Fast Rites: because sometimes brevity is fundamental.
At the risk of repeating myself (as if this would be anywhere close to the first time for that), France’s Blockheads are far and away the best grindcore band named after a Charlie Brown put-down.
Release date: November 15, 2021. Label: Bones Brigade / LIXIVIAT.
It’s been 8 years since Blockheads’ last full-length, 2013’s Relapse-released This World Is Dead
, and while the world certainly feels much closer to imminent death than it did then, not much has really changed for Blockheads. Trip To The Void
is relentless, pummeling sociopolitical death / grind, almost entirely fast as all holy hell; it’s blast-happy and purely vicious, twenty-five songs in just over twenty-eight minutes. Riffs fly by at warp speed; drummer Nico pounds his kit like a jackhammer; vocalist Xav screams and bellows. The death-tinted riffery of “Walls” bores its way into your skull, while the pure chaotic drive of “The Devourer” leads headlong into the ripping “When You’ll Become A Shadow,” whose mid-period flirtation with groove is the first of only a handful of moments when Blockheads lets off the gas pedal. (Fear not, “Damage Control” brings it all back up to manic intensity again.) Even as the songs fly by at warp velocity, guitarist Fred works catchy riffs among them: Witness, as one example, the tremolo-picked death metal bits in the crush of “Cages,” which also sports a pinch-harmonic almost deathcore breakdown and some almost black-ish dissonance. Witness, as another example, the blistering-to-swaggering thrashing grind of “Black Heaps Of Cinders,” where riffs hit hard and sink deep at either frantic tempo.
Absolutely one smashing smash-up of a record, Trip To The Void snuck its way out way back in November of 2021, and thus by sheer bad timing, it missed a spot on my year-end list that it absolutely deserved. Which spot? Well, hell, I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter now – the point is this: Give it a spin and get your head spun ‘round, you blockheads.
Welcome to the void. Stick around awhile.