Review: Socioclast ‘Socioclast’

Is there anything you’ve never heard before from a grindcore band on Socioclast‘s debut album? Certainly not? Does it matter? Hell no. Welcome, friends, to the first real rager of 2021. It’s no surprise that this Californian grind bomb squad should provide us with such a ferocious first offering.

Socioclast 'Socioclast'

Though a new unit relatively speaking, fans of all things short and fast will be salivating on learning of Socioclast‘s pedigree, counting amongst their well seasoned ranks, at least one ex member of the infamous In Disgust… and that’s before we mention the names Deadpressure and Mortuous as related acts. This is premier league high speed violence par excellence.

Stylistically the trio perfectly combine the speed driven primal lash-out of hardcore punk with the guttural heaviness and precision attack of death metal in the absolute perfect ratio – the best grindcore is the kind that doesn’t lean too far to either end of the scale, and they know this only too well. Even the packaging, with its ‘Teitanblood as channelled by Michel Langevin’ graphics, marries the stark dystopian black and white spirit of an Outer Himalayan record with the hand drawn mutations and spikey logo of your favourite 90s death metal demo.

While they rage through each sub-60 second onslaught with the murderous speed of a set of propellers that have come loose from a helicopter, they’ll occasionally slow down for a quick double bass section that’s heavy enough that you’ll feel like you’ve been punched in the stomach. There’s a surprising amount of musical information packed into each short space.

Socioclast are clearly hear to make grindcore terrifying again…

Terminal Regress or Alpha (the latter being one of the longer tunes at a whopping one minute and two seconds) both open with slowed down riffs dripping with darkness, making you think they’re maybe going for the token slower moments, and in both cases they immediately hit Mach 6 before you have a chance to realise what’s hit you. They pull off the same trick a couple of other times during the album, but each time they do, it’s still jolting when the speed kicks in.

On Psychodrone there’s a brief, glorious break from the blastorama for them to throw in a nasty thrash riff that prime 80s Slayer, or Dark Angel, would have killed for. Seventy eight second epic Omega gets into more discordant riffing that feels like all the oxygen being sucked out of the room, before twisting again for another of those monstrous double bass sections to crush what’s left of your lungs. Closer Concrete And Steel is basically a rock opera by Socioclast standards, a melancholic riff signalling the start of proceedings, before impersonating a tornado that’s constantly changing direction, leaving destruction in its wake.

There was a sticker that used to do the rounds a few years ago that said ‘Grindcore is very terrifying’. With their rage firmly pointed at the machine, guitars tuned to Z and the kind of dual vocal cacophony that sounds like the cast of Gremlins fighting a pack of bears, Socioclast are clearly hear to make grindcore terrifying again, but not at the cost of sacrificing it’s punk rock roots in the process. Protest music never sounded better. Or as visceral. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but it might provide the aural smack to the chops you need right now.

Label: Carbonized Records
Band Links: Instagram

Scribed by: Jamie Grimes