ASRA
"The Way of All Flesh"

(Black Box)

01. Payload
02. Human Construct
03. Those In Power
04. Burning Proletariat
05. Untitled
06. Pathogen
07. Exploiting The Dead
08. 80 Year Suicide
09. Guilt
10. Loathsome
11. Enclosed Enemy

RATING: 6.5/10

It is by no means a mind blower, but "The Way of All Flesh" by New York City's ASRA (as in "Alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse") succeeds at tearing a few new assholes with its death metal tinged grindcore attack. No frills and raw as hell, the 11 tracks, many of which fall in the one to two minute range, crush, kill, and destroy for the full 22 minutes, while mixing up the tracks with pace changes and a pinch of variety, making it a decent effort.

Those not familiar with the band or its music may get the impression from the opening track, "Payload", that the style leans more to the old school death metal end of the spectrum, based on its rolling chug (ala BOLT THROWER) and guttural vocals (which could be beefier). The high-end NAPALM DEATH screams though give the first hint that the music is indeed rooted in grindcore with the occasional crust punk vibe (e.g. "Burning"). What works particularly well for the act and gives one the impression that the best is yet to come is the manner in which "The Way of All Flesh" switches so easily between fast blast destructiveness, dirty groove, and ominous accents, often within the span of a minute or two. Throwing the occasional curveball, the distorted bass groove that opens "Untitled" has a southern sludge feel right up through the main riff that soon joins, albeit by way of death metal romp. The longer one listens, the more one appreciates that approach, as the band makes sure to reveal a few tricks up the sleeve along the way.

In the end, "The Way of All Flesh" is a nasty bit of grindcore goodness, even if there is no danger of the album placing ASRA in the upper tier of extreme music's mercenary movement, but there is nothing to complain about either. If you're tired of overproduced DM technicality or grindcore complacency, "The Way of All Flesh" will at a minimum provide you with a brief reprieve.

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