Some serious down ‘n’ dirty grindcore, New York’s Defeatist is comprised of former members of Kalibas and Anodyne. The band’s first release on Willowtip, Sharp Blade isn’t new material but a collection of the band’s tracks previously released on various 7″s and split EPs. Stylistically, Defeatist take their cues from the earliest of grinders, presented here with a hefty dash of crusty power-violence/hardcore, from the black-and-white punk-influenced cover to the scratchy and ragged production. Defeatist reminds of early Extreme Noise Terror (with stouter production), Dropdead (with stouter production), Vulgar Pigeons (with stouter production), Enslavement-era Napalm Death, Insect Warfare… This is ugly; this is harsh; this is raw; this is a damn good time.
Even though these tracks are compiled from various previous releases, Sharp Blade maintains continuity by the simple fact that these tracks were recorded in one mammoth session and then divided up for release on separate outlets. The average song length here is around one minute, with many songs clocking in at around thirty seconds long. The vocals are a rabid higher-pitched scream, never deviating, never varying, and thus, they’re the weakest component, simply because they wear thin across the thirty-minute running time. These riffs aren’t overly technical or complicated, and at times they’re a virtually indistinguishable blur beneath the furious drumming. Blastbeats abound, but the pace does slow here and there, if only to introduce the next round of frantic chaos. Not to cop out on in-depth analysis, but there’s really not too much to say about Sharp Blade beyond that—it’s a grind record in the truest sense. As such, it seldom breaks its manic stride even when the pace slackens—Defeatist feels like a runaway bullet train and manages to be equally chaotic even in their slowest moments. What tempo changes may come are just brief pauses in the violence before the world explodes again.
As good and as fun as it is, Sharp Blade isn’t the best grindcore album I’ve heard all year (a fact largely due to a banner year for serious grind-master flashes). So far, it’s still 2009’s most promising grindcore release by a band of whose existence I’d previously been completely unaware. Willowtip’s penchant for quality grindcore continues, and I’m looking forward to what Defeatist brings to the grind table from here on out.