Review Summary: Stagnant sounds from a stagnant scene.
Mumakil’s third full length studio album is a relentless, pummeling, all out ferocious grind-barrage…which also means it’s some pretty standard, run of the mill modern grindcore. There is nothing inherently wrong this record, but it fails to do anything terribly interesting to push what is arguably one of extreme music’s most notoriously stale and set-in-its-ways genres. Hyper-speed unyielding blasting, crusty low-end riffing, huge crunchy tone and a frantic throaty vocalist makes for a fairly typical sonic assault that has lost its danger and appeal over the last few years. When a band wears their influences on their sleeves that’s alright, but these guys have a entire damn Nasum and Rotten Sound outfit on. Where label-mates like *** The Facts and Cephalic Carnage, and contemporaries like Misery Index and Pig Destroyer show a bit of technical flair, diversity and creativity, Mumakil are basically a straight up hero worship act, and have been for some time. Relapse has a penchant for picking up these kinds of groups (Gadget, Kill The Client, and Blockheads all come to mind) but they always manage to deliver on some higher level whether that’s in purely great riffs, speed variation, or some other factor, but Mumakil are a marvel in that they have no real defining traits.
“Flies Will Starve” is a paint-by-numbers grind record that is forgettable, albeit quite well produced, energetic and musically competent. It’s middle of the road stuff that clings in an unwavering fashion to their roots and showcases their inability (or unwillingness) to progress beyond their earlier work and their influences. Even thematically, the whole anti-corporate warfare, “you’re a slave to the system” motif has been done to death in this genre. This release is heavy, it’s mean, it’s punishing, it’s a non-stop freight train of blast-beats and vitriol – all of that is true, but it doesn't save it from being not much more than 24 short tracks from the grind cliche playbook.
*Originally written for Honest At Heart