Review Summary: If you want to feel as if you've just been gangraped sevenfold, Romance is the perfect grind album to become acquainted with. Unrelenting and almost silly in it's heaviness at times, Narcosis' sophomore effort is a true gem of the genre.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
The genre of grind can often be likened to that of a small pot of marmite. Some people love it and others absolutely detest it. With that said, grind isn't exactly the most accessible of genres. All the attitude of punk is neatly presented in a punch-in-your-face style package - blistering speed, uncompromising brutality, incomprehensible vocals and jaw dropping technicality at times. Showing a grind outfit to a newborn would be the equivalent of sexually abusing it...
Okay, maybe we shouldn't go as far as that. But allow me to introduce to you Narcosis. The UK based grind outfit are undoubtedly one of the most frantic grind bands I've ever heard. Imagine an amalgamation of all the new wave spazzy bands (ala The Number Twelve Looks Like You), classic grindcore such as Napalm Death and the more modern grind sound pioneered by the likes of Pig Destroyer all rolled into one crazy blast of sound. That's what Narcosis is. This, their second LP, is a collection of eighteen songs spanning a little over twenty minutes and delivering an unrivaled amount of migraine-inducing noise. I mean that in the best way possible of course.
Album opener A Thinly Veiled Act of Random Violence is heavy. Stupidly heavy. The sheer insanity that erupts from your soundsystem will devour you without mercy; a barrage of super speedy drum work and spazz guitar, complete with some truly schizophrenic vocals. Romance isn't the kind of album that lets up at any costs. The World Is Your Oyster and I Am the Hammer is a slight breather from everything but it's hardly easy listening - some very strange electronic sounds over white noise and some typical maniacal shrieks all too typical of the grind drummer. Aside from the great humor that is to be found in the many amusing song titles (just take a gander at that tracklist), the music doesn't do anything to break any genre boundaries. This is grind at it's most fast, unrelenting and at times a little silly. But it's only silly because it's just so bloody fast and frantic. Some of the blastbeats that the drummer manages to pull off make me feel like a slug caught in treacle as I try in vain to air-drum along. The guitar riffs won't be winning any awards for catchiness (although the opening of If Being a Cunt Was People, You'd Be China gets stuck in my head) but they're quick, adequately technical and at times there are some real headbanging, almost groove moments. I say almost because you won't any tracks on here with groove ala Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer - nevertheless, this stuff is gold and learning any of their songs on guitar (or bass for that matter) would prove relatively tricky.
Album positives are aplenty - if you like your music fast, heavy as hell and true grind-your-face-in manic, Narcosis will be like a new best friend. Broken Finger Stranglehold holds host to three and a half minutes of noise that only most pissed off people on earth could muster. That's another thing - the vocals scream anger. Of a blood curdling nature; this is the kind of hatred that drives people to go and batter granny down until her face is no longer wrinkly - just non-existent.
Negatives are in short supply if you're a grind fan - sure, the album is short but after all, the genre isn't really home to long song lengths. Another thing to mention is that at times, this album just feels too
brutal. Like being battered by hundreds of football hooligans and then beaten by the riot police directly after, without rest. Tracks will blend together, aside from a couple of truly remarkable standouts. But then again, the quality of the songs is never compromised. It's a great album to put on if you've just broken up with your girlfriend because it will give you the boost to go and out and kill her sorry ass.
To conclude with, I'll say this. If you're an avid grind fan, you'll probably fall in love with Romance. If not, don't even consider coming within reasonable proximity of a copy, for it will consume you and spit you out, causing severe trauma to all your senses.
...who said the UK can't grind as well as America? Fu
ck that for a laugh.
A Thinly Veiled Act of Random Violence
If Being a Cunt Was People, You'd Be China
Ode To a Worthless ***ing Piece of ***
Broken Finger Stranglehold
The Romance of a Fire Poker Frenzy