossible as well. MF don't really write songs in the way most bands do. They more seem to write a bunch of riffs, samples and vocal breaks then start pasting them together till they like the results. It's entertaining in its oddity but it's not exactly the deepest music around. And that oddity is exactly why they'll be a love/hate band to nearly anyone. MF have no qualms about throwing smooth jazz interludes, deathcore breakdowns, film samples, rap scratching and drunken singalongs into the songs wherever the hell they want. Don't like hearing a bunch of drunken czechs try to carry a tune in broken english? MF doesn't care, they'll put it in anyway. And the same with whatever else carries their fancy.

Which is probably a good thing, because MFs riffing isn't that far out of the ordinary. Their stock in trade is the kind of bouncy, groovy goregrind riffs you put over double bass (you know the sort, the ones that barely escape being considered slams on the grounds that they're too fast) and the buzzing tremolo sections you put over blastbeats just to seperate the grooves. It's good, but decidedly meat-and-potatoes fare. Same with the drumming: It's executed just fine but doesn't stand out on its own flair.

The real standout, however, are the vocals. MF aren't content with limiting themselves to any one – or even a half dozen – styles. Growls, barks, pig squeals, gutterals, gang yells, screeches, the half-shouts half-growls associated with deathcore, Gorguts-esque tortured shouting. an almost Predator-ish clicking gurgle (vaguely like that used by Heinous Killings, for all 3 of you familiar with that outfit) and more that I can't even describe properly all make an appearance here. Often layered over eachother. Suffice to say, MF put their vocals upfront in terms of construction. Unlike most extreme metal bands, it's often a case of the vocals carrying the riff rather than the more common reverse. Which works well. MF shows a sense of timing and flow that many extreme metal bands lack, allowing the vocals to truly function as instruments in the mix instead of sounding like last minute additions done for the sake of tradition.

Unfortunately, the vocals are also the point of my second issue with this album. Three songs here are re-recordings from the previous album, 7. 7 used several guest vocalists no longer with the band and the versions here suffer for it, with the vocals being audibly weaker than the original versions. I mean that in the specific sense of lacking power rather than just being a catchall term for bad. The vocalists here seem to be stretching their range to imitate the original versions and as a result it sounds forced.

Still, it's a very good album if you like the idea of stupid, fun goregrind that doesn't take itself too seriously or worry overmuch about such mundane things as progression, logic or normality.