GODAWFULNOISE, No Escape (2011, self-released)

The skull:
Godawfulnoise hail from the urban dystopia of Glendale, Arizona, and its to their credit that they’re making a direct statement on their hometown with their cover art. I always assumed that getting out of Arizona was an easy and natural thing to do, but maybe I’m mistaken. I don’t know who invented this black, white, and stenciled motif, but I assume they sit at the head of some sinister grind cabal that enforces the norms of the genre, as pretty much every underground band dresses their releases this way. Usually the look is quite dour, but Godawfulnoise leaven the scene greatly with their widely grinning Big Dumb Skull, who is just beaming positivity, and that despite having a pentagram chiselled into this forehead. It’s a nice/ridiculous touch that the skull is actually a pencil or charcoal sketch, and not a photo, flying in the face of standard practice. The Council of Grind is no doubt displeased. Maybe I can get a member of The Council (of the Elders of the Skull, aka, the one true Council) to ask about it at the next intramural Council Volleyball picnic.

The music:
With a cover like this, you know you’re in for some crusty grind, and Godawfulnoise deliver according to expectations. Actually, there’s more grind than crust, as Godawfulnoise crib about 95% of their sound from Napalm Death, but I’m sure there’s some Discharge somewhere in their collections. While I was recently impressed with the grind of Jesus Ain’t In Poland, Godawfulnoise are utterly unnecessary, offering absolutely nothing that you’re not already getting from Napalm Death, and if you don’t like Napalm Death, you’re definitely not going to like this band. If you’re the sort of person who’s watching blastbeats on the fourth stage at Maryland Death Fest at 11:00am, then by all means, track down this EP (10 songs, 13 minutes) but otherwise, steer clear.
— Friar Johnsen


CAN OF WORMS, Can of Worms  (2011, self-released EP)

The skull:
What is this mess? Maybe if you stare at the cover just right, not too intensely nor too lazily, you’ll see the image of a can of worms appear, or perhaps an actual depiction of a tricky situation which requires much effort to resolve. Like one of those random dot autostereograms. Yet I keep staring and all I see is an ugly, skinny, indistinct skull hovering through what appears to be Birmingham. Or maybe it’s Detroit.

The music:
French death/thrash, according to Metal Archives. And it’s weird, the last album I voluntarily listened to was Sepultura’s Arise, and then this band comes crashing into my transom with the exact same intent. And the skill level is nearly as high, but, no dice…Sepultura did it first and did it better. Memorability and song writing acumen are lagging far behind prime Sepultura as well. Broken record time: it’s been done before, in many different derivations. Even if Can of Worms are extremely good at what they’re doing, and I’ll admit that they are, there’s nothing here you can’t live without. Back to Arise it is then.
— Friar Wagner