Socioclast – Socioclast Review

The press materials for this debut EP from Cali trio Socioclast namechecks grindcore masters Discordance Axis and Assück. Them’s big shoes to fill, big names to swing around.

But hey, if you can hang with the big kids, then you do that, right? And it just so happens that Socioclast can hang.

Release date: February 19, 2021. Label: Carbonized Records.
With fifteen songs in seventeen minutes, Socioclast doesn’t waste a second. This is death-inflected classic styled grindcore, with some of the off-kilter twists that characterized Discordance Axis’ classics and plenty of the feral death-grind power that characterized Assuck’s. Opener “Surveillance, Normalization, Examination” kicks off with some clean arpeggios, an almost 90s-rock flavor (the only instance of that particular sound on the record), before launching itself headlong into blastbeat-fueled ferocity that’s topped off with a bulldozer lurch before the stuttering dissonance of “Psychic Void” takes hold. There are only split-second gaps between songs across Socioclast’s relatively short running time, so don’t blink, or you’ll be three tracks down the road before you’re finished. Mid-album highlight pair of “Psychodrone” and “Hippasus” pairs an uptempo punk bashing and some drifting hazy midtempos in the former to a feral and relentless thrashing in the latter. “Propaganda Algorithm” revisits the arpeggiated intro idea from the opening number, but here it’s crustier, uglier, shorter, only a quick cycle through before that song drops into a trudge-to-blast tandem that’s positively punishing. The album’s longest track is its outro — that’s almost a genre standard at this point — but “Concrete And Steel” upholds its end of the bargain, blitzing through a positively epic 2:48 with constant tempo shifts and some of Socioclast’s most interesting riffs, sometimes spiralling about, sometimes skronky and twisting, sometimes getting chunky and groovy, but ever moving forward until the whole thing collapses into a squalling chaos and one last pounding.

As strong as all three members’ of Socioclast pedigrees are, it’s the performance of drummer Cris Rodriguez that I find myself most often enraptured by — he blasts, skanks, grooves, and all with a nearly palpable furious energy, keeping Socioclast’s bullet-train drive firmly on track. Witness the positively relentless “Eden’s Tongue,” one of the album’s pre-release teaser tracks, which cycles through one minute of ripping grind with a brief flirtation with crusty doom, and is handily one of the album’s strongest offerings. While Rodriguez stokes the fires, guitarist Matt Gomes tosses off riffs that are equally skronky and bent and relatively straightforward, the balance a beautiful thing to behold (errr… to be heard, I guess). Bassist Colin Tarvin (also of Mortuous) holds down the low end with some great gnarly distorted tone, all the while grunting like an unhinged madman, his guttural growl formidable and offset with some higher screeches from Gomes.

Grindcore is all about the visceral attack, that adrenaline surge of sheer aggression. Good grindcore tempers that with a compositional skill that fuses strong riffs and memorable musical moments together into those short sharp shocks of sheer brutality. Socioclast ticks all those right boxes, from the brutal to the musical — these three have clearly learned well at the altars of the grinding gods whose name they invoke.

Fifteen songs, seventeen minutes, one hell of an asskicking…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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