• Cripple Bastards - Nero In Metastasi

    Released by: Relapse Records
    Released on: 2/18/14
    Purchase from Amazon

    Italy is known for many wonderful things, from great food, to gorgeous art, to beautiful, non-crippled people. That's not to say that Italy doesn't have its share of cripples, 'cause I'm sure they do. Enter the most famous crippled bastards since Hephaestus, CRIPPLE BASTARDS! I would say they're Italy's most famous grindcore band, but, I only know them and Enzo and the Meatball Grinders, so...(is that racist?). Formed in 1988, Cripple Bastards have released dozens of splits, cassettes, and compilation appearances along with five full lengths. Well, the boys are back with their sixth, Nero In Metastasi, courtesy of Relapse Records.

    As the album title (Black Metastasis) would tell you, this album is all about cancer. Grim subject, for sure, but if you don't speak Italian, no worries, you can picture it being about puppies chasing balloons. I'm not one for lyrics, really, so I'm going to skip it and get into the music. Grindcore is fast and furious, and Cripple Bastards play it with a speed and intensity that few can match. Nero In Metastasi is no exception, and it's tight and brutal like one's first time having prison sex. Unless you're on top, then it could be every time if you play your cards right.

    Nero In Metastasi is really excellent grind spiced up with metal riffing and breakdowns. It's the best of both worlds, here, as the grind and metal bits are woven together perfectly instead of being mashed and blurred in some haphazard way. There are a handful of typical, sub one minute (some sub twenty seconds) blasts of pure grinding fury here, along with longer tracks that intersperse grinding bits into strong, well played metal tracks. The opener, "Malato Terminale" (Terminally Sick), offers up a typical, chugging, plodding metal intro before stomping our dicks in the dirt with intense blasts of grind. Giulio and the boys bring it back around with a heavy ending and the grind sandwich is complete. This track is very indicative of the rest of the album. For fun, they switch it up on "Passi Falsi" (False Steps) by placing a slow, heavy breakdown with spoken vocals in the middle of the onslaught. This breakdown is a sample of the strangest part of the album, "Splendore e Tenebra" (Splendor and Darkness). Clocking in at nine minutes, "Splendore" is slow, almost traditional heavy metal. The spoken vocals make a return here, with some classic rough shouts tossed in from time to time as well. The pace picks up after a few minutes and the track gets very Bathory sounding (well, to me, anyway). After some nice mid paced metal, it slows back down and thickens up. Grinding blasts can be heard beyond the feedback and it gets very reminiscent of what you'd find on some Nikudorei albums. The track that's being looped is the closer, "Morti Asintomatiche" (Asymptomatic Deaths). Classic blink-and-you-miss-it grind.

    Nero In Metastasi may be a cleaner Cripple Bastards recording than you're used to, but fear not, because this album kicks ass. The flawless interaction of metal and grind is made more apparent by the clarity. Subtle riffs that would normally be obscured by mud and fuzz get to shine and remind you why you listen to extreme music in the first place. Buy this album and try not to choke on your chicken parm while you're stomping around like Caesar in Gaul.