Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Grinder - Nothing is Sacred (1991)

Once again, Germans Grinder are responsible for an album that looks nothing like it sounds, and while I can admire the choice in cover art and artists, it only contributes to the disenchantment when I am faced with the band's actual musical content. One might expect maniacal, corpse hacking death metal or psychotic, swamp stalking thrash from the looks of Nothing is Sacred, but the reveal is sadly something else entirely: a drag, stubborn and unimpressive in every category, and by comparison it makes even its average elder siblings shine. The band had somehow culled enough interest to carry them onto the ailing Noise Records roster of the 90s, but this incline in visibility was married to a decline in quality.

The "Drifting for 99 Seconds" intro paints acoustic guitars and subtle synth atmosphere into what might be the perfect setup for something grand, but all potential and momentum is lost when the "Hymn for the Isolated", a boring Sacred Reich-a-like with a big bass tone and no decent riffs anywhere to be found. Adrian Hahn had always sounded like Phil Rind a little, but here it's just too close, and the rappy, hardcore shouting of the backing vox in the verse only adds to the puerile street decay. Other tracks like "The Spirit of Violence" and "Superior Being" offer slightly more interesting guitars, but the same sort of vocals, melodic and bludgeoning along the music like a 300 pound strongman trying to pick flowers on his day off. Where the album diverts from this formula, like the snarky Ozzy-like spin on the vocals of the more doomed "None of the Brighter Days", the contents don't get much better (though there is a nice lead sequence tucked in there). "Pavement Tango" is completely terrible, basically a bad bouncy rock song with...Sacred Reich vocals...the worst song in all this band's career.

There are no saving graces here. Even the more straight up speed/thrash fare like "NME" is pretty weak, and I really question how this wound up on a label which at some point had an immense knack for reaping talent. The 1st EP had a few worthwhile trips into acceptable writing, but they seem to have been exhausted there. The curious qualities of Dead End are abandoned, and the album is ultimately a sodden mire from which anyone would desire being hacked up with a hatchet to escape. It bears a similar value to another 1991 flop, Cyclone Temple's I Hate Therefor I Am, only at least here there were no real expectations of anything above average.

Verdict: Fail [3.75/10] (daddy's mistreatin' children)

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