Review Summary: A fragile attempt to answer the unanswerable.
It's a funny world we live in. Every day, every passing moment we're faced with the catharsis of the future, while tentatively looking over our shoulders to catch, or perhaps hoping never
to catch, the shadowy glimpse of distant past. As much as we try to deny it, we're split between what once was and what we fear is yet to come, awkwardly balancing on the thin line of the very essence of purpose. The world Insect Warfare
inhabit is no different - a vast, sprawling ocean of lightning-fast motions and blank canvas devoid of form that seems to be an even more terrifying place, existing outside of the rules imposed on each and every one of us. It's an empty space latent behind the veil of free will and love, of facts, desires and memories we choose to forget. It exists in us, on us and for
us, and that's where the haunting presence of IW's debut release, At War With Grindcore
, takes on its most tangible form.
While it may initially seem easy, or even right
, to write off AWWG as another victim of a long lost and violated legacy, the record itself stays true to and simultaneously alters the true and tested recipe conceived nearly three decades ago. Tampering with something bigger than Rahi and Co. can handle, AWWG is, more than anything else, a statement, a confession of a caged animal that's been trapped in a devastated world for far too long, exposed to unnatural soundscapes and light that is pleasant on both mind and senses, yet hostile on the heart. It rotates questions in a hermeneutic circle, twisting potential answers into bare images free of weight or meaning. And the few feeble messages that do
make it out, alive and unharmed, pose, instead of revelations, a question: Who are they for, for them or for everyone"
. For AWWG is not a mere sum of its parts; it's the parts that embody and transcend something that once was a whole.
Rahi, the mastermind behind the Insect Warfare project, is not intent on telling more that he can say, or perhaps is willing to say. In a sense, though, it is his inability, his disorientation in matters that should be clear as rain drops that provides the seemingly unattainable, something that goes truly deeper than what meets the eye. Yet he does so in a manner that is most expected, like a movie that you have seen far too often but you still manage to uncover the barely noticeable facets that, in the long run, matter the most. Trying to find order in a world he does not, and does not want to
understand, he pours out his thoughts in a lovingly disparate manner, and we can't help but thank him for it, for it is more that we could ever hope for. Do not be mistaken; he IS the frontman, the sole person carrying the burden of inevitable irrelevancy and finality, a haze of entire cities and suburbs of his sorrowful childhood cloaked in muddy, uninviting instrumentation. Yet, in a clear act of transgression, he unconsciously discourages
the listener to enter his troubled self, instead of inviting them; a feeble attempt to carry the weight of the world on his own. Not a martyr, but a traveler; a long, winding path instead of clear focus.
When all is said and done, you can't help but admire the level of dedication invested in At War With Grindcore, the endless layers of solitude the band brought on them themselves. Having undergone a rapid depersonalization unlike anything we have ever seen in music, Insect Warfare are simply imitating
reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of their mind functioning. Rahi and his band mates may be looking for closure, but instead of seeking it in themselves they unleash their confusion on everyone
, indulging unsuspecting listeners in matters that are, in fact, universal. Insect Warfare set out to give their music meaning, and try their best to compete with their own fatalistic inevitability, yearning for not victory, but for a battle that's worth engaging in. But by the time the first few guitar riffs in 'After War Obliteration' enter your eardrums, you're hopelessly standing upon the ruins of the band's expectations, knowing that they have already lost.