Review Summary: If you like your grindcore fast as hell, kicks you in the face, no BS and takes no prisoners then this collection from ANb's early discography will definitely not disappoint.
In the world of grindcore, chaos, unrelenting speed, and short as hell songs are the key components to many grindcore albums that have been produce in past and even today but no one really takes this belief and pushes it to the utmost extreme like Agoraphobic Nosebleed.If you have followed this bands discography throughout the years you pretty much know what to expect from this band and that is short songs that will not give you a breather and kick your ass from here to next tuesday.With this release we see where it all started with a collection of songs from splits with many other bands (Cattlepress, Benumb, Enemy Soil, Laceration, Gob) on the first disc and long lost out of print EP's and demos on the second disc before they signed to Relapse Records. With songs that are so short,that are in such a large quantity, and that are pretty much presented with the same aesthetic its pretty hard to differentiate each song from each other and it sometimes feels like they blend together.Now that being said, there are a lot of great things about this album.
On the first disc (Splits) it starts off with the drum machine sounding very clangy and digital sounding and is pretty unrelenting with its blast beats with songs like "5% Control" and "Snake Charmer".As you progress through the first half of the first disc the drum machine starts to sound a lot more like a regular drum kit (almost like the sound of the drum machine on Meshuggah's "Catch 33") and Scott Hull (of Pig Destroyer fame) slows these tempos down a bit with a less abrasive approach with the drum machine when its needed and gives the songs a more chaotic and doomy feel to them. Half through the discs and mid way towards the end the drum machine starts to sound clangy and digital again and this sound really gives these songs a unique chaotic feeling to them (as if they weren't crazy enough already").
Guitar wise its pretty much nothing too over the top surprising.if your familiar with Scott Hull's other projects such as Pig Destroyer along with many others, you pretty much know what to expect from him.Scott Hull's guitar work is as crazy as it's always been with riffs ranging from spastic to heavy as hell and incorporates a lot of his influence in his playing.He uses a lot of riffs at times that are more hardcore punk sounding then grindcore and even hints of powerviolence thrown in.
Jay Randal's vocals are definitely not your run of the mill grindcore vocals and they are so intense and savage sounding that he almost sounds like a rabid wild animal. With each track he just screams and roars at the top of his lungs and you just know the dude is going to have throat problems thirty or forty years down the road.A great example of Jay's vocals at their best is on the song "Crawl of Mind" where the vocals complement the slow tempo and the feeling of the guitars so well that you can't help but think that Jay is mentally unstable in this song.
The lyrics in this collection are pretty funny as well and if you think that Anb's lyrics are mean't to be taken seriously you should seriously get your head examined.The lyrics poke fun at the whole cliche lyrics about gore and murder (while they still do have those elements) in a lot of other grindcore bands songs with very weird and obscure themes (look the lyrics up because I probably can't post them here) like the song "Non-action' where Jay Randal talks about not doing anything about world events (I assume) is better then doing something about them because its less things you have to worry about in your life.
All in all this a very good collection of ANb's early material that will probably leave you by the end of both discs with a pretty big headache (in a good way) if you can withstand the eighty or so minutes of intensity that these 136 or so songs will provide to you and if you like your grindcore fast, intense, with no BS, and straight and to the point with a very obscure sound and lyrics then this is definitely for you.Now is this a good start for new ANb listeners?Probably not and for those new to ANb's discography definitely check out their full lengths but this collection is definitely a great add to any grind fans CD (or digital if your into that) collection and is definitely recommended.