The self-described "blackout grind" on "Requiem" from Seattle's SKARP works on many levels. As a soundtrack to the album's suicide theme, the feeling produced is one of anxiety and hopelessness, though not in a cold, gothic kind of way. Instead, vocalist Renae Louise Betts uses gritty screams and scathing growls — punctuated by desperate shouts and creepy spoken parts — to convey to the listener a palpable sense of fear and isolation-induced madness. Her delivery adapts itself seamlessly to the band's clever mix of grindcore, crust punk, black metal, and bottom-feeding sludge. The crust-sludge coating can undoubtedly be attributed to Billy Anderson's engineering prowess.Style mixing aside, the album comes off most generally as frenetic crust punk, at least as much in attitude as in musical delivery. The grindcore blast beats and psychotic episodes often give way to scraping riff crawls, just one example of the many well-placed tempo changes that contribute to the album's dynamic delivery. Rather than sounding like a thrown-together hodgepodge of sub-genres created by musicians that are too clever for their own good, the punk and grindcore aesthetic stands tall. It just happens that the band understands how to piece together what are most certainly varied musical backgrounds and tastes. Tunefulness is present, but much of it comes through via snotty, nihilistic punk rock ("Not a Human" and "Fuck Your Bad Day" are two examples). Along with Betts, the members perform like a well-oiled machine. Guitarist Robert Joseph Daniels throws riff after riff at the listener, while bassist Andrew Bernard Kress joins drummer Joe Michael Axler in clobbering these songs with machine gun attacks and superbly colorful nuance. Some may find Axler's tinny drum sound mildly annoying, something I also found to be the case on his work with Portland death/gore/thrash act SPLATTERHOUSE. I actually sort of like it, maybe because of the organic, underground feeling. Smartly selective use of samples and the bloody artwork and layout of Ross Sewage (IMPALED) complete the package. In short, "Requiem" is as entertaining as it is damaging to the nervous system.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends). To report any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, please send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.