Review Summary: The stages of brutality lost in transmission.
Grindcore has always been an eccentric and excessive genre to me at least anyway. Piercing, blood curdling vocals, and blistering misanthropic walls of sound aren’t exactly radio friendly after all. Bands like Buckshot Facelift take the absurdity of grindcore and embrace it for all of its quirks to create confident music that tells the stories of anger, fear and dissatisfaction. The presented combination of bitter ingredients substantially adds to the personality involved and in the right light can even make the music appear as both more self-aware and personal.
Buckshot Facelift certainly spend no time easing you into their personal hell, starting the album off with the unleashing of the band’s intense vocals. For my first few listens through this album their odd rasp and heavy grunts made me question what the band was actually doing if anything at all. Then it struck me: this is not a faceless sound, this is the sound of Buckshot Facelift and this is their story.
Unlike many other contemporaries Buckshot doesn’t aim solely for speed although there is certainly no lack of it. Songs usually come flying out of the gate at full pace but songs often have nuisances that switch things up and set them apart from the others on the album allowing each of the 17 songs to form at least some sort of identity in the short time the listener and the song are together. Songs like “My Heroes Drink Alone” and “Bonus Blowtorch” intensify and diversify by bringing in a new perspective to things. The emotional, bleak atmosphere of the mentioned songs accompanied by the trademark maniacal vocals make the song feel as if climaxes to the journey that is Universal Goat Tilt, whatever that adventure may entail.
When approaching a style with such short songs it is imperative to allow the album to have a strong sense of flow otherwise it won’t be long until the band has created nothing but a disjointed mess. By continuing themes into one another while changing up details such as new riffs and drum fills the album not only gets a sense of natural, meaningful progression but allows each song to stand out.
Although the theme and scope of the album is admirable it is not necessarily always well executed. The approach of the album is possibly its strongest feature but the actual execution doesn’t always pay off due to some particularly distracting short falls. The biggest downfall of the album is of course the production which in no way does a chaotic grind album filled with nuisances any justice. Everything about the sound screams amateur, the guitars especially sound thin and don’t pull off the full impact of the notes they’re actually playing. Although the album isn’t necessarily going for speed it still lacks that necessary umph, that punch which really lets the band get in your face. The overall shallow production takes away from the atmosphere and causes many ideas on this album that could have been emotional climaxes or chaotic dissensions into merely okay riffs with weird goat vocals.
One category where the band really shines both production wise and stylistically however is in the drumming. The drumming on this album really stands out at the front of mix and has a very hollow sound to it that works well to add atmosphere. The drumming realizes sludgy slow paces and even more plainly just density where the other members nor production could otherwise budget to provide.
Buckshot Facelift have interesting concepts at hand here but have a difficult time executing much properly. On the upside and most importantly are their vigour imaginations to create a personal grindcore album with genuine songwriting.