WILD ZOMBIE BLAST GUIDE, Wild Zombie Blast Guide (2012, self-released)
This is some serious Rob Zombie meets HP Lovecraft shit right here. We’ve seen a lot of skulls wrapped up in the coils of snakes, but I’m not sure if we’ve seen any tentacled skulls before, and this quality of this illustration is quite high to boot. Of course, on a self-titled album by a band called Wild Zombie Blast Guide (which is a band full of dudes actually made up to look like zombies) you’d expect a cover that was at least vaguely zombie-like, and at the very least you’d expect to see a shotgun blast hole in the forehead, but if this is how the zombie band sells out its core principle, with a gloriously goofy big dumb skull, then who am I to complain?
Wild Zombie Blast Guide don’t appear in Metal Archives, which is usually a sign of a crappy metalcore band, but there’s really very little to distinguish this band from Soilwork, and I’m not even talking about late-period Soilwork, but their more vibrant early work. Certainly, this album isn’t on par with The Chainheart Machine or even Steelbath Suicide, but it’s of a piece with the better clones that arrived in the wake of those first two or three awesome albums by Helsinborg’s second-finest (Darkane still rules the roost!) It’s true, Wild Zombie Blast Guide suffers from generic vocals and lacks a distinct identity, but they do this sort of upbeat melodic death metal quite well, and while their lyrics are surely stupid, they’re not unavoidably intelligible, so it’s all good on that front. I really expected nothing but misery from this release but I’ll be damned if this ridiculous joke band isn’t secretly alright.
— Friar Johnsen
JESUS AIN’T IN POLAND, Freheit Macht Frei (2012, Grindpromotion)
While inspecting the cloven skull before him on the autopsy table, the forensic pathologist said aloud, to no one but the imaginary medical procedural television director in his head, “This is without a doubt the worst sinus infection I have ever seen. No amount of pseudoephedrine was gonna clear this guy up. Hell of a way to go, if you ask me.” “Slain by snot,” he imagined the weary but wry protagonist answering, because even in his fantasies, the doctor was just a part of the supporting cast.
Maybe I’m going soft, or maybe I’ve just been beaten into submission by sheer numbers, but I’m starting to maybe develop a taste for grind, after these many years in the service of The Skull, listening to disc after disc of blasty Napalm Death worship. At the very least, it’s becoming less offputting to me, although I’m not sure I could cogently explain what makes one grind disc better than the next, except that the good ones tend not to sound like they were recorded on a boombox that crusty anarchists reclaimed from the dump. Jesus Ain’t In Poland is an incredibly stupid name, but they seem to have their shit together and their death-inflected grind mostly works for me. Their slower passages groove and afford the band the space to develop their riffs, and while their blasty bits are really not distinguishable from any other band working this style, they at least aren’t unlistenably obnoxious. Given the stylistic constraints of grind, I’m not sure it’s even possibly to impress with originality, and Jesus Ain’t In Poland certainly aren’t doing anything you haven’t heard before, but if you like grind (and aren’t in it for the shock value alone) then you’ll probably dig them.
— Friar Johnsen