Brutal goregrind, without much thought put into it, is cast into a sea of obscurity and mediocrity. Despite putting on masques of ridiculousness, depravity, perversion, or even downright stupidity, bands can still make entertaining, tenacious music. Bands like Spasm, 5 Stabbed 4 Corpses, and Brutal Sphincter, are fantastical examples of how creative Brutal Goregrind can be, with the very former producing one of my favorite albums of 2018. Then there are bands like Teratocarcinomas that provide a mouthful of lyrics and not much else. Hailing from Tupelo, Mississippi, ‘Teratocarcinomas’ latest release is their 2nd full length Slow Descent into Homicidal Bliss, at a length of about 22 minutes. Is it worth your time? To an extent, it very well could be.
The opening of the album is as predictable as possible, with a clip sampled from a B-Horror movie. And while the clip is taken from a movie (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) that at first glance is just mindless violence, but actually entertains the mind with bizarre discussion of demented desire, the music that follows is anything but. The majority of the five tracks included start with a sample that drags for entirely too long, bloating the run time, and trapping me in an unsavory obligation to listen start to slow finish. One sample is so overtly jarring, I was visibly taken aback by its absurdity: a choir chorus. There’s not even anything disturbing or eerie about it, making me believe it was ripped solely for the purpose of juxta-positioning the music to make it seem more brutal.
The music itself is also a slog and a test to human endurance. It’s typically burdensome for a brutal goregrind band to create pieces lasting longer than two to three minutes, at least without repeating themselves so much so it doesn’t feel lazy. Teratocarcinomas however blows their own song lengths up to lasting upwards of six and a half minutes. And to make matters worse, this album falls into the pitfall of having a song seemingly end, only to trudge forward with a slow, albeit crushing, breakdown, much like nodding off in the middle of a lecture, only for the presenter to snap irritably for your sole attention. The worst thing any piece of media can be is boring, mediocre, uninspired, uninteresting, or all of the above. When an album is great, it could be seventy minutes, and still pass by you in a flash. A less than desirable album such as this one, makes you count every fraction of a second that passes by, wishing you were doing something else.
But, why? Why is this album so derelict and disposable? Well, for starters, it’s as slow as the ocean is blue. Taking more of a cue from slam rather than goregrind, this album attempts to bulldoze as an instrument of mass mutilation, failing, and instead acting as razor that nicks me when I shave. When the samples aren’t devouring some increments of this albums run time, it’s the slammy breakdowns that march on and on and on, failing to inspire a note of brutality, due to their indiscernibility and lack of unique sound. I’m not condemning all breakdowns, as with precision, correct tone, and actual purpose, they can be performed quite well, but the sad fact is that this album fails to conjure the slightest headbang out of me, at least one that isn’t me falling over due to exhaustion. The only notable instance on this album are the instruments, but not for the greatest reason.
Let me get one thing clear, this album is fucking noisy. While some bands (t. deathcore) resort to the default of over producing the hell out of their album, Teratocarcinomas is the antithesis, offering more raw and untapped sound. For some, that might be desirable, for people that love that old-school Carcass sound, and adore the amateur, dirty and grunge filled sound. However, there comes a point where less is more. In Slow Descent into Homicidal Bliss the volume is cranked so high that even on a lower volume, it feels as if my speakers will blow out. The instruments sound’s however, are peculiar enough, to a point I admire them in a way. The drums are the ever so despised ‘trash can snares’ ala ‘LDOH’, or more appropriately the slower ‘SxRxOxMx’. There’s an amateur technicality to the drums courtesy of Blake, and are easily the best part of the album. As for all of the other instruments, all by Zane, they certainly are enjoyable. The guitars, while having no memorable riffs or lines, have a razor sharp and jagged timbre to them, which complement the style of music nicely. The bass is astonishingly audible, sharing the same sharp timbre of the guitars. As for the vocals, they are incredibly diverse. Any two bit slam band would go the simple route of offering the droning gurgle, but this album goes the extra mile and is bursting with slimy, toxic bubbles of brutality, pig squeals from a bisected piglet, and distorted and wet snorts and snarls. Keeping with the raw production, the band keeps it more traditional and doesn’t pitch shift any vocals, at least none that I can tell. So for all the previous faults in the music’s structure, it’s slightly made up for with its sound.
Slow Descent into Homicidal Bliss isn’t the worst, not by a long shot, however it leaves much to be desired. It should be noted that this band seems to solely doing this purely for entertainment, as they do not charge for any of their music, something I find very admirable. So for a free digital release, it might not be that bad to pick this up and give it a listen. As for me… well I’ll stick with S.C.A.T. for my low tier brutal goregrind, thanks.