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4 out of 5 skulls

Hivesmasher Gutter Choir

I don’t know jack shit about the Massachusetts sextet Hivesmasher except that they play some seriously nasty, raw grind-core — grind-core that sounds as though it were recorded right from the same gutter in which they chose the name for the album. The 17 tracks on their sophomore full-length, Gutter Choir is messy, violent, off-centered, technical and a hell of an auditory beat-down. This album is taxing to get all the way through its 72 minute run-time (don’t worry, the last track alone is 37 plus minutes). No one should be subjected to or want to be bombarded by the controlled chaos these guys present for nearly half as long as this album runs. But you do.

And you want more of it.

Combining the likes of luminaries Napalm Death and Brutal truth along with newcomers Wormrot and Graf Orlock, these six dudes deliver some visceral grind unlike anything heard this year so far. Everything is delivered with as much vehemence and venom as the band can muster. Each reckless, punk-infused blast is on the brink of collapsing into complete and utter chaos throughout Gutter Choir. It makes for an uneasy and off-kilter listening experience that is surprisingly addictive.

“Bye Bye Baby” gets things off to a burly start with a rabid initial eruption of frantic drums and discordant guitars before settling into a solid bit of chugging riffs. “Vomitouch” is an all out attack on the senses with heavy-as-fuck drums, messy guitars and an unhinged vocal attack. It’s one of the more memorable tracks as a result.

The band even throws in the random (and appropriately timed) sound byte to accentuate their stuttering blasts of mayhem as seen in “Can of Awesometism.” When listening to this album, you’ve got to wonder how much damage these guys caused to their instruments in the recording process. It sounds as they though are going completely apeshit (“En Route to Meatland,” The Shit Waltz” and “Ugly Cat”) with little regard for their own well being.

An album like this is hard on the ears at times. It’s a ton of mayhem and destruction to take in a single sitting, but if you can make it through, you’ll be rewarded with one of the more energetic and unrestrained performances heard all year. These guys unleash absolute hell on themselves and their instruments through a churning blend of technical grind, punk, noise and chaos. Gutter Choir will kick your ass, beating you unconscious until you, in fact, wake up in a gutter hours later — blood crusting around scrapes and bruises and your pockets empty.

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