Whoresnation – Dearth Review

When it comes to grindcore, at least, France has been kicking some serious ass lately. Between Blockheads’ stellar Trip To The Void at the end of last year, and since then, the new Pulmonary Fibrosis, Proudhon’s first full-length, new Vomi Noir, and this, Whoresnation’s latest longplayer, it’s been blast after blast after l’explosion.

Pure death / grind destruction, this Bisontin four-piece leans heavily upon the first part of that equation, although never at the expense of the latter half. Along the arc from the self-titled 2012 debut through 2018’s stellar Mephitism to now, Whoresnation has sharpened their blast-heavy attack, honed the blunter edges into a razor-sharp killing machine. Ever impressive, and the band’s not-so-secret musical weapon, the relentlessly entwined interplay between guitarist Lopin and drummer Tonio is almost impossibly tight, a brutal death metal level of intricate riff arrangements wound around warp-speed rhythms and processed out in one-minute bursts of machine-gun strafing. A guest guitar solo from Impaled mainstay Leon del Muerte spurts forth from “Bluthgeld,” the album’s sole foray into lead guitar work (save one screaming note midway through “Death Annuity,” which I guess counts), and it’s a suitably chaotic one. Fitting within Dearth’s heavily death-infected leaning, Pibe’s vocals keep mostly to a lower guttural grunt, completely eschewing some briefer forays into a mid-range rasp and flirtations with gory gurgles on the earliest efforts.

Of course, none of that matters if Whoresnation can’t deliver the punches, and in that respect, they’re almost incomparable. Building upon Mephitism’s many strengths, Dearth is the next step down the line, which is to say that it’s both more of the same of what Whoresnation does and also a refinement of it. From the quasi-industrial fade-in and tremolo-picked intro of “Lucifugous” – a false sense of groove that is very quickly left in the dust – to the swaggering double-kick devastation of “Sunburnt To Death,” from the mid-album bulldozer team of “Pajarito” and the somewhat title track “Craving For Dearth” to the closing explosion of “Alluring Lethal Remains,” Dearth is twenty minutes of flawless and relentless death / grind, the frantic blasting pace almost obscuring the depth of the riffing and arrangement within, as Tonio, Lopin, and new bassist Anto rip through a dizzying array of blink-and-you-miss-them changes, shifting tempos up and back in lockstep, and never letting off the gas.

Like so many excellent grindcore albums – and make no mistake, this is absolutely one of those – Dearth can be approached two different ways, with two different but equal results. One, you can let the whole of it bowl over you, a white-hot cacophony of bombstrike drumming, anguished grunts, and razor-wire guitars, the broad-spectrum adrenaline surge and release, twenty-one minutes of catharsis through sensory overload that almost never pauses to let you breathe. Or two, you can set your sights and then hone in, weave through the clamor and focus on the wealth of subtleties that lurk in the depths between blastbeats, unwind the invisible wires that bind the guitars to the drums and keep those pained guttural growls from spinning off into the aether. It’s in those spaces and in their signature coiled-spring tightness that Whoresnation’s power lies, and the component parts and their natures should be recognized, although option one is very much a viable one – it’s equally acceptable to just let that power flatten the world around you because, after all, world-flattening is the desired goal for everyone involved.

However you approach Dearth (and Whoresnation’s catalog, in general), to put it a bit more succinctly: It’ll knock your goddamn block off, so best make sure you’ve got somewhere safe to land.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

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

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