Released: 2015, Blast Head Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Man, what a difference a few years apart can make…
When Nervous Impulse released their 2009 debut, ENOUGH FOR DEMENTIA, it was a fun, but safe, collection of current gen grindcore. The band has kept a fairly low profile since that time, but all good monsters eventually resurface when the time is right. TIME TO PANIC is an appropriate title for the band’s sophomore opus, as it strips away most of the comfort and familiarity of their debut, thrusting the listener into an uncomfortably manic experience. That’s a good thing.
TIME TO PANIC uses the bands traditional grind roots as a foundation, but layers in elements of modern deathcore alongside the whatthaf@#k-isms of a Dillinger Escape Plan to create a complex and challenging musical statement that pushes purist boundaries. Immediately noticeable is a new, beefier guitar tone of the 7 string+ variety, driving bottom end swoops and wallops through your headphones. The approach runs the risk of settling into generic-core chugs, but the song arrangements here are so spastic that such pitfalls are avoided. Check out “The Neighbor’s House is On Fire” for proof; less of a “song” in the traditional sense than it is an assault on the senses; it’s an almost physical tune. There’s also more to chew on this time around. You’ve still got your 30-second sprints, but you’ve also got tunes like “9 Meals to Anarchy” that push past the 4-minute mark. Nothing overstays its welcome, but the longer tunes get an opportunity to sink their teeth into you a little deeper.
What is still prevalent from the band’s past is their blackened take on social commentary. The opening trifecta of “Oil Spills”/”Prorogued Democracy”/”Syrian NATO Meat Grinder” pull no punches and let you know exactly where their creative heads are at, whereas “Overwhelming Positive Vibe” is likely anything but. There’s also a re-recording of “Dead Jeremians” and an Agoraphobic Nosebleed cover tacked on for good measure, both of which feel at home amongst the new batch of tunes.
It took me several listens for TIME TO PANIC to “click” to the point that I really appreciated it, so if you’re looking for a casual affair, you’d best keep on walking. But if you’re willing to make the investment and prefer your extremities a little left of center, Nervous Impulse is a name worth getting familiar with.