VISE MASSACRE, Expendable Humans (2012, self-released)
It was just a few short years ago that the kid who would go on to be the drummer of Vise Massacre sat there in art class, despondent in front of a lump of clay. Then the lightbulb went on — he swiftly fashioned the grimmest clay head the teacher had ever seen. Raiding the teacher’s desk, lunchbox and supply cabinet in an inspired frenzy, he tossed together an unholy assemblage of clay, oatmeal, Chicklets gum and covered the mess in sticky white paint. Behold!!!
A bunch of hootin’ and hollerin’ happenin’ on this 15-song album from New York City’s Vise Massacre. Not sure which borough they hail from, but I’m guessing Brooklyn. And if I had to put money on an even more exact location, I’d go with…um…let’s go with Williamsburg. So, Expendable Humans looks like punk/death/grind/crust on the surface, and that’s the basic ballpark, but it’s much less noisy and far cleaner than I imagined it would be going in. Imagine a well-recorded, modern, streamlined Amebix re-recording the Monolith album, with Napalm Death’s Danny Herrera on drums and a vocalist who took the style of Believer’s Kurt Bachman (in the Sanity Obscure era) and intensified it by a thousand. There you have Vise Massacre. There’s a technical element to some of this that makes it stand out from the legions of other bands aligning themselves with NYC crust/grind/death/punk, as heard in the precision-controlled tumult of “Eyes of Fire.” The brief English Dogs-ish guitar breaks in “Hail to the Wicked” are pretty cool too. There are some good riffs scattered throughout, and it manages to keep the interest most of the way through, but Expendable Humans wears out its welcome near the end. And the vocals become tiresome by the fifth song or so, but at least Vise Massacre aren’t as typical as their name, album title and imagery promises. That’s something.
— Friar Wagner