January 30, 2008 | | 3.5

Agents of Abhorrence, earth.water.sun

They come from the land down under — to tear your head off and shit down your bloody gullet. Agents of Abhorrence take on grinding hardcore with a ferocity matching that of Converge’s iconic Jane Doe, then proceed to leave it in the dust behind walls of caustic riffs and maniacal drumming. Thundering blasts mix in a chaotic blend of discordant guitar noise and tortured vocals throughout the disc’s 13 tracks — all in just under 10 minutes.

Ben Andrew’s guitar work is simply violent to a fault. His creativity is only matched by the bludgeoning blasts and fills from Max Kohane’s drum kit. The two of them set an unstable environment for Grant John to layer personal reflection with social commentary through growls, grunts and high pitched screams.

Bob Dylan Still Isn’t Dead and I Think It Fucking Sucks
The opening track is nothing more than a bit of noise. Skip it in the future.

Salt and Earth
The first real track on the album could have been pulled from Converge’s Jane Doe with it’s high paced, frenetic approach to hardcore. Also being the longest track on the album at a minute in a half, Sentimentality & Nostalgia sets up the rest of the disc nicely.

Sentimentality & Nostalgia
Thankfully, Agents of Abhorrence don’t continue along the Converge line for long. God knows there are enough clones out there as it is. Instead the band shifts into blasting grindcore with a hardcore edge. I’m pretty sure that Kohane is channeling Jim Henson’s muppet Animal — this dude’s blinding ferocity is all over the drums.

Quickly shifting into “Viewing” the theme continues with start/stop riffage, maniacal drumming and tortured vocals.

Shock Treatment
“Shock Treatment” sees the band incorporating a little dual vocal action to create a nice layered feel and juxtaposition between the two vocal styles. It’s a nice touch when added to the slowly building riffs and speedy drum work.

More layered vocals with even a deep guttural treatment mix with pummeling drums and noisy guitar work. It’s just too bad it’s only for 33 seconds.

Love Song
Quickly moving along, the band starts off “Love Song” with some memorable guitar work and pile driving drums. They slow it down a bit with discordant guitar noise and controlled drum work before shifting once again into a mid tempo grinding affair. The tracks ends with some massive riffs and crazed drumming.

Outlines Remain
I like the opening to this. It gets the head nodding with dirty riffs before the band shifts gears once again and drags you behind their speeding van, body parts and skin leaving a trail that few can follow.

Sick Disguise
“Sick Disguise” continues the pace and frenetic energy that the band has carried through the album and at what seems to be a quicker pace.

Puppet Fuck
“Puppet Fuck” starts off with a good bit of guitar noise before settling into a nice groove of big riffs and spastic drums. With the frantic vocals, there is a great chaotic feel to moments on this short track.

The Audacity of You
Six seconds is all it takes for the band to spit out the tracks title. Moving on.

Under Earth
This one has some great structure to it, with several tempo shifts in under 30 seconds.

Once a Blind
earth.water.sun ends chaotically and violently with “Once a Blind.” It’s 37 seconds of caustic guitar work and more insane drum work. Hell it even features a small lead half way through.

~ ~ ~

It’s hard to really get into an album that only lasts slightly longer than nine minutes, but Agents of Abhorrence have proved that you can indeed fit enough entertaining elements into that short amount of time to create a memorable listen. Building off of a base of acerbic guitar work and haphazard (yet highly enjoyable) drum work, this trio is set to lay waste to anything in their way.

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: