2016 grindcore spilled out into the world like creeping, black tar; ’twas quite simply a fantastic year for fans of d-beats, politically infused lyrical batterings and buzzsaw guitar tones. Fantastic stuff for all who proudly slave to the grind. This year now has a lot to live up to, and Relapse have readied the rest of the crowd with the debut full length from The Drip. The Haunting Fear Of Inevitability might be this act’s first full length but it is far from their first musical offering; eagle eyed readers will remember A Presentation Of Gruesome Poetics. Are the d-beats still full of D? Is the crust as fuzzy as ever? Is it inevitable that there is a third question here?
2014’s …Gruesome Poetics lit the paper under The Drip. It was a rampant blast of comfortingly familiar fuzz with enough whip and snap d-beats that Relapse were always going to put out a full length from the Washington grinders. Thus, the world is left with The Haunting Fear Of Inevitability. Great title. Works on every grind and metal level; who hasn’t gone into an extreme record expecting more of the same noise as before? Look past the title and there are thirteen thick cuts of self professed d-beat, crust, grind and death jams. That’s a lot of jam though.
The death and grind on this record sounds a lot like Aborted. New Aborted, a la Retrogore or The Necrotic Manifesto, not the trash-can-snare Aborted of old. For those uneducated in the works of the Belgians, this is a good comparison. “Covered In Red” and “Painted Blood” are sodden in claret ooze, hemorrhaging blast beats and death metal vocal delivery that shakes, rattles and rolls over trem-picked riffs and beautifully layered twin guitar harmonies. These aren’t the only two cuts that reek of modern deathgrind but are easily the most ferocious examples of such material. This is great and all, but the ticket said there was crust and violence in this one too?
There is, but not as crust’ers and violence freaks know it. The almost thrash metal production of the guitars and percussion (Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust is a beast but dropped a ball here) doesn’t lend itself to the type of hostilities that The Drip scream out with objective disgust. It’s just a little bit too… too crisp. While …Gruesome Poetics may have lost some nuance in a wash of HM-2, it sounded nasty and coarse because it needed to. There’s corrosive energy that “Terror War Industry” never quite builds up to because the d-beats don’t sound right. Even “Wretches”, the best track out of the bunch still fails to reach the peak of vicious delivery. It’s still a behemoth of a track though. Easily the best grooves laid on by The Drip here and with a closing section worthy of the transaction fee itself, it still doesn’t mesh. There’s a balance of death and grind, violence and d-beat that doesn’t quite level out over the course of half an hour.
The Haunting Fear Of Inevitability is a solid release by all accounts. It smashes left to right, up and down. It’s only the teething problems of a young band with so much to say and so, so many damn ideas that leaves The Drip a drop or two dry. It may not be the direction that some fans wanted the band to push towards but so be it. This is still a splendid extreme music release. If ever there was a grind/death/etc release to have on while violently teabagging people on a video game, this would be it. It’s heavy enough to make the pit of the stomach drop and just about the right amount of nasty too. More of this please, but bring back the fuzz and crunch.