‘Treasonist’, the album by a band of the very same moniker, wastes absolutely no time with theatrics, cutting viciously to the point from the get go. So shall we, then.
Blasting straight into it, Dissolved Ideals makes a grandiose but razor-sharp statement, wasting no time slamming into a furious cocktail of high-octane hardcore punk aesthetics beneath a scaffolding of furious death-grind, kind of like Mindsnare in a knife fight with Morbid Angel. Yes, that good. Clamouring over tremolo, chug, power-chord, riff, scream and shout alike, the brawl ends as abruptly as it commenced, lyrically a backhanded bitch-slip to the morosely apathetic office drone culture of the modern Western knowledge economy.
Further trampling through the semi-comatose haze of modern existence, like many grindcore counterparts, these guys are serious about shaking you back to consciousness. Nature: 1, Human Intellect: 0 stabs a Nasum-sized wound straight into the abdomen, with a seething mix of hyper-speed tremolo guitar that is punctuated here and there by spasmodic dissonant riffs that would put a smirk on the face of chaotic mathcore songwriters such as Kurt Ballou of Converge. Mixing the seltzer bottle even more, we cop a grating wall of Pig Destroyer styled shrieks, wails and hardcore barks around the vocal register, punctuated with a massive hardcore breakdown and tinnitus-inducing screechy feedback. Boom.
History Will Be Erased keeps the boiler set on high, the band bubbling and steaming under intense pressure. The thrash-meets-death-and-hardcore guitarwork is kept only slightly in place by the blistering, bubbling lid of the rapidfire but groove-ready rhythm section. Things are brought back down to a more assured swing pace, a sweetly open chugging riff and tumbling drum rolls the finishing touches on a very short (61 seconds, to be exact) grindcore rollercoaster.
Right, time to get our bearings. Like the slovenly drunk hanging on to the outside brickwork for dear life, Order Is Weakened slows our perception of time, albeit in a sickening and nauseating manner. Plodding and lurching palm muted chugs bounce alongside sliding power chords, beefier and deeper Cattle Decapitation-esque growls. Offset even more by this uneven keel are intermittent lead guitar sweeps which are peppered both within the faster sections and the d-beat, punk-show ready breakdowns. The whole thing is unsettling, but in a disturbingly fun manner.
Curing PTSD One Dead Poacher At A Time makes no small remarks in the titular or lyrical fashion about their stance on animal welfare, obviously. Like the aforementioned ‘Decapitation, these are animal rights activists you don’t want to mess with. God save those poachers caught unaware by the technical, palm-muted spiderwork on the top string, reminiscent of classic Cannibal Corpse, juxtaposed against a heavily distorted fast hardcore feel from crossover bands of the same era, such as D.R.I. It’s easy to envision battle jackets alongside mohawks at a Treasonist gig with riffs like this. Pinging off the walls in a aerated mix of slamming chugs and classic death metal tremolo, these guys are gladly at peace within the full spectrum of heavy music.
Such is the seamless melding of punk rock and traditional metal aesthetics that this writer believes it difficult to disentangle the two. The Logic Is Where? demonstrates this symbiosis in a more overt yin-yang style, openly shifting between large sections of The Haunted‘s early death-thrash with d-beat breakdowns and punk chords so chumpy, you can carve them. A mix of skin-tight and comfortably bloated riffs, the rhythms shift in and out of this tempo salad with no sign of difficulty.
Leech Of Pity attacks virtue signalling and self-fulfilling prophecies of perceived victimhood with a truncheon, bludgeoning hard overhead with a swollen, crash-heavy drum intro, boiling quickly down from that state into harsh death-grind, the vocals a heady mix of shrill screeches and caustic hardcore barks, a-la Wormrot. Stop/start time signatures pinwheeling on a coin, cascade in between the aforementioned hardcore to death metal back-and-forth in a glorious 90-second mess of technical riff-vomit. It’s a calculated cacophony of precision and groove.
Rounding off this spectacular display of forceful brevity is the acerbic Victimization Culture, which at least makes an attempt to soften the blow with thick grooves that would brocore aficionados and Rotten Sound grindcore freaks bang their heads and thump into one another in unison. Snarling discernible barks and yells about victim mentality, minimum wage life and other social ills, the venomous lyrics are given one final fleck of spittle before they are silenced by a decently grooving outro riff.
Plenty of words to mark a relatively short LP. That’s because Treasonist have managed to say and abridge more of the extreme music scene in eight songs than others have capacity for in their entire careers. Highly recommended for grindheads, hardcore brothers-in-arms, punks and chin-stroking death metal intellectuals alike.
You can pick up your copy of Treasonists’ self-titled album HERE