Monday, November 12, 2012

Album Review: Hivesmasher - "Gutter Choir"

Hivesmasher are a band I heard about through MetalSucks, where they linked a stream of their song "En Route to Meat Land" off of their newest album Gutter Choir. I listened to that song and the only song available on their bandcamp, "Used Food", and I was hooked. I immediately pre-ordered Gutter Choir, and I've been waiting attentively at my mailbox ever since.

Hivesmasher are a Massachusetts based grindcore/ death metal band that play in a style comparable to Pig Destroyer. Where Pig Destroyer can lock into insta-mosh grooves that make bodies fling across rooms, Hivesmasher deal out a fucking hurricane of shrapnel that makes you run for your fucking life. Gutter Choir has to be one of the most pissed off, primal, and depraved albums I've heard in a while. It's the motherfucking Sharknado of music. Gutter Choir has a range of songs, from 30 second grindfests to 5 minute death metal tunes and even a 37 minute final track that flies between grindcore, death metal, bluegrass, ambient, and shoegaze. Yeah. Fuuuuuuck.

The album seems to feed off of a seemingly endless pool of riffs that never fail to decimate your ears. From low chugs and gallops to upper-register riffs that sound like power drills boring their way into your skull, guitarists Tyler and Julius are masters of controlled chaos. I'm not sure which one of them handle lead playing  on the album, but the solos in "And They Thought We'd Forget" and "Vulture Assassin" are absolutely wicked. Beautifully crafted to fall right between tasteful shredding and mindbending guitar madness, the solos on Gutter Choir are incredibly refreshing to hear on an album in a genre known for almost excluding lead work from their music.

The drumming on the album is something worthy of praise as well. Drummer Tim Brault is a freaking machine, cranking out every type of blast, mosh beat, and thrash rhythm known to man. The drums sound really organic despite the inhuman speed that they're played at, and when they lock in with the guitars like in the gallop/ mosh section of "Damaged (P)Inc.", the mixture of the different tones makes an absolutely nauseating groove. When Aaron Heinold's guttural and blood curdling screams start soaring over top, Hivesmasher really sound like the kind of guys your mother warns you about.

Lastly, unlike Pig Destroyer's Blake Harrison, Hivesmasher's Dan Bolton is actually audible on the keyboards. Between the beautiful ending of "Damaged (P)Inc." and the layers and layers of synth on the 37 minute epic "Send Me to Satan", Bolton's keyboard playing really adds another layer of depth to the music and provides nice little breaks from all of the relentless aural beatings. I'm not going to describe "Send Me to Satan", because holy fuck. It's just an experience in itself.

I have to say the only thing that stops this from being a perfect album for me is the length. It's just too long. Over an hour for a grind record is just brutal. I think Hivesmasher should have released the first 16 songs as Gutter Choir and then "Send Me to Satan" as a bonus EP or something. Some sort of way to separate up all the material would have made both potential releases much easier to listen to.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Vomitouch, The Shit Waltz, And They Thought We'd Forget, Send Me to Satan

On a Playlist With: Pig Destroyer, Wormrot, Agoraphobic Nosebleed (Agorapocalypse)

Overall Score


Hivesmasher have written one of the best grind albums of the year. Yeah, I know there are a lot of them this year, but I'd put Gutter Choir up there with Pig Destroyer's Book Burner (review here). If you're a fan of any sort of extreme music, or just want a soundtrack to wreak havoc to, Gutter Choir should be your first choice.

That's all for now, folks!


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