Agoraphobic Noosebleed - Agorapocalypse

If you’ve so much as a passing interest in grindcore then, you’ll probably know who Scott Hull and Agoraphobic Noosebleed are. So, let’s jump over the introductions and just mention that the band is back with their fourth full length work six long years and several split releases on from their near-legendary album ‘Altered States of America’. A lot has changed within the ANB camp during these last few years and a quick look at the album cover immediately reveals a radical change in their way of doing things. Only 13 songs! Wow, that’s a new considering their previous record crammed 100 songs into a short 20-minute play length. Rather than writing frenetic spasms of sonic violence that lasted no more than a brief few seconds, the band have built new songs that exceed the two and three minutes mark, injecting a more… imagine the surprise… directional maturity into the song writing. Those of you looking for or expecting Agoraphobic Noosebleed of yore you’re shit out luck because this is a new and improved band peddling far more varied areas than just relentless cyber-grind. Their songs have gained an enjoyable accessibility, with coherent song structures that actually stick in your mind and a creative guitar work. Nowadays, Scott Hull’s riffs veer from the frenzied grind of previous works, to a hardcore aggression and a speed-thrash metal attack, yet nonetheless they still sound lethal and vicious as ever. The drum programming sounds infinitely more diverse and organic, for the first time it actually seems like a common human being could have played them without studio trickery.
Another notable evolution is the inclusion of Katherine Katz from sludge act Salome on vocals, joining male growlers Jay Randall and Richard Johnson on a three-vocalist onslaught. Each vocalist brings their own distinct and harsh style to the table, yet it is Katz’s brutal growls and screams that raises the whole experience to another level.
There are still plenty of full-on grind moments here, so let’s not get the impression they’ve a suffered a complete makeover in the style of say Cryptopsy. Yet, for the most part, it seems like Scott Hull and co. have decided to expand their horizons and stray into a more mature and dynamic path as evidenced on ‘Agorapocalypse’, the most musically enjoyable thing Agoraphobic Noosebleed has ever written. (7.5/10)

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