Genre: Death Industrial / Power Electronics
01 Pentagon takes network offline
02 Mpack vs Storm
03 brute force
04 fucking douchebag
07 malicious Iframe
08 undetectable virtual machine
This debut full-length CD of ‘network malfeasance-themed power electronics’ from Canada’s Griefer refuses to take any hostages from the very outset and contains many PE crowd-pleasing ingredients – grinding electronics, machine-like pulses, feedback, junk percussion and heavily distorted vocals (to the point of unintelligibility), a combination which is almost certainly guaranteed to send you into sensory overload and meltdown. The brutality is leavened however with a realisation that you don’t have to sound like you have your head stuck in a cement mixer in order to vent effective bile and venom at the world.
This CD positively seethes with anger and energy, and packs a punch every bit as powerful as a couple megatons of TNT. Griefer use just about every power electronics and industrial weapon in the catalogue, like crunches, grinds, scrapes, bleeps, clangs, thuds, thick blankets of harsh noise, metal things being hit with other metal things, and even harsh ambient passages in places, but refreshingly everything is tempered and seasoned with an innate sense of pacing and an intuitive knowledge that to be rendered more effective noises, however harsh and grating, must be allowed room and space to express themselves. Rather than blistering solid wall ear-piercing noise for the sake of it, sounds and sandpaper textures are built up in successive layers, ebbing, flowing and receding, some falling over each other in a battle for supremacy, others just content to provide a scaffolding and framework on which other sounds can hang themselves, and yet others falling by the wayside. The sound is still space-filling without being totally overwhelming and it still allows all elements to have their allotted time in the spotlight. Moreover, there’s a certain ‘warmth’ and ‘ambience’ that lead me to guess that this was recorded ‘live’ (in the sense of being recorded in one take outside of a studio) which further enhances the feeling of space – at some points there were hints that the musicians were all in different places, lending a certain bizarre 3D-ness to the recording.
Power electronics usually relies on crushing heavyweight noise to get its point across, however this offering is a change of pace, shying away from suffocating the listener with swathes of pure grind and feedback, instead Griefer construct their songs with some intelligence and craft, inevitably giving us something more to get to grips with. I’m not saying that this is original or even anything new – it’s certainly not going to set the world ablaze – but what I am saying is that this outfit have at least tried to approach this from a new angle. The usual trusty genres tropes are there in enough quantities to satisfy devotees of PE but there is also a sprinkling of some worthwhile ideas that most definitely help to bring it up a notch.