Cripple Bastards – Nero in Metastasi (Relapse Records)

Ultra-compressed, bite-sized parcels of grindy goodness.
Release Date: 
18 Feb 2014 (All day)

Well, this is a timely one. With Italian grindcore legends Cripple Bastards touring Australia and taking part in this continent’s iteration of the Obscene Extreme Festival, this album couldn’t have been released at a better time for us Antipodeans.

Despite being around since 1988 and releasing around 20 EPs and splits, I’d not previously warmed to Cripple Bastards. Too many of their releases seemed crude and overly rushed to me (which is perhaps ironic, given that ‘crude and rushed’ is almost a blueprint for grindcore itself). But Nero In Metastasi has completely won me over. These elder statesmen of grind have created an absolute beast of an album.

Cripple Bastards have always leaned towards the hardcore side of grindcore, and Nero In Metastasi remains true to this heritage. Songs bully forward at an angry pace, punctuated by the furious lyrical gristlings (in Italian, no less, which is a pleasant change from some of the terrible ESL lyrics to be found in the international brutal community). The production, courtesy of Fredrik Nordström (Arch Enemy, At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity), brings a thick, warm, punchy sound that compliments the band perfectly.

While there are any number of comparisons to be made between Cripple Bastards and other longstanding grind acts (they’ve been named ‘the Euro version of Phobia’, and at times there are affinities with Extreme Noise Terror, Napalm Death and co.), what is astonishing is how well they manage to balance a sense of urgent immediacy with some seriously ingenious progression in their songwriting. In a genre that all too often falls prey to undifferentiated monodimensional noise, Nero In Metastasi is both hectic and intelligently composed. Songs grind and groove, stop and drop on a dime, and follow threads and themes through to clever conclusions, all in ultra-compressed, bite-sized parcels of grindy goodness.

If you’re a grindhead, you just gotta get this.