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Album Review: VARIOUS ARTISTS Monsters! (Six of a Kind)

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The monsters are on their way. They're approaching now. You'll soon know them by the way they scream. You'll know them by way of destruction. You'll know them by viciousness. And you'll know them by the way they take your face and grind it on a belt sander.

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Compliations are a magical thing. If you grew up without the internet (like I did), this, shows and the linear thank you notes bands printed in their CDs was the way to discover new stuff. Monsters! (Six of a Kind) is a compilation that brings together six bands from the modern grindcore world on twenty-three monstrous tracks of pure, unadulterated grinding glory mastered by Dan O'Hare.

Total Fucking Destruction kick off the first of the comp's tracks. You might be familiar with two of these if you follow J. Randall's Grindcore Karaoke label. The band features Richard Hoak and Dan O'Hare of the almighty Brutal Truth. Total Fucking Destruction sound like the spawn of such a band. The tracks “Monsters” and “Blinded” are plenty abrasive while “Is Your Love a Rainbow” is…odd. The background singing vocals give the track a strange vibe but keep the piece constantly interesting. Structurally, Total Fucking Destruction are a fantastic band and will hopefully put out some more material soon. Especially since we only get one new track from them here.

Paris, France's Department of Correction, whom has done splits with the excellent Noisear and Agathocles, follows with seven tracks of grinding terror. Less experimental than Total Fucking Destruction, Department of Correction still manages to hold their own. A monster unto themselves, the band only has one track clock in at over a minute. The pieces blaze by, especially the excellent offering “Reaching Hubble on a Unicorn”, which sounds like it's trying to bleed someone out. The odd thing about this recording was that the drums almost sounded like they were programmed. Alas, they're not. The band does have a live body drumming. And he fucking tears. Overall, this band is just speed insane. People that love blasting will love this band.

C.O.A.G. (or Coalition of Abominable Grinders) takes things in a slightly different direction. The one-man band by Déhà of We All Die (Laughing) places a larger emphasis on black metal inspired grind. C.O.A.G.'s blisteringly fast drumming and choppier assembly helps break up the compilation, and is also the only band on the album that has an intro track. The track “Grind of War” is a killer with a blast that sounds like it was ripped from Agoraphobic Nosebleed's Altered States of America. The tracks are an absolute beat down in every sense.

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Marseille, France's Miserable Failure take a walk on the moodier side. Their tracks feel far more fevered and hungry than previous offerings. The shrill screams sound horrific and murderous. Song structures follow their own path, straying from any sense of stability. This sounds like a walking mental breakdown almost perfectly captured, mixing blasts beats with punk and slower riffs. While it sounds like nothing new, it's all in the way the band plays it. Also, I think the ending piece “Nothing More” is supposed to be darkly funny, but I don't speak French. But the song “It's Hip to be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News is definitely there.

Unsu, out of Lille, France, offer up only two tracks catchy, moshing grindcore. The pieces “The Croft” and “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself” feel like a pick-me-up from the previous bands. Yeah, this stuff is still hard rage but it feels less focused on the dark, offering up some great grindcore. The blast has bounce and the band rages ferociously.

Amiens, France's Infected Society, whom has done splits with Anal Penetration and Vaginal Penetration of an Amelus With a Musty Carrot, close off the compilation with two tracks: “Human Cancer” and “Lies, Incorporated”. The pieces are more groove laden but still maintain a healthy balance of blast. Much like Unsu there's a bounce to the band's sound. The guitars have more lead and riffage but the band still steeps itself in heaviness.

Monsters! (Six of a Kind) is a great compilation. The grind balance is good and walks a fine line of giving the listener a lot of what grind has to offer. Bands like Total Fucking Destruction and C.O.A.G. demand future installments after hearing them here (even though we only got one new TFA track). It's nice to see that physical compilations are still being made. If you like grindcore then this is definitely a collection worth checking out. Strong offerings all around.

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Twitter: @CoffeeCupReview

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