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Album Review: COLUMNS Please Explode

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It’s nothing new to mash up grindcore, death metal, d-beat, and thrash. After all, it’s a smorgasbord of many of the best genres metal has to offer. Though doing so is no easy feat. And one listen to Colunns new record Please Explode will show you that they’re not out to be confined to any one genre. 

Boasting vocalist Adam Cody (of Glass Casket and Wretched fame) and ex-Hemdale guitarist Mike Lehmann, Charlotte, NC’s Columns is a grind/death band that sets out with demolition on the brain. The band originally began in 2003 as an instrumental act but quickly enlisted Cody in 2004. With only a three song EP released in 2006, a seven song album entitled Just Another Species released in 2010 and consistent line-up changes, the band finally signed to Relapse last year with a final line up of Cody on vocals, Lehmann on guitar, Jake Wade on bass, and Jason Skipper on drums.

Please Explode is a twisting conglomeration of riff slamming, groove swinging goodness. The jumpy opening notes of “Mudfucker” throw you right into the fray. No opening, no slow prodding introduction—no bullshit. This is a band that gets straight down to business. “Mudfucker” bounces as much as it punches. And immediately following this opener you’re going to notice this is a band that can riff hard.

Structure is where Columns most succeeds. The sheer driving force of their riffs are like a blinding madness. Lehmann is an unstoppable killing machine. Tracks like “No One’s Fucking Watching” beats forward with death metal momentum before diving into a bouncy/thrashy lick. “Botttom Feeders” packs together some solid grind in the beginning and thrash later on making it for a banger of a song.

Other tracks like “Ungrateful” bring sheer metallic grind in spades. The piece is like a cheese grater on the speakers with a screeching distant breakdown to close off the song. “Drifter Aftermath” pushes a similar style. A punched up piece of grind goodness that bleeds aggression. Even the breakdown hardly feels like a break. Also, Rotten Sound fans might notice the snare intro to “A Guilty Bunch” sounds a lot like “Suffer” from Murderworks.

The way the band brings the best of its genres is pretty incredible. At first few listens the record can be difficult to follow however. Songs stretch from as little as a just under a minute to four-and-a-half (usually hovering around the one-two minute mark) and come jam packed with riffage, break downs, thrash, melody, etc. Tracks are seldom distinguished by a couple of riffs. “The God Clause,” for example, is only two minutes and change but packs in the riffage. Differentiation can be difficult at first but its not a major problem.

Please Explode is an excellent Relapse debut and one of the best records I’ve heard this year. It  gets better with each play. The piece is twisting to the point of brutalizing. Mixing elements of grindcore, d-beat, thrash, and death metal, Columns have crafted a helluva monster. It’s an album that moves at lightning speed one moment and chugs along the next. while maintaining a solid balancing act of switching songs up without being jarring. With this album they’ve coined the term “Southern grind.” I say bring on more. Fans of Enabler, Symphonies of Sickness-era Carcass and Celphalic Carnage take note. Columns Please Explode is a devastator.

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