Well, here’s that compilation of Anal Cunt’s early releases and rarities that you’ve all been waiting for, just in time for the holidays…
Tragically, the world’s most intentionally abrasive band came to a screeching halt a few months back after its founder and sole permanent member Seth Putnam succumbed to forty-three years of self-inflicted abuse. Anal Cunt was as well-known for their mocking song titles, their horrible / hilarious “lyrical” content and their equal-opportunity-offensive approach than they were for their “music,” and so with the passing of Putnam, the world lost something not unlike an icon – the underground’s poster-boy for middle-finger-raised purposefully-unlistenable whatever-the-hell-you-call-this-it-isn’t-really-music-(or-is-it?) nerve-splitting cacophony, as well as its biggest purveyor of tongue-in-cheek “fuck you if you don’t like it” humor. And be it for better or worse, without Seth Putnam, the underground will never be quite the same.
But before Seth left us, after dropping the strangely entertaining cock-rock-grind of Fuckin’ A and finishing another more “traditional” AC record, he started work on this, The Old Testament, a compilation of the band’s earliest recordings. Here’s some EPs, demos, some live stuff, some outtakes; just a veritable cornucopia of screeching and blasting structure-less anti-music in one nice and neat package for your “listening pleasure.” If you can make it through all of The Old Testament in one sitting, you’re a stronger or deafer man than I, and I admit that, while I can’t say I enjoy this earliest era of Anal Cunt, per se, I find both it and the band’s later, more “refined” offerings both ridiculously fascinating and fascinatingly ridiculous.
But make no mistake, though I may favor it in a way, one thing remains certain: A large part of this is almost impossibly awful. Although the band did improve over time, the earliest recordings here are terrible, completely unlistenable, and the later, better efforts are still just short bursts of noise-grind with the occasional distinctive riff or section – “better” is a relative term, keep in mind. Moments step out to hint at sense in the senselessness, but then they’re gone and it’s back to the swirling blasts of chaos. At best, listening to The Old Testament is an endurance test, a hazing ritual, a means to send straggling party-goers on their way or to exact sonic revenge upon your parents or your neighbors. At its most basic, devoid of qualitative criticism, it is what it truly is: one-stop shopping for the noisiest recordings ever put to tape by what is quite possibly the least-musical band of all time.
So contained within these twenty-six tracks are these entire releases: the 1st Demo; the 47 Song Demo; all 12 minutes of the 5,643 Song EP (that’s an average of .12 seconds per song, if you’re wondering); the 13-minute 88 Song EP; the AC sides of splits with the Meat Shits, Psycho and Seven Minutes Of Nausea, plus compilation appearances from Apocalyptic Convulsions and The Masters Of Noise; two live recordings from Germany and one from Indiana; both sides of the especially god-awful Unplugged EP; and six scattered songs, including one called “Boy George” that consists only of one minute of trudging metallic riffing beneath Putnam screaming the titular singer’s name. And this, my friends, is the early history of Anal Cunt – the material that set them on the path to what small level of infamy they rightfully earned. This is pure noise atop the basic tenets of grindcore, the sound of free-form madness, of spazzed-out blast-beat laden squealing and screaming. Sometimes riffs emerge; sometimes patterns come together; sometimes the band dives into a country and western two-step or destroys the signature riff from “Superfreak”; but more often, none of that happens and what sonic disorder does come barreling forth from Putnam and friends is just directionless ear-damaging violence for the sake of the same.
Anal Cunt was always a joke, but I’ve often wondered this: Was the joke on the rest of the world for not understanding the joke, or was the joke really on those who thought they were in on the joke? Or was it both. Or was it neither. And then again, in the end, no one cares, really – not even Seth Putnam himself, I’d bet, when he was still around to care at all – and far be it from me to dissect or deconstruct or defend Anal Cunt after all these years. I do know this: The Old Testament is somewhere between the most terrible and the most honest and free music ever recorded; it’s devoid of anything approaching commercial appeal, concession to outside influence or rational thought. It’s arguably the worst thing you’ve ever heard, and that is exactly what it was intended to be.