Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Refusal - Grasp (Demo) (2012)

Formed in early 2008, Finnish death metal five piece Refusal may not be everyone's cup of tea. Throwing all euphemisms out the window, this is not a revolution in music. Instead, you get a two fisted slobberknocker that will leave you bloody, bruised, and ready to swing and punch your way back into the nearest mosh pit. "Grasp," the band's sixth demo in four years, continues down the path started by the many death bands before them. With production work that is far beyond what you would expect, you can near get your nose broken by a crystal clear mix. There aren't any surprises; "Grasp" is exactly what you think it is.

You can throw all hope for subtlety out the window within three seconds of the opening track, "Do Your Part." By the time the opening snare roll has passed, you are in the middle of an uncontrollable beatdown. The vocals are the definition of harsh, screaming ahead in a low, raspy growl that may convince your bowels to loosen every few seconds. The real star, however, is the instrumental. While there are times where it may feel like your average death/thrash moshfest, there is a competence in the writing process, giving you something that may stay with you for a while afterwards. The pummeling of the kick drums. whether doubled or just single, is as intense as you will find. The grunts of "Grip" launch of a four minute barrage of crushing riffs and purely abusive vocal lines. No, the riffs here aren't going to change your life or redefine metal, but it would be crass to say they are strong in their own right. The guitar work is the epitome of the death movement, keeping it faster than fast and heavier than heavy. There is no lateral movement, no desire to turn left or right; this is full steam ahead, right down your throat.

When a track clocks in at a meager one minute and forty one seconds, it is one of two things. Either you have stumbled onto a brief interlude, tying two tracks together; or you have "You Are Useless," an under two minute slugfest that is equal parts rage, rage, and rage. The tempo gets cranked up to eleven, and you are given the choice to ride or get the fuck out of the way. The same argument could be made for "Cleaning The Waste," except there is no second option. As the four minutes of chaos ticks away, the weight of the kick drum alone is enough to knock you senseless. Just shy of the two minute mark, there is a flurry of activity that makes no sense whatsoever, even when you dissect each elements. When you are moving along at these breakneck speeds, there is little room for error; or, in this case, little room for accuracy. There are times where it all seems to make sense, but they are few and far between.

How does one go about summarizing that which defies logic? Those who frequent the death metal world are sure to be pleased with one, or two, or all of these four tracks. Refusal are not a band that is big on variation or detail. Instead, you get exactly what you planned for; a bruising, punishing blend of chugging guitars, neverending drums, and vocals that, while devoid of all lyrical quality, are sure to haunt you for several nights after you have finished.That alone may be worth the price of admission. But for anyone looking for something a little deeper, this won't be the album you are looking for.


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