Powerviolence is possibly the worst name for a genre with generally good-to-great music. It’s just a reference point like any other genre name, but still- every time the syllables cross these eyes, visions of meatheads listening to Primer 55 or Powerman 5000 or some shit while sitting in their Ford F-350 with the suspension lifted and those stupid ‘dualies’ talking about how books are for assholes always pop into my juvenile brain. Did we really have to label a punk offshoot with a tag that’s custom-made for nerd-punching?
Anyhoo, LA quintet Antichrist Demoncore have a self-titled debut on the way nearly eleven years into their career, and it’s dipped in all of the goodness that powerviolence has to offer, while including the diversity that a strict genre record would individually lack. Powerviolence tends to be a hodge-podge by nature, but ACxDC does things a little differently by maintaining focus from track to track. Opener “Destroy Create” sticks to the grind side of things, only switching to a more hardcore groove after a well-timed transition. After “Misled” kicks out the old-school thrash/grind one-two, “Paid in Full” straddles the lines of all three aforementioned genres without sounding like a directionless clusterfuck.
That’s what makes this album go down so smooth: It all sounds seamless without losing impact. The thumping bass line of a track like “Vegangelical” fits nicely alongside a thirty-six second gut-check like “Holmes” and somehow doesn’t come across as cheesy or gimmicky. It is truly all killer, no filler. There is also plenty of heady moral subject matter (“Filicide”) to go along with the more typical political fare of the genre (“Dead Cops”), so nothing comes across as a tirade so much as an expression, which is nice. Sometimes bands of this ilk have a tendency to cram things down one’s throat, and agreeable or not, it can be a bit bothersome to be told how to think. (Not that the twenty-minute run time would be overbearing in that department one way or the other.)
The production is rather crisp for the style. In typical fashion, nothing stands out instrumentally. Simple isn’t the right word, but believe me- you’ve heard these riffs before. No one’s going to be accusing anyone in ACxDC of destroying the genre through innovation. The riffs and beats are in loud and ugly service to the screeches and shouts of Sergio Amalfitano. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As mentioned, it works, and it works well.
Of course, there will be a limited appeal for this. Variety or no, powerviolence is rooted in the punkier side of hardcore and (the almighty) grind, so if the name lead you to believe you were picking up a black metal album, then sorry about your luck. And if you typed that particularly awful tag into a search engine hoping to find some kind of Pantera or Lamb of God clone, then you as well are shit out of it. Strongly recommended, regardless.