5 Jan 2018

Triple Grindcore Feature: Antigama, Marginal, Wojczech/Krupskaya

Antigama - Depressant (Selfmadegod Records)
Poland's Antigama have always marginalised themselves from the majority of the international grindcore scene by way of strange atonalities. I will go on record as saying that this very element - that which truly sets them apart from most contemporaries - has been more prominent on other Antigama releases. The Poles straddle the genre on Depressant with a remarkably (by their standard) traditional approach. The band's inherent weirdness takes a backseat for the most part to make room for great moshes and forceful entries into the world of classic grindcore with hints of newer Napalm Death and Brutal Truth.

Though atonality and weirdly unfitting riffs are still a major part of the formula, Antigama lets grindcore speak its own language. The general song structures on Depressant are rather basic, but when paired with a mix of the usual heavy grinds and this band's use of the higher registers on the guitar neck it works better than you'd expect. It's not quite as completely insane as Gridlink or Discordance Axis, but these guys are more than adept at making the style their own. There's a bit too much meandering, and for a release with just 7 tracks, the filler just takes up too much space. Even so, the structural approach works better than with most bands.


Marginal - Total Destruction (Transcending Obscurity Records)
The album title of Marginal's new record isn't all to original, but what would you expect from a gang of Belgian grindcore and crust punk enthusiasts? These guys definitely wear their influences on their sleeves, and by the sound of it these should include the likes of Nasum, Extreme Noise Terror, Rotten Sound and other classics. Marginal are all about reviving the old school and combining it with modern elements, and it's as engaging and brutal as you could hope for. The way the band combines the crustiest of punk and the grindiest of core brings to mind other newer bands like Cannibal Accident and Nuclear Death Terror.

Total Destruction is by no definition original. They take very few chances, if any, and while some riffs just kind of languish and meander into indifference, the recipe still works all these years later. The inclusion of quotes like Oppenheimer's "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds" again cements the fact that Marginal aren't too interested in reinventing anything. When they put the pedal to the metal their style works the best, but their moshiest parts - like the pounding riff in the title track - by contrast provides a brutal finishing touch to their delta of classic inspirations.


Wojczech / Krupskaya - Split (7 Degrees Records)
Both bands on this split release are the kind of grindcore scumbags that have way more splits behind them than any other kind of release. The split really is a versatile format, allowing you check out two bands simultaneously. Determining which group you like the best is always great fun.

Wojczech's multi-faceted vocal approach rubs me the wrong way, but their churning guitars and blast beats speak for themselves, and the language they speak is traditional grindcore with a taste of early 90s death metal. Like the vocals, the music too has many facets to it. You've got the heavy and fast grindcore parts, a few death metal riffs strewn about, and some melodic - often a bit silly, really - passages to spice it up. On an overall level the writing process feels a little rushed as there's not all that much of a common thread, and the most punked up sections definitely seem to be where the band is the most at home.

By contrast to Wojczech's straightforward approach, the insane fast paced chaos of Krupskaya's half of the split seems all the more unhinged. However, the Brits in Krupskaya rely a lot on a juxtaposition between crippling blast beat speeds and churning heaviness that could turn a mountain to ash. This contrast brings together the two bands in an unforeseen way, and though the Germans in Wojczech are first up, they're moreso playing second fiddle to Krupskaya's brilliant ramblings. Comparing the two, Wojczech makes you long for a swift demise, like watching a romantic comedy or suffering from cirppling depression. Krupskaya makes you want another dose, even if the drug melts away your flesh and turns your bones to a fine powder.



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