Released: 2017, Transcending Obscurity
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Look – as bad as you think you’ve got it in your neighborhood, somebody’s always got it worse. India’s blackened grind troupe Heathen Beast is resolute in making sure you understand that with their latest release, $CAM. Defiantly anti-religious in a part of the world where religion and law have blurry lines, and openly antagonistic towards a corrupt government body that fuels its greed through the poorest of the poor, Heathen Beast are a voice of social provocation with real risk attached to it.
Heathen Beast has a body of socially conscious and generally provocative work dating back to 2010, covering topics ranging from the pollution of the Ganges River to the 2002 Godhra train burning (and subsequent riots), but $CAM is appropriately centered on the socioeconomic disparity of the region. Musically, the band has always balanced grindcore tendencies with a black metal underbelly, but the 9 tracks on $CAM lean more towards straightforward organic grind album than any of their earlier material. Tracks like “Fuck Poor People, I have Paymt” and “It’s Only a Minor Inconvenience” address the cash availability crisis currently affecting southern India while “If You Disagree” employs George Carlin to chime in on the absurdity of “national” pride. Track for track, $CAM is a pointed commentary on the state of Indian political affairs, but when you get past the geography, you quickly realize that this kind of nonsense happens EVERYWHERE.
Grindcore has always been an outlet for social awareness, and an album like $CAM carries extra weight. Do yourself a favor and check out some of the videos on Heathen Beast’s Facebook page, Google the details for some context and then take a step back to soak it all in.