columns

While it is often tempting to dig deep into a record to pick apart where the inspiration came from and what makes it unique in its own right, sometimes it is necessary to simply press play and enjoy the ride. Please Explode, the debut album from Columns, is best enjoyed by doing just that. 16 tracks later and a wry smile is spread across the face of anyone willing to give this lethal dose of grind the time of day. Members of Wretched, Vehemence and Hemdale have thrown their hat into the ring with an album full of grind party classics.

The raw, DIY attitude that seeps out of every riff and bitter lyric on this filthy opus are what make it so damn enjoyable. The real guitar and drums sound rough, yes, but the unadulterated nature of the production is the ideal foil for the Southern tinged grind and classic death metal that Columns so effortlessly pull off. Without being the next big thing, and with some songs that are over before they’ve really had any major impact, the swagger of the guitar and bass ooze appreciation for the swamp metal stylings of Crowbar and Down – the mid section of ‘No One’s Fucking Waiting’ sounds effortless yet that strumming pattern and chord is an instant earworm. Combining that with the instantly recognizable vocals of Adam Cody and drums that sound like they were played with  early Carcass and Napalm Death in mind creates yet another Relapse release that will be propping up end of year lists for sure.

While not one for reading too much into lyrics, the attached material for Please Explode cannot be overlooked. The oh so subtle character attack of ‘Punching Nancy Grace’ does not beat around the bush with regards to who it is aimed at.  – “Vomit is flying and all I can sense is the terrible taste of terrible taste”, a lyric somewhat profound but still instantly understandable in the climate of today. Cody avoids typical grind tropes with clever attacks on TV consumption in ‘Vicarious Living’ and the “grind” of the average working man in ‘Laid Off For X-Mas’, turning this album into a different beast from many of the grind acts working the circuit just now.

Columns’ debut is no album of the year as the tracks come and go and some of the leads and fills seem like they were recorded once and left to fester.  It is however a beer and smoke filled breath of fresh air for music fans who are tired of stock drumkit sounds and half speed recorded guitars. Don’t expect to read anything between the lines here. Everything is exactly as it seems. Some say you can’t put lipstick on a pig but Columns don’t need to. They’ve killed that pig, smoked the bacon and thrown it in a blender of riffs, booze and surprisingly aware social commentary. More please.

Columns’ Please Explode gets…

3.5/5

-MM

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