by Ray Henry (mouthforwar.net)
The country of France is not normally one that would come to mind when thinking about grind-core. At least, for me it’s not. Hell, the only thing musically that I would associate with the land of wine and cheeses would be some untraditional black metal. The quartet of grinding miscreants in Blockheads, having slogged away at their craft for over 20 years in relative obscurity (at least to these ears), however are ready to change that misconception with their first release through Relapse Records — which can only mean further exposure for future albums.
This World is Dead, the band’s fifth studio full-length, hurtles through 25 tracks in just under forty minutes time with some seriously bruising, blasting and no-nonsense grind-core. That’s certainly a fuck-ton of grinding mayhem to sit through comfortably, but thankfully these guys mix all sorts of influences — Napalm Death, Phobia, Rotten Sound, etc. — into such a fury that it’ll be over before you even realize you’ve just been beaten to a pulp in record time. The production of this album only adds to the appeal of this album giving a surge of power to the driving, distorted guitars while vocalist Xav shreds his vocal chords just for you and drummer Nico impresses thoroughly throughout.
“Already Slaves” erupts out of the gate with blinding drums, nasty guitars and vicious barks and growls. The quick track sets the tone more than appropriately as the guys rarely let up off the accelerator of this grind machine aimed squarely at your cranium. Rarely making their way past 1:30 time in terms of song length (most are less than a minute), Blockheads are keen to change things up here and there, especially ending with the seven minute album closer, but more on that later. “Born Among Bastards” has a nice dual vocal attack as the guys throw everything into their grinding wood-chipper of death and “Final Arise” is one hell of a track in a similar vein. “Awaken” has a bit of a groove permeating the grind. The title track is a miasma of blasting mayhem as the absolutely frenzied “All These Dreams…” will leave a lasting impression.
It’s hard to call out any other songs that stand out, as they’re all pretty goddamned good in their own right. I love the opening salvo of drums on “Be A Thorn to Power,” the build up of “To The Dogs,” and head-banging rhythm of “Crisis is Killing the Weak” before all hell breaks loose. For those of you afflicted with self-diagnosed ADHD, may I offer the 16 seconds of vitriol in “Sell Your Flesh.” Let’s not forget about the absolutely crushing “Pro-Lifers” as it chugs along as a bit of a slower clip than the rest of the release. And now for the album closer, but only after you’ve been bombarded by repeated eruptions of grinding malevolence. “Trail of the Dead” is obviously the longest song on the album, but it’s not just all filler. The song packs a good deal of variety, a solid ebb and flow, as well as a more dynamic structure. It not only wraps up the album nicely, but also let’s you know that these guys really know how to write some kickass music and perform it more than admirably.
This World is Dead could very well be the album that rockets these guys across the globe. Being on a major label will finally make the past 20 years worth it. At least, for thirsty ears like mine who haven’t even heard of these guys until now. Blockheads and their no-frills grind-core are exactly what you need right now. This very second.