It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s get grind it out with Hummingbird of Death’s Forbidden Techniques.
I’ve written very little about fastcore on this site. It’s a niche genre of an already niche genre. Basically hardcore/punk, thrashcore and powerviolence on tons of speed. And Boise, ID’s Hummingbird of Death have been blazing since 2005. From the eighteen-track, six-minute blaster Diagnosis: Delicious or the 5”, twenty song Goatmeal, to Archaic Technologies (released on floppy disk), there’s been no shortage speed. Though the band did settle into a plodding groove for Skullvalanche. In twelve-years, they’ve done a lot with usually very little time. Now however, we been graced with Forbidden Techniques.
It’s been five-years since Hummingbird of Death have released a proper full-length (there’s been plenty of splits in between). And there’s no time wasted getting to the meat of this beast. “Fresh Hell” opens and the trio take off at full speed. But there’s something about this record that isn’t just speed atop of more speed. Hummingbird of Death have been one of the top fastcore players since they started putting out material. Forbidden Techniques is a new level for this band though.
To be fair, this is the most polished the band has ever sounded. But it’s still savage and raw. Irregular breaks, tons of speed, blasts, gang vocals—this record is punk as hell. Tracks like “In a World Without Hashtags” push more of a straight hardcore/punk vibe that sticks to speed and goes full blasting, but plays with other elements. The song has plenty of groove and slick drumming that make it sound like more of a traditional hardcore/punk song. “World’s Oldest Baby” is similar in a degree but really cranks up the speed.
Meanwhile, Hummingbird of Death play plenty to what long time listeners have come to expect: pure breakneck speed. The sequential trio “Science Party”, “Smashcast” and “Rips” are fastcore to the bone. Keeping the pace is “Henhouse” that suddenly breaks for a devilish breakdown. The record is more fastcore than anything else (as you’d come to expect), but things get twisted more and more as the album burn on.
The almost two-minute instrumental “Forbidden Techniques and Cautionary Tales” helps to bring the album towards its proper close before “Only You Can Go and Fuck Yourself” kicks on. The final offering is a second shy of four-minutes and is an absolute rollercoaster. Fastcore, erratic breaks, melodic portions, and some straightforward pummeling to bring it all down. It’s epic and the perfect way to close the record off. Hell, even when you think the band is going to close it off, they go for the throat one last time.
Twenty-four tracks in twenty-five-minutes. Hummingbird of Death know how to make the most of their time. The To Live a Lie description blub mentions something about taking ten-thousand hours to master any skill. Well, with practicing two-hours a day for twelve-years, Hummingbird of Death nailed it. Forbidden Techniques is a fastcore masterstroke. Their current best album and one of the best fastcore releases you’ll ever hear.