Total Fucking Destruction – Hater Review

originally written by Chris McDonald

Some bands take a little while to reveal their charm. In the case of Total Fucking Destruction, the long-running side project of Brutal Truth drummer Rich Hoak, I found their style totally obnoxious at first and was dreading covering this album when I did my initial pre-review investigations of their music. And with a genre like grindcore, you don’t typically expect numerous weeks and dozens of listens to get the damn point of what you’re hearing.

But I have to hand it to TFD, because after slogging through a couple of bewildered spins, I’ve become quite enamored with what Hater has to offer. An absurd, often head-spinning mix of grind, punk, and other fast styles, the sheer amount of finely tuned details and bizarre songwriting touches packed into Hater’s 27-minute running time is a feat in itself, but the real achievement of this album is how ultimately catchy and entertaining the final product is. The playing is sloppy, the production is imperfect, and much of this material resides purely in the realm of novelty, but that doesn’t change the fact that Total Fucking Destruction eclipses a lot of their more “serious” peers when it comes to writing distinctive and memorable grind.

Actually, calling this grind is a bit of a misnomer. Sure, the tempos are high, the songs are short and blast beats abound, but TFD’s sound is too strange and off-kilter to be compared to most of the bands known as grindcore today. The sarcastic and light-hearted tone of Stormtroopers of Death is an obvious influence, particularly in some of the incredibly infectious, militantly-delivered choruses that occasionally emerge from the bedlam (“Repeat Repeatedly,” “Everything You Need But Nothing You Want”). But the bag of tricks from which the band pulls in terms of riffs and vocals is much more varied and often quite unpredictable. Some tracks take a more aggressive, menacing tone, with dark tremolo riffs and blasting drums, while others conjure a bouncier and more upbeat mood with manic shouting vocals and groovy mid-paced tempos. Then there are songs like the three-part “Attack of the Supervirus” (with all three parts constituting about a minute of playing time) that just sound like ridiculous bursts of noise somehow streamlined into the semblance of a coherent micro-composition. There are times when the vocal antics of Hoak can be a little irritating, and I wouldn’t have minded some more extreme variations in the vox department, but its rarely more of a mild annoyance (mainly because the songs usually end before they have a chance to get distracting).

With so many different elements and influences combined with the intense speed and short track lengths, it can be easy for this record to pass right by you on the first couple of listens. But once you digest it a bit, the extreme care that obviously went into composing this music begins to reveal itself, and Hater starts to sink its claws in. The kind of grind purveyed by Total Fucking Destruction is certainly not for everyone; those with an aversion to metal with a sense of humor will likely be put off by some of this album’s “cuter” moments, and those looking for a devastatingly brutal speedfest will find this material too light and choppy. But for anyone interested in an unusual and entertaining take on the tried-and-true grindcore formula,Hater is a fun ride indeed.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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