originally written by Jim Brandon
In this world you will never see a blue sky, for every drop of water to be found is tinted a murky grey, and toxic winds which whip across the seas bring waves crashing upon the shore where shards of broken glass rest in place of golden sands. Life here, if it can truly be called life at all, is a most undesirable of existences, but grind mongers Circle Of Dead Children call it home, a home they’ve rested rather quietly in for the past five years. Awakened now with a newfound bile, this wretched quartet brings their world into ours with the long-awaited Psalm Of The Grand Destroyer, a nihilistic collection of sonnets that view faith as a gelded concept, and hope as an outdated pipe dream that never had a chance to begin with.
The lyrical twists and turns paint of picture of humanity at its most pathetic, expressing an entirely negative and dismissive view of mankind in eloquent, erudite prose. There are turns of phrase on par with black metal in terms of sheer hate, although CODC is obviously much less discriminating when it comes to where they focus their blowtorches. They’d just as soon see us all dead. High concepts and soulful introspection are nowhere to be found, but there’s also not a lot of basement-dwelling, lowest denominator comic book gore to wade through either. But above all else, Psalm… brings forth some damn fine deathgrind that more than fulfills the cravings of those who have a taste for the grittiest and grimiest music this genre has to offer.
Fifteen tracks spanning a hair under thirty-two minutes, “Avatar Of Innocence” begins like a slowly churning death metal cement mixer, teasing a more deliberate and calm method of delivery before launching into a blaze of gutting blast beats and vocals reminiscent of a pen full of possessed pigs. Chords rise and descend fervently but not without control or order even during the most unhinged moments, and it’s easy to tell there was some actual consideration made in regards to overall balance between the full-on abuse of tunes like the crushing “Earth And Lye,” “Bury The Ill Flock” and “We Who Move With The Graven Worms” along with more calculated tunes like “Refuse To Kill The Same Way Twice,” as well as the cautious bass intro that deceptively unfurls during “Obsidian Flakes” into a merciless, grunted onslaught of machinegun snare.
Don’t let yourself think for even a moment that Psalm… is any sort of departure from where CODC left off on Zero Comfort Margin, because there is nothing cultured or refined about any of this album whatsoever. When you’re not getting pounded by thick chunky breakdowns, there’s a rapid-fire blast being unloaded at your skull with reckless abandon. Controlled, but only barely, “Last Words And Warning Signs,” “Jaracaca,” and “Torches” are flawless examples of teeth-gnashing grind that contrasts terrifically in comparison to the murderously slow groove of the laborious “Germinate The Reaper Seed” towards the end of the album. They actually allow us to take a breath and survey the damage during this surprisingly textured and well thought-out belched beast of a tune, but sure enough, “Starve, Beg & Die a.k.a Fuck You Kill Me” ends things on a decidedly unfriendly, unfunny note with blackened screams, harrowing tremolo riffs, and sparingly sampled sound effects.
Hindered only by a lackluster production job that buries the guitars under the all-encompassing drums when things accelerate to blast levels, this release reinvents nothing at all, but shows expert dexterity and knowledge in composing wickedly up-to-date grindcore with purpose. Circle Of Dead Children makes sure you feel every minute of Psalm Of The Grand Destroyer in your brain and in your gut, as every note and growl is meant to cause discomfort and provoke thought. Their time spent laying dormant has birthed offspring both intelligent and malignant, and with time may grow into a standout among their catalogue, but for now it stands as one of the best damn no-bullshit grind albums in recent memory. Step into the circle, and smile at the rush of your impending demise.
“Roll along, roll along, heads will roll along...”