Heavy metal, of course, is very serious business.
Anger, misanthropy, pessimism, dour facial expressions, dark clothing, corpse paint, all the loud, all the fast, the ugly, and the brutal… It’s all Very Very Serious Business.
Well… okay… maybe not all of it.
Now, two years later, All The Miseries is a new EP, and it’s ultimately more like two EPs in one convenient package. There’s a new studio half, a lucky thirteen tracks that show everything is yet again business as usual for these irreverent Swedes. And also there’s an eleven-song live set from Belgium as a bonus.
The studio half of All The Miseries is Birdflesh being Birdflesh, an irresistibly gleeful grinding good time, filled with jokey titles like “Dying After Midnight,” “Kickstart My Ass,” and “Gore Ensemble.” You’ve got the eminently and ironically hooky chorus of “Radioactive Madness” (cleverly about cloying pop music, not radiation poisoning), and the short burst of Warped Tour snot-punk of “Spinebreaker” (a cautionary tale about skateboarding, and apparently Birdflesh is as good at that as I am). You’ve got the raging raucous “Pissboy” (“he’ll piss on your vinyl collection!”), and the “what the hell?” tale of tattoo oddness of “Inked Deth.” Thirteen songs of rip-roaring thrash / grind in about as many minutes — Birdflesh being Birdflesh. If you dig them, you’ll dig this, and if you don’t, you can jump in anytime.
The live half of the EP is a little lesser, but then again, I would argue that, with a handful of notable exceptions, live recordings typically tend to be, regardless of the act. The live set benefits from the presence of some Birdflesh “classics” like “Alive Autopsy” or “Victim Of The Cat” (here adjusted to “Victim Of The Cat..tle Decapitation” in honor of their tour-mates at the time), but it’s not a sonic wonder, by any means, all raw and ragged blasting and screams. Having had the pleasure of a Birdflesh live show on two occasions, I can vouch for them being a brilliantly fun and energetic live band, but this live recording of them doesn’t quite match the spark or capture the silliness. Still, there’s some merit in the ridiculous tongue-in-cheek stage banter — “This song is from the Alive Autopsy LP. This song is about an alive autopsy. This one is called… ‘ALIVE AUTOPSYYYY!” — and as mentioned, the tracks collected here are among Birdflesh’s best, even if the studio versions are all better.
If you’re into grind and fun, then you should be into Birdflesh. This is serious business, I say. Serious business, indeed.