Originally written by Justin Bean.
In the grand scheme of the history of grindcore, the mid-to-late 1990s saw Brutal Truth, Discordance Axis, Pig Destroyer and a handful of other bands introducing certain elements of what you might call ‘artistic exploration’ to their respective takes on the genre. Noisear may be lesser known, but they are of a kind with the more adventurous branches of grindcore’s legacy. Unfortunately for me, and despite having been around for fourteen years, they didn’t appear on my radar until only recently via their contribution to This Comp Kills Fascists Vol. II, but the band has released songs scattered across comps, splits, and one darn fine debut full-length, Pyroclastic Annihilation. They now find themselves backed by Relapse Records – always a good shot in the arm – and while Subvert the Dominant Paradigm doesn’t itself subvert the grindcore paradigm, it does kick a lot of ass and marks a damn solid contribution to the genre.
Subvert the Dominant Paradigm delivers a head-spinning thirty songs, each one (except the last track; see below) an outburst of riffs crammed tighter than bullets in a magazine. And, as is generally the case with good grind, the listening experience is one of manic explosion and razor-edged cacophony. Brian Fajardo, whose resume on drums is like a Rolodex of good contemporary grind bands (Phobia, Gridlink, and Kill the Client – I mean seriously, who does this guy think he is?), has been playing in Noisear since he was a lad, but that still doesn’t account for the semi-supernatural connection between him and guitarist Dorian Rainwater. In one interview, Rainwater explained that the record was written in one day and that a chunk of the songs grew from drum tracks laid down by Fajardo with Rainwater improvising “on the spot” over the recording. If you ask me, that’s just really awesome, is what that is.
The end result is art-grind of the highest order, somewhere between Discordance Axis,Gridlink and Brutal Truth, but not without their own developed sense of style and grind aesthetic. In the following brief account I’m basically picking and choosing at random – a testament to the consistency of the album – but opening tracks “Breaking Bad At The Mulberry,” “Waiting To Be Born,” and Gestapolis” see the band wasting no time at all as the listener is treated to the aural equivalent of being fed to a blender. “Ace is the King” begins deceptively with a tough-guy hardcore stomp feel only to erupt into a seizure of noise. “Global Warming” makes a great case for noise-grind, and the opening of “Fradulent” sounds like a bastardized Nile riff microwaved on high for sixty seconds and played in reverse. Aside from the twenty-minute symphony of noise that closes the album – appropriately named “Noiseruption” – there are enough riffs on STDP to induce ADD in the listener, and that’s a good thing.
It’s not surprising that Relapse would be interested in Noisear, but regardless of who’s backing them, STDP has all the makings of a great grindcore album. Even the production is solid; it’s clear enough to let those lighting-quick riffs scream through, yet has just enough crust caked on to make even the most weathered grind aficionado feel at home. Subvert the Dominant Paradigm isn’t for everyone –and that’s sort of the point of grindcore – but if you’re a slave to the grind, get into it.