Friday, April 12, 2013

ACxDC / Magnum Force / Sex Prisoner - Split (2013)

Split, To Live A Lie Records
March 19th, 2013


Genre: Grindcore/Powerviolence
Region: USA

So this might be the best thing I've heard so far this year by a long shot. It's not even close at this point and because I live under a rock it was made even more jaw dropping since, to me, it came out of nowhere. Three uncompromising grind/powerviolence bands contributing what is undeniably not only their best material thus far, but some of the most skull crushing -core packed into a ten minute slice of 10" wax that I've heard in recent memory.

I've had this on repeat every day since I discovered it, racking up a minimum of ten spins each time I place it on the turn table and it has not worn out it's appeal yet. To the point where it's gotten in the way of me checking out new records from Wormed, Defeated Sanity, Portal, Fell Voices, etc. This three way split is addictive in the most strict sense, each band dealing out barbarous, refined, and calculated assaults that will adhere themselves like a parasitic membrane to your skull.

The three pronged siege is headed up by ACxDC (aka Antichrist Demoncore) from L.A. who have been making waves unbeknownst to me with their two previous 7" EPs. Magnum Force follows them and apparently they've been working quiet hard prior to this split with multiple demos and EPs, and then we have Sex Prisoner who also have been quietly honing their shredding abilities for the past four years; both from Arizona.



Lets start with ACxDC. Wow. I need these guys and Magrudergrind to make a split. That's basically what this sounds like, that phenomenal 2009 self-titled record stripped of technicalities and boiled to three and a half minutes of purity. Fantastic catchy riffs with pacing that straddles regular hardcore and powerviolence with a truly biting tone (which the bassist shares to great effect), wretched vocals spewing some simple but effective and absolute words, and furious blasts. All this clashes with the blown-out production but I've become so accustom to it that it doesn't put a damper on shit; when I crank moments like the gallop in "Crux" it makes no difference. It's a series of severe and assiduous 30-50 second soil-scorchings, controlled chaos that is phenomenally catchy and gritty.

The chunk ACxDC have cut out of their repertoire and put on display here will linger with you. Every song has a spell-binding groove, it's embarrassing how good some of these are. The entirety of "Loathe" for example: the cacophonous blast opening, the bass solo, then the groove slightly altered comes staying just long enough. Right off the bat "Eye In The Sky" (a song revolving around the events of the truly awesome movie Casino) is like a savage beating, and then it grinds to a halt reminding me so much of Magrudergrind before spiraling into another excellent rhythm. "Crux" will catch everyone's attention if the opener didn't — that climax, lyrics and all, will hypnotize you with its inescapable heaviness:

"Savage Christians
Men of god
On a crusade
Swallowed by fog
Convert the world
By the almighty sword
Destroy all life
In the name of the lord
Live or die
You're still just a fucking pawn"

Original? Hell no, but within the context of the song holy shit is it great. I couldn't pick a favorite track as even now having heard their previous stuff, this steps up so much higher, but "Crux" (best lyrics) and "Worthless" I return to immediately upon finishing their portion of the record. The slams and rhythms here speak for themselves, burst-firing sonic contempt from every single second. You can buy their section of the split for a buck on bandcamp.



Magnum Force seem to have been at it for a while now but this is my first encounter, and the impression they left was nothing but pleasing. Whats fairly unique about the subject matter lyrically here is it's focused on gay rights, or more accurately the struggle and bullshit homosexuals have to go through. Clearly Magnum Force are passionate and sincere about this, the simple lyrics get right to the point and are obviously both personal and relateable for those who've gone through it. From "Boxed In":

"Why do you hate me?
Is it because of my sexual preference?
I refuse to change just to feel accepted.
I'll never go back in the closet.
It's been the death of me for far too long."

Simple and says it all, and it has a wicked slowdown at the end; driving you into the bloodied ground with a sledgehammer after a ruthless 30 second thrashing. Maybe this is just another indicator of my obliviousness but for all that the -core scene focuses on in terms of a humanitarian-progressivist bent the issue of gays and their plight is one I do not see that often come up in lyrical form. Again maybe there's a shit ton of bands who write about it and I'm very clueless, either way it's a bit refreshing.

None of that matters too much anyway if the music is horrid but thankfully Magnum Force drop three columns of slightly dissonant grind that form a single and secondary pillar of excellence structuring this split. While their contribution is smaller the quality remains, the production a bit dirtier than both their colleagues. Anguished screams permeate the tracks, driving home the anger within the words. Slower by a light incriment in some senses in terms of rhythms, however the blasting on the kit here may exceed either other group here (just listen to "Out of Time"). Their section provides a very slight breather from the two sandblasting sessions that box Magnum force in, powerful and no less groovy but a notch quieter in comparison.



And now we come to my favorite segment of this 10": Sex Prisoner. These guys look to be an unstoppable force in powerviolence. Just between their self-titled 7" and this you can hear enormous growth and a tightening out their style, applying it sickeningly well in the five songs they offered up here. Sex Prisoner are a little more than powerviolence and that is immediately clear. Obviously influenced by the old guard of Infest/Charles Bronson/SPAZZ they're also incorporating the best elements of the whole Entombed-chainsaw-crustcore sound, speeding that shit up while cut out all the horseshit in favor of pure, distilled quality.

They pack each song so full of excellence and yet I still feel my thirst unquenched no matter how many times I return, the battering is so brutal and I return again and again. Bathed in feedback, they're all equally absurdly catchy and brief but the shortest song on the whole split ("Crossfaded") is the one I'm captivated by. It's 20 seconds but it feels so fucking complete and definitive.

"Need release from the grind
Day to day, 9 to 5
Working class
Gotta cope
Cross faded"

The lyrics swing perfectly to the rhythm of those pulverizing riffs and blasts. What makes the words even more of a focus for me is that everyone in Sex Prisoner seems to contribute vocally while they still have one dedicated vocalist. So the mix in styles/inflections/tones is refreshing and certain words (like "gotta cope" or in the final track on "no sympathy") punctuate the noise, causing my attention to tighten a little more. I like the variety regardless of it all being coarse yelling, there's more life when I literally hear cracks and the spittle flying from their mouths as the roar about deception and frustration.

There's a particularly obliterating breakdown midway through "Whatever You Say" that is a neck snapper. Speaking of that there are a few moments where it's like if Hatebreed wasn't so loathefully 'bro-core" and faux-tough guy and didn't begin to stagnate by their second release; moments like in "I'm Proud of You" during the breakdown under "...SCORCHED TO A DUST - TRAPPED IN THE PAST...". They do it far better and do not linger, without the phony posturing. Actually their 7" is far similar to that direction than the rest of the split, more simple and bouncy.

And yeah if you're wondering I do enjoy some of Hatebreed's material. Kvlt cred = -500, 000 and falling.

I only want these three bands to make splits together from now on. I'm pretty sure you're out of luck if you want to own a physical copy of this at this point, though its entirely possibly that due to demand a second pressing will be announced at some point. Check out To Live A Lie Records for any information on that, go to their bandcamps, and if you're lucky check your favorite record distro to see if they have one of the 600 copies pressed; you can get it on iTunes and Amazon if you're desperate.

Either way there is absolutely no reason a fan of fast and heavy shit should pass on this. I'm gonna be a douche and say this is closing in on potentially "essential" much like the Adversarial/Antediluvian split last year. And similarly it may end up at the very top of my year end list.

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6 comments:

  1. Sweet review, dig into more pxv stuff! BrucexCampbell is a band not to sleep on.

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    1. Thanks sir, I'll get on that asap.

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  2. hey can you tell me where you got those lyrics, great review by the way!

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    1. Originally they were on their bandcamp page but I pulled those off of a lyrics site. I can't find the link at the moment so perhaps they were removed.

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    2. Oh and the Sex Prisoner/Magnum Force lyrics come with the 10".

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    3. oh ok thank you, i bought the ACxDC ,Sex Prisoner and Magnum Force split on itunes and it did not include the lyrics and I have been struggling to find them anywhere online.

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