Welcome to the latest edition of “Freeloader,” in which we review albums that you don’t have to feel like a douche for downloading for free. Today Satan Rosenbloom checks out a bunch of stuff from Australia.

It’s been fucking FREEZING in Los Angeles this past week. And as usually happens when it gets lower than sixty degrees, I put on me long johns, drink some cocoa and turn my ears towards warmer climes. Like Australia, for whom it’s the dead of summer right now. Except it’s been raining dingos and wallabies there recently. Oh well. Here’s some free shit from Australia.

AusGrind Hits of the Summer compilation

Lachlan Dale, guitarist of the psychedelic instru-metal prog band Serious Beak (recently pimped by Vince), passed on this wiggy compilation of twenty-one Australian grind, powerviolence and other bands of indeterminate extreme genre. We learned from Scott Hull’s This Comp Kills Fascist series of grindcore speed-dating albums that comps are really the ideal way to listen to grindcore. They provide but a brief rendezvous with each band, meaning prolonged irritation by any one is unlikely, and the chance that you’ll find something to soothe said irritation is quite good. It will take a committed grindfreak to detect any meaningful differences among bands like Ether Rag, Captain Cleanoff, Jesus Christ Posse and Battle Pope other than degree of recording quality shittiness, but figuring out which song requires the smallest dose of Ritalin for you to handle is half the fun. I’m partial to the chaotic fury of thedowngoing, IDYLLS’ bizarre guitar tone, the barely contained grindpunk of The Kill, Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt’s disjointed powerviolence, and the name ARSEHOLOCAUST. Names are ultra-important in low-rent grind, and AusGrind Hits of the Summer boasts a whole bunch of great ones. Plus the lowest rent possible.

(3 out of 5 horns up)

Get it here.

The Fevered – Vestige

If you’re going to pick an album to pattern your sound after, you could pick much worse than At the Gates’ Slaughter of the Soul, as Brisbane band The Fevered did on their debut EP Vestige, released in late 2010. Seriously, opener “To Frailty” is nearly indistinguishable from “Slaughter of the Soul,” other than vocalist Josh Robinson’s unremarkable death growl. But if you’re content to be redundant, you better bring something to the table other than a whiff of your template band’s musk, or at least offer up superior songwriting. The Fevered do neither. The musicianship is there; the songs just aren’t.

(2 out of 5 horns up)

Get it here.

Ironhide – Create/Collapse/Repeat

Nobody can quite master The Red Chord’s motley mix of deathgrind churn, hardcore passion and proggy songcraft. Brisbane’s Ironhide get close enough for a polite golf clap on their debut Create/Collapse/Repeat, which tempers its super-tech chops with some fine, nuanced writing. While each of these songs has its share of twists and turns, they don’t seem like they’ve been slapped together with no attention paid to momentum. You’re gonna want to ride the “Daydreams of Chaos” and “Such Heroic Nonsense” roller coaster rides a few times each. Just as dynamic as the songs is the perfectly-mixed recording. This one has teeth.

(4 out of 5 horns up)

Get it here.


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