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Antigama / Takafumi Matsubara > Strange, Beautiful and Fast > Reviews
Antigama / Takafumi Matsubara - Strange, Beautiful and Fast

Title says it all - 90%

we hope you die, October 16th, 2019

The history of grindcore is an interesting one. At its inception it became a catalyst genre of sorts. Pure grindcore was made up of the bare bones of music; half songs and incomplete scraps. But the unique levels of energy and aggression found therein inspired many death and black metal artists, and its influence can be heard spattered across extreme metal of the early 1990s. Barring a few Brutal Truth shaped exceptions, it was dismissed as a needlessly limiting genre, whose creative potential had been spent. The originators went on to play death metal, or simply disbanded. The genre has been ceded to swivel eyed goregrind fans, who sit beneath the extreme metal scene like fungi living off our waste.

Today grindcore presents a challenge. Its rehabilitation has centred on artists gravitating towards this infamously narrow genre and daring themselves to make it interesting in some way. Many would argue that if you do too much with it it ceases to be grindcore at all. Or else it’s qualified with unhelpful terms like ‘experimental’. But it’s the term we got for ‘Strange, Beautiful, and Fast’ – the debut solo of LP of Takafumi Matsubara of Gridlink fame – so let’s roll with it.

In many ways this is the true heir to Brutal Truth’s underrated ‘Sounds of the Animal Kingdom’. Structurally it functions as a grindcore album, with rippingly fast micro songs, carrying a myriad of ideas that zip by as the listener strains to keep up. But along with the hardcore punk and stripped back thrash riffs one would expect of grindcore, SBAF borrows from a plethora of melodic extreme metal subgenres. In lesser hands this would have come across as screamo or mathcore, and whilst there are elements of both packed within this album, they work in their rightful context. This, and the various vocal techniques that are utilised – from shouting all the way through to bawling – lend the album a schizophrenic quality.

Like touring a Victorian insane asylum, we feel we are looking into various cells and wards and witnessing an array of pathologies and conditions. But this is no random tour. There is a structure to this album, the intensity ebbs and flows as the album progresses. It’s just a shame that the temptation to add a hip hop interlude towards the end became impossible to resist; isn’t that kooky on a grindcore album. All in all however, a refreshingly varied yet disciplined take on a form that many have long since written off.

Originally published at Hate Meditations