Ah, the lure of the blast beat; of riffs that range from the ultra-simple to the surprisingly complex; of mid-tempo passages qualifying as ‘breakdowns’; the sense of accomplishment from listening to an entire album of 20 songs in 21 minutes; of knowing there’s still music out there that would make deathcore kids cringe from its raw, unadulterated power. Such is the lure of well-executed grindcore. The French trio Whoresnation offers a bevy of satisfyingly misanthropic music to warm the blackest of hearts, then overheat and burn that heart to make it even blacker.
Though it might simplify things a bit too much, one could say there are two kinds of grindcore. The simple kind revels in pure obnoxiousness and often has a fun, party atmosphere to it. It carries with it the genre’s roots in hardcore, D-beat, and crust punk (think King Parrot). Whoresnation and their ilk (e.g. Wormrot, Pig Destroyer) on the other hand, shed levity and humor and replace it with undiluted hatred. And they add a dose of much-needed technicality and a sense of dynamics to their sound to keep the songs all from sounding the same. This is the kind of grindcore that went on to inspire goregrind bands like Cryptopsy and Cattle Decapitation. The first kind of grindcore conjures the image of a beer keg exploding, soaking everyone in the room, and inspiring at least on person to try to ‘drink’ the dregs off the floor. Mephitism on the other hand is the musical avatar of an especially bloody, hyper-realistic horror movie or video game. “What did I just watch?” That sort of thing.
Whoresnation’s use of tempo changes, mid-tempo breakdowns, and riffs that use more than three chords make Mephitism interesting to listen to multiple times. In a way, the album is less of a collection of 20 songs and more like a single, bludgeoning 21-minute epic. Think of a prog metal band overdosing on stimulants, throwing the keyboardist through the nearest window, then blasting through their best material before dying. Whoresnation came to this album with a singularity of purpose and (possibly) a timeline to fit an entire album onto a single side of a 12-inch LP. Who could but praise them for succeeding so vividly?
As for the individual songs, there is very little to say since Mephitism seems to have been meant to be listened to in one fell swoop. It would fit, however, to point out a few that distinguish themselves. The album starts with the epic-length (1m26s and actually one of the longest on the album) “Mephitic.” With squealing feedback, abrupt tempo changes and maximum-speed blast beats, the song basically encapsulates the entire album. “Pilon” has a bold, slow, almost doomy intro that lasts about 5 of the song’s 45 second length before going full grind. Then there is “Inner Void”, which at 1m50s, seems epic in proportion to everything else Whoresnation did on this album. The slow riff in this song takes so much prominence as to be the song’s main one and most shockingly, “Inner Void” has a guitar solo: sure, it’s only one note, and lasts about 3 seconds and completely relies on the whammy bar but for something by a band like this, it’s an amazing digression.
Not everybody likes grindcore but that would be a likely moot point for anyone who read this far. And for that crowd, one can simply thank Whoresnation for giving them something to tide them over until the next releases by Pig Destroyer or Wormrot.
Notable Tracks: “Mephitic”; “Inner Void”, “Raw Rabid Brutality”, “Pilon” but the album really needs to be listened to in one shot for full effect.
FFO: Pig Destroyer, Wormrot