01. MUNI Casualties
Intact are a 3 piece mostly-instrumental progressive grind band from San Francisco. If that doesn’t pique your interest then you must be a sucker for conventions. This album is far from conventional. In fact, it is grind flipped on its head. This album captures the frantic nature of grind, but insists on having intention, different from the usual minute of insanity that you typically get per song. Intact draw out the progressive aspects of grindcore in a way where it becomes difficult to draw the line anymore.
Now I can’t blame Intact for the deviation in the typical Grindcore sound. Without deviating, Cosmicgrindvortex would just be another album in a vast genre that is overpopulated by hundreds of bands doing the same thing (that’s not to insult grind as most bands in the genre are good on their own right). As I was listening, I wasn’t particularly captivated. I did rejoice though. The songs’ progressive aspects make them memorable. I mean, who doesn’t want to listen to some heavy riffing transition into some Sublime-esque ska-punk? From the southern influence on ‘Sauregurkenzeit‘ to the wacky bass intros of ‘Intact‘ and ‘Tenderloin,’ Intact venture into realms that Grind rarely ever sees.
There is a lot here for progressive and tech fans, with plenty of complicated phrases and fills. Though Cosmicgrindvortex can pride itself on being progressive, it stays true to its grindcore roots. It is dirty and raw, and the songs aren’t afraid to be frantic and dissonant. The drums are insane with fills and blast beats around every corner. There is a lot going on here, and I like it. To paraphrase a friend of mine, “instrumental bands have to make the music hold up without vocals to distract from repetitive parts.” I would agree that Intact do a fine job of creating interesting songs with enough variation to stand on their own merit.
The mix is very grind oriented. The guitars, bass and drums are all on different tiers of the mix, but it remains cohesive and natural sounding—the kind of organic mix you would expect. The guitar tone is kind of off kilter and personally isn’t my favorite tone, but it gets the point across and doesn’t interfere with the music.
The thing with Cosmicgrindvortex is that I don’t have any complaints. It’s unique and there is plenty of originality. All of the tracks have the right recipe for perfection, yet it feels dry. I just don’t see something like this breaking through and becoming huge. I don’t know what this album lacks but despite having minimal criticisms, it just isn’t the best album ever. I almost feel like I am having the opposite problem that our staff had with the East of the Wall review. It’s a strange complaint, because when I say something like I wish there we’re more leads or I wish there was an interlude, or I wish they would slow down, almost immediately they do exactly that. It creates a strange tension where you yearn for more, but get so much. Maybe that’s the genius of it, though. Maybe grind is supposed to create that kind of tension. Nobody said music needs a resolve. With that being said, this album is meant to be interpreted. It is meant to be ambiguous and questioned. Don’t let the score speak for the album, but rather experience it yourself!
Intact – Cosmicgrindvortex gets…