Review Summary: Agoraphobic Nosebleed managed to release a landmark in the genre(s) which doesn't quite live up to its follow-up, Altered States of America.
Agoraphobic Nosebleed (a Massachusetts-based musical act) is the undisputed paradigm of the disturbing, angst-ridden and oft-hilarious genre that they’ve indubitably helped shape known colloquially as cybergrind--a genre described in the most simplistic of terms as electronica combined with grindcore, which has now been regrettably corrupted into a breeding ground for wannabe-grind acts such as wecamewithbrokenteeth and iwrestledabearonce and onebigwordbandnamesthatsoundlike*** and in a newfound world of fringe haired scene kids attempting to be brutal, Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Frozen Corpse Stuffed with Dope--which I’ve heard described as the Paul’s Boutique of grindcore which I can’t help but find myself agreeing with--shines through and true as a solid grindcore/cybergrind release not just as a use-once-and-destroy release, but as a landmark in the genre(s) as a whole.
To begin, this isn’t the most accessible album--it’s an irate, few thousand beats per-minute (due to the extensive use of a drum machine throughout the entire album), sample-ridden ***scape (and I mean that in the most endearing sense of the word) comparable only to their follow-up, Altered States of America (which is undoubtedly bigger and better) and all of their other efforts (of which there have been quite a few of), including 1998’s Honky Reduction (which is actually pretty boring, but look how much they’ve improved)--as the idea of few second long songs isn’t the most appetizing idea, especially whenever you have a whopping thirty eight songs clocking in at around a half an hour, which makes singular tracks difficult to pick out and enumerate, but I’ll try my best.
The first highlight comes in the form of the intro--it’s what appears to be some sort of beast moaning or screaming over top of some electronic noises, followed by a woman’s voice saying, “Another drug turns harmless people into wild beasts,” in a vocoder-esque drawl which fits the album’s themes of anger and drug use perfectly. The second highlight is track five, Built to Grind, which begins with one of the best samples I’ve ever heard--“Go have sex with Jesus Christ, you faggot,” a man says abruptly, sounding like something of a radio announcer as there’s some sort of faint giggling in the background which reminds me of guests, but what do I know?; this intro cues into a brutal, innumerable-beats-per-minute grindcore masterpiece which includes lyrical gems such as, “I don’t *** bitches anymore; I make them watch me massage myself till I cum in my hand,” (which most of the lyrics on this album are like--yes, if you aren’t going to listen to the album then at least read the lyrics and find out just how pissed off these guys are), alternating vocalists (of which Agoraphobic Nosebleed has two, plus quite a few guest stars, including J.R. Hayes from Scott Hull’s other grind masterpiece of a band, Pig Destroyer) between growls and screaming and ending almost as quickly as it started. The third gem is track... eight, I believe, Repercussions in the Life of An Opportunistic, Pseudo-Intellectual Jackass, which seems to be an ode to someone that the lyricist(s) hate--which “ends” with one of the greatest riffs that I’ve ever heard Scott Hull churn out (and he does churn them out--look at how many songs the man’s written and tell me he isn’t a good at what he does) over top of one of the vocalists repeatedly shouting, “You aren’t *** to me,” which leads into the aforementioned riff fading out after a phone message to Scott plays into the same riff being played in reverse and then leading into a less than stellar track, Doctored Results. There are a few others, notably North American Corpse Desecration (of which includes an opening riff reminiscent of one of my favorite Pig Destroyer songs, Piss Angel), Ceramic Godproduct, and as a change of pace, the outro, ***MAKER, which is simply an electronic tune that evolves into silence, followed by a typical AnB song. Actually, I think that about does it with the highlights, though I know there’s a few more I can’t quite stick out on, but the album as a whole is generally enjoyable with the gems well-spaced out for that good feeling of an album that every musical piece should try to accomplish.
Frozen Corpse Stuffed with Dope isn’t without its detracting remarks, however--in fact, there aren’t very many, but the biggest complaint that I and others have with the album is that it suffers from an overlying sense of monotony and repetition. It isn’t that this doesn’t work for the album--in fact, I couldn’t see AnB doing anything else, but sometimes it’s just a bit too much to swallow at one point, which is why I wholly suggest their follow-up, Altered States of America to this one, simply because it’s what makes AnB what AnB is--combining the brutal grind that we all know and love with more electronic sections and samples; it’s essentially just what Frozen Corpse is except much more improved, well-thought out and executed.
In the end, AnB managed to release a landmark in the genre. With their idiosyncratic but not overtly-so sound, they’ve made a tenacious, enjoyable, angst-ridden album that should be admired by not only fans of grindcore or cybergrind, but to musical listeners as a whole, despite its inaccessibility which again, isn’t overtly-so but is enough to detract some people from its sonic grandeur. In a world of terrible scene music that people so love to call grindcore, you have to stick to your guns and listen to it like it is, you know?