Nearly seven years after their last album, and just about five since the death of on-again, off-again co-lead vocalist Phil Vane, English grind legends Extreme Noise Terror (or just E.N.T.) return with a decidedly primal crusty/hardcore comeback album of sorts – this despite having veteran death grind barker Ben McGrow (ex of Gorerotted/The Rotted) join the fray to shout along with mainstay co-vocalist Dean Jones.
E.N.T.’s self-titled sixth full-length is an unapologetically raw and freewheeling album where the band seem to care fuck all about musicality or any sort of aesthetic pretense – even if the riffy undercurrent is occasionally quite catchy. It harks back to the band’s earliest days some 30 years ago – which only Jones was around for – and their landmark Holocaust In Your Head album with its two-minute spastic bursts of buzz-saw guitars, flailing tempos and the Speakers’ Corner-like vitriol of Jones and McGrow, with Jones apparently handling the bug-eyed caterwaul and McGrow doing the more vomitous, often unintelligible, low-end gibbering. Or vice versa, it probably doesn’t make much difference.
The sextet play here with the rough-and-tumble, plug-in-and-let-loose fervor of a garage band. Indeed, given its almost complete lack of polish, the album sounds like it very well could have been recorded live in someone’s basement. It’s a far cry from the almost sterile grind metal bombast of 1997’s Damage 381, when Vane and Napalm Death’s Mark Greenway briefly switched teams and the album ended up sounding like a Napalm knockoff.
The opening track here, “Punk Rock Patrol,” pretty much sums up where this album is coming from. Its 13 tracks – which include a cover of “I Like Cola” from Japanese hardcore pioneers Outo, though fittingly tweaked a bit here as “I Like Coca” given its manic presentation – are spit out in a furious 26 minutes. Yet despite their reckless abandon, E.N.T. deliver enough hardcore crunch to bring an element of menace and danger – a la GHB or Discharge – and there is an occasion burst of grind to show the band haven’t given up on that completely.
E.N.T. Essentially have essentially gone backward as they attempt to move forward from the deaths not only of Vane but long-time guitarist Pete Hurley. But it’s probably the right strategy. As crude, chaotic and sometimes utterly nonsensical as the new album is, there’s a palpable sense of old school excitement and purpose to it that is rather infectious.
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