It’s Monday and Monday’s suck. So let’s get back into the grind with Excruciating Terror’s Divided We Fall.
Originally released in 1997 on Pessimiser Records, it was recently re-released on the mighty Blastasfuk with three bonus tracks, making this version clock in at just over a half-hour. And also, don’t be surprised if the whole catalog of Blastasfuk makes it on here one day.
Hailing out of Los Angeles, CA, at this point in history Excruciating Terror had already turned out an EP, demo, and split (with five other bands, mostly powerviolence ones) as well as a full-length. So when Divided We Fall came out, the band had their sound pounded down. And it shows.
Divided We Fall is an exercise in grindcore excellence with some old school death metal influences. The album’s recording quality sounds like the band is smashing glass while screaming and growling over it. Excruciating Terror’s preference for blasts and speed take precedence over almost everything else. The result is old school destruction on savage, unforgiving levels. Pieces like “Don’t Care Who You Are”, “Just Another Victim” and “Without Mercy” are like a pound of semtex going off in your bathroom and leveling your city block. There’s only a pause here and there to kick up the tempo, if and when the band even give you that much breathing room.
There’s a definite feel of Phobia and Extreme Noise Terror throughout. The punk aspects that Phobia have always pushed forward are present but the sheer, skin peeling assault of Extreme Noise Terror feels even more at the forefront. It’s the endless chaos the bands bring forth that leaves this aspect splayed and bleeding. Despite Divided We Fall being a dominate grindcore album, the approach has plenty of crust and hardcore/punk influence. The attitude is ever present and not a single song goes on without it.
There’s also a definite, aforementioned, old school death metal influence. Tracks like “Give Up” or “Human Error” or “Addiction” sounds like something old Cryptopsy might have played with. Martin Alvarado’s (drums) and Raul Caballero (guitar) crush it in this aspect, while Victor Garcia’s vocal delivery is utterly frantic. The album is so unhinged it’s hard to believe your speakers aren’t going to blow out at times.
Divide We Fall was unfortunately the last full-length we got from Excruciating Terror (at least so far). The album is a bonafide grindcore classic though. It is one of the best examples of in the genre of non-stop aggression without inspiring boredom or disinterest. In addition to, Excruciating Terror’s impact has been felt with this release, as well as past installments. Bands like Insect Warfare and Internal Rot almost sound like they were spit out by Excruciating Terror to continue to reign in the rage, disgust and rawness.
Bottom line, Divided We Fall is one of grindcore’s finest. The album hasn’t gotten old or lost any of its rawness/relentlessness with age. Excruciating Terror can still blast with the best of ‘em. Had this come out today, it’d still be a staple. And if you’ve got six bucks (or twelve for the CD) laying around, you can support the artist as well as the label. I did. Feels good to keep this stuff alive.
I'm grinding it out here.