Atara / Miserable Failure - Hang Them (Kaotoxin Records)

French grindcore with a difference.
Release Date: 
12 Aug 2014 (All day)

This split from French grindcore bands Atara and Miserable Failure is great. Simply great. If split releases are generally of this quality, there is no doubt as to the health and validity of the split album as an art form. Both bands are difficult to categorise simply as grindcore, thought that is undoubtedly the template from which everything else flows. Listeners will also hear punk, hardcore and black metal in particular, a considerable groove element, samples from documentaries and films, and even in one song some hip hop beats!

Atara provide multiple anthems for the people who wake up on the wrong side of capitalism every day. Well, anthems is a bit generous. More like bloody spurts of rage and fury. Miserable Failure are just as political, but also incorporate humour to a greater degree, and more black metal. Both bands wear their influences on their sleeves, which would include bands like Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, Disrupt, Discharge, Amebix, early Carcass, Mayhem, and so on. 

First song Pedro begins with what sounds like corny 1950s American propaganda, blathering on about new machines to make more goods, more jobs, before launching into full out blasting grindcore. The drumming consists of blisteringly fast blast beats, ala Pounded Into Dust by Cannibal Corpse. Like with Napalm Death, Atara may have a brilliant critique of dictatorships and corrupt authoritarian ‘democracies.’ However, unless you have a lyric sheet at hand, its unlikely you will understand every word vocalist Fred Palard is saying, even though he sings in English. The same is true for Miserable Failure, though their vocalist, Bleu, is a little more comprehensible.

Hang Them is not just the name of the album, and a sentiment directed towards politicians. It is also the second song on the first half of the Atara side of the split, and the name of one of Miserable Failure’s songs.With both songs, you will find yourself shouting HANG THEM! HANG THEM! at volumes loud enough to attract the attention of the secret police of any country. We get Necrobutcher from Mayhem’s ‘Fuck you!’ from Sam Dunn’s first metal documentary sampled in Crevez tous, and on Obituaries Samuel L Jackson’s infamous Ezekiel speech from the classic film Pulp Fiction. The last fifteen seconds of the latter has hip hop beats, piano, and what sounds like a sample from a monster film. Miserable Failure more than match Anaal Nathrakh for sheer extremity and nail your fingers to the wall insanity. 
The whole album goes by at blitzkrieg speed, only really slowing down at all on the very last song, May you all be Cursed Forever, which just barely reaches mid-pace and is reminiscent of Celtic Frost. The album finishes with an anti-European Union rant from a seemingly British politician, warning that the people will be coming to hang them and will be right to do it.    

Atara and Miserable Failure are bands with distinct identities, yet share certain similarities, which makes a split release a good decision to express their talents, as one compliments the other nicely. Guitars crunch, bass stomps and shudders, vocals are savage, and the drumming is so completely over the top it is almost ludicrous. And more than anything else, its just good fun and puts a smile on your face. Highly recommended.