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REVIEW: ABSVRDIST’S ‘ILLUSORY’ IS NUTS! N-V-T-S NUTS!

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REVIEW: ABSVRDIST’S ‘ILLUSORY’ IS NUTS! N-V-T-S NUTS!

There’s a point when genre nitpicking is just a plea for accuracy. There’s a difference between scoffing at Mayhem’s Chimera being referred to as black metal because it has production value and was written by a dude who hasn’t been dead for almost 20 years, and not feeling quite right with Absvrdist being referred to as “blackened grindcore.” First of all, blackened grindcore has already been perfected by two very angry men from England, and Absvrdist sounds nothing like that. Secondly, the very little about Absvrdist’s debut album Illusory that qualifies as black metal seems incidental; a few intensely-strummed minor chords over insistent blastbeats isn’t a genre qualifier so much as it is an aside. Absvrdist are only a little more a black metal band than Ghost (though the similarities stop there pretty definitively).

But that doesn’t speak to the quality of Illusory at all. If you like metal fast and vicious, Absvrdist is your shit. It’s the kind of fierce, big, chunky grindcore that’s pretty impossible to resist. It’s punky without being fey and heavy without being rigid. Think Rotten Sound or Trap Them, but darker and angrier. Grindcore can be fun or impressively nimble, but the best of it simply bowls you over. In that regard, Illusory may as well have been recorded on the bottom half of a bloodied steamroller. The guitars are huge and crunchy, the vocals righteously pissed, and the drums… oh, those drums. (I’m hot and cold on The Faceless, but between Absvrdist and Fleshwrought, I’m cool with their drummers’ side projects.) There isn’t a whole lot of metal this year that’s more forceful and insistent.

That’s because unlike mediocre grind, Illusory‘s songs all feel fleshed-out regardless of their duration. The two-and-a-half minutes of “Exposure” is as complete and lived-in as the blistering 28 seconds of “First World Problems” or “Needful Things.” The band volleys between jittery tech-grind, beefy hardcore and, yes, black metal so well that it all functions as an extension of the same thought. Perhaps my qualm with hailing Absvrdist as blackened grindcore is because their brief wobbles into blackened whatever — the first half of “Amongst Humans” and the Brown Jenkins-style open Godflesh chords that swallow the last two-thirds of closer “Abstract Absurdities,” in particular — hint that there could be a really brilliant blackened grindcore album in them. However, Absvrdist is absolutely fucking fine as is. In fact, leave the necro icewind harnessing to the ones who do it best and let the band stick with the pummeling, sweaty, all-encompassing grind they already do so well.

REVIEW: ABSVRDIST’S ‘ILLUSORY’ IS NUTS! N-V-T-S NUTS!REVIEW: ABSVRDIST’S ‘ILLUSORY’ IS NUTS! N-V-T-S NUTS!REVIEW: ABSVRDIST’S ‘ILLUSORY’ IS NUTS! N-V-T-S NUTS!REVIEW: ABSVRDIST’S ‘ILLUSORY’ IS NUTS! N-V-T-S NUTS!

(4 out of 5 horns)

-SO

Listen to and purchase Absvrdist’s Illusory here.

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