Released: 2008, Willow Tip Records
Holy shit, this is grind to make your eyes burn!
This is sick, beautiful and brutal political grind from the guys in Phobia, who individually made their bones in bands like Exhumed, Dekapitator and Impaled. The grindcore ethos of playing as fast as possible in as short a time as possible is adhered to pretty strictly, although this is by no means the fastest, nor the briefest, grindcore band around. But this means that 22 RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE will enjoy more replay value as the songs are mature enough to stand on their own without resorting to gimmicks like a two-second blast of noise.
Yes, death metal fans will enjoy this record – the Slayer-ish down-stroked guitar passages and Kerry King whammy bar solos are mixed in wonderfully and seamlessly with Possessed SEVEN CHURCHES-era thrashy/pre-death style lead riffing, while retaining bona fide brutal death metal sensibilities in the circular, atonal sense of riffing (think Vital Remains or Hate Eternal). The similarities to Vital Remains actually don’t stop there – singer Shane McLachlan sounds like a cross between the growling and screaming parts of Thorn from the DAWN OF THE APOCALYPSE, and a hint of the roar from Incantation’s John McEntee.
But the drumming will give any death metal fan a hard-on. It’s pretty much the standout part of 22 RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE, and that’s in competition with the album’s speed, attitude, aggression, brutality, riffing and singing! Danny Walker crazy levels of bpm awes me, but the variety of his drumming is pretty impressive – it’s not straight-ahead blasting all the time as he throws in fills and use of cymbals that are interesting if not totally innovative. I have to confess trying to air-drum along and failing miserably, but that’s the sort of record 22 RANDOM ACTS… is.
Grindcore fans are guaranteed to love this record, but the appeal to the death metal faithful is almost a given as well. Truly one of the extreme metal albums of the year, 22 songs in less than half an hour is just right for making your neck sore.