Vancouver based brutal death/grindcore band, Abuse, have released a new album called Nothing is Safe. Nothing is Safe is the band’s second full length album and follows their debut, Like a Virgin. That debut was released in 2001. 2 years after Abuse formed. A 16 year gap between a debut and it’s follow up is huge. I can’t imagine there are many albums that would be worth that wait but we’ll see.
Abuse do operate in a niche market, even in the metal world. Grindcore is well known for it’s provocative lyrical theme. Often economically or socio-politically driven but also based around gore, mutilation and disgust in humanity. Then there are bands like Abuse who base their lyrics around sex and degrading woman, probably tongue in cheek, but degrading nonetheless. While this may outrage plenty of people, it isn’t dissimilar to what band’s like Steel Panther do. Steel Panther degrade woman using a shit pop rock style. Abuse are a brutal death metal band so they turn it all up to 11. The speed, the aggression but also the viciousness of the lyrical content.
If the band name wasn’t enough of a clue to the type of music they play, the stage names of the band’s current and previous members is a good insight. With ex members lovingly known as Chang Long Wang, Bitch Slapper and Wife Beater, you have an idea. The current line up are tamely named in comparison. We have Offal Consumer on vocals and Big Pimp on the guitar. The bassist is known as The Worst Person Ever and the drums are in the care of Lord Marco.
Nothing is Safe has ten tracks on it and is just 25 minutes long. That is pretty short for an album in any genre. Still, quality over quantity I hope.
One thing that is confirmed very early on is that the band are in it to shock, at every possible corner. The introduction, for example, is called Fuck Me or I’ll Kill Us Both. If that offends, you should probably stop reading and definitely shouldn’t pick this album up. The first sentence you hear on the whole album, on that intro, is (expletives incoming) “Respect the cock and tame the cunt”.
With other tracks like “She Never Knew What Hit Her “, “Unsafeword” and “Bitchkabob” there are plenty more places for the easily offended to be offended. This is brutal death metal, at it’s most brutal, so no matter how trained your ear is, you are going to struggle to understand exactly what is being said. That may be a blessing to some, to others, you will need to see the lyrics once or twice I imagine.
Musically, I find the whole album a bit uninspiring at times. Brutal blast beats, speed riffing, slamming bass and guttural growls are pretty much all you get here. If you need to unwind, slam yourself about a bit and bang your head then yes, this works as a great release. As a band they are technically very capable. They sound really tight musically, even playing at the breakneck speeds they are hitting.
There are some tracks that break the norm a bit. Gibbeted has a great distorted sound to the guitars in the intro and there is nice vicious rhythm to the track. You get a really cool riff near the end of the track that is joined by blisteringly fast drums. Another standout track is Bitchkabob which ends some of the deeper riff lines with a high pitch squeal. A little thing but it makes the track really. There is another cool rhythm section nearing the end where we also get a solo. That is quite rare for grindcore but the effect it has on this song suggests they should use it more often. Swine also mixes up the guitar riffs, tones and speeds and lets the drums switch from furious blasts to quick rhythms hear and there which works well.
Outside of those three, I didn’t really feel any other track stood out. You can’t help but be impressed with how heavy everything is. You have to be impressed too with Lord Marco’s immense ability on drums. As a whole album, if you love grindcore/death metal with a hint of comedy then Nothing is Safe is going to be a great addition to your collection. If you aren’t too fussed and only look for standout albums, I don’t think this is one.
Having said that, if you ever need an album to shock your non metal friends, this should do the job nicely.
I must say, I love the cover art though. A blatant homage to Grand Theft Auto with brilliant detail on the images. Good job there.
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Nothing is Safe by Abuse (Comatose Music)
The Final Score - 4/10