First, there was “digital hardcore” to push the envelope of musical extremity to the most unfathomable reaches. It was only a matter time before “digital grindcore” would erupt to push said reaches even further, and that time has arrived in the Berzerker’s eponymous debut album. Taking grindcore’s tenets of flayed-alive Brit-core riffs, a smorgasbord of phlegm-clearing vocal gesticulations, and general blastbeaten mania as their foundation, the Berzerker make the din sizably digital by tossing Atari Teenage Riot/EC8OR-esque quadruple-bass hits (i.e., turn your low end way-fuckin’-down) and schizophrenic jungle beats into their already blasted furnace — if Squarepusher is considered “drill n’ bass,” then the Berzerker would definitely be “jackhammer n’ bass,” or at least “dentist-drill n’ bass.” Although 250 mph “rhythms” on a drum machine have been occasionally utilized in the death-metal and grindcore undergrounds (highest-profile example: Mortician until late), the Berzerker’s programmed whirlwinds take on a more-sinister, post-apocalyptic vibe when combined with the aforementioned digitized elements, notwithstanding all the random EQ-fucking-with the four-piece seems fond of. However, for as headache-inducing (yet curiously fun) as the Berzerker may sound, oddly enough there exists some relatively tranquil synth passages on the album, but when you take its song titles into consideration (“Burnt,” “Mono Grind,” “Massacre,” “Cannibal Rights,” “Chronological Order of Putrefaction,” and perhaps the most tell-tale of them all, “Pain”), you kinda get the point that this isn’t a soundtrack to get in touch with your inner self to. Nonetheless, a highly rewarding exercise in aesthetics that might not welcome repeated listens as much as it does glazed appreciation of mind-fucked adventure.
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