Review Summary: Prepare to be Assucked...
Assuck were a grindcore band hailing from North America. Between 1987 and 1998 they produced various splits and 7 inches as well as two 12-inch LPS; Anti-Capital/Blindspot
and Misery Index
. Misery Index
is easily the band’s best work and one of the strongest works within the grindcore genre.
Despite only being fifteen minutes long, the fourteen tracks on Misery Index
perfectly showcases Assuck’s sound; snaky power chord and tremolo riffs are combined with rapid fire blast beat drums and double bass patterns. There are the occasional mid-paced, doom-y, even somewhat catchy riffs which help to bring a little variety to the album. An example of which is the mid section of the second track, "Salt Mine”, which sees the band slow to a half-paced, breakdown-esque section before running back up through the gears to full speed. Another high point of Assuck’s sound is that the bass is audible and the mixing of the bass with drums provides a solid low-end backing for the guitars and vocals to work over, making it an integral part of the assault on the listener’s ears (particularly noticeable when listened to through headphones).
However, it is clear that the strongest aspect of Misery Index
, and Assuck's sound itself, is in the band’s articulate lyrical content and vocal delivery. With the majority of tracks being around 40 seconds to a minute long, the lyrics usually only consist of a few lines, but within those lines, Assuck make it clear that they were a very discontented band with politically charged, socially aware and nearly always misanthropic lyrics.
“Unrequited Blood” shows the band at their bleakest: “When will we concede that there is an absolute significance deficit concept of the human being. The rape is indigenous to our existence and that already we can never and will never be able to pay the debt of blood upon this land. Burn alive all humankind. Burn it at the stake. Burn it as retribution for its blatant defilement of itself. Burn it for its never ending void of purpose. Burn it on principle alone.”
“Talon Of Dominion” also shines light onto the band’s discontent for modern society: “Let this stand as a monument to my abandonment and submission to the clutches of consumption. A penance of control for the iniquity of breath. It is irrefutable that we become apostle to mechanism. It is design that orchestrates the perpetuity of tyranny and doctrine of drudgery and toil. Talon of dominion, skewer of empire, as certain as the blackening of another tomorrow". Fun stuff.
The delivery of the vocals in a fairly low guttural register perfectly complements the music and content, further adding to the band’s overall bleak sound and suffocating atmosphere of the album.
One of the possible negative aspects of Misery Index
for some listeners will be the the song lengths. As with most grind the tracks rarely surpass one and a half minutes. This may pose a problem for some listeners but should not be the sole reason for neglecting to listen to the album as the tracks on Misery Index
flow into each other so well that it is almost like listening to one 15 minute track.
Ultimately, grindcore is an acquired taste and some may find it too abrasive or have problems with the track lengths or repetitive song writing, but those who are willing to look past these points will find one of the more accessible albums within the genre and also discover that, with Misery Index
, Assuck have produced one of the most consistent and influential albums within the genre that contains little to no flaws and a captivating way to spend fifteen minutes of their time.
Talon Of Dominion
A Monument To Failure