"some music was meant to stay underground..."

TheDownGoing - "I Am Become" (CD)

TheDownGoing - "I Am Become" CD cover image

"I Am Become" track listing:

1. Iambecome (0:55)
2. The denial (0:36)
3. Utter Repulsion (0:54)
4. WWMJD? (0:58)
5. Cutinhalf (0:41)
6. Sunkendeep (1:38)
7. Dripping (0:22)
8. 29:23 (1:16)
9. Empty Circuit (1:01)
10. Thusspoke (0:38)
11. Part II (1:13)
12. Motionless (3:10)
13. Stonebaby (2:11)

Reviewed by on November 9, 2010

"'I Am Become' is only going to appeal to those grind fanatics who can’t get enough of the genre and feel that an active attempt to be abrasive and antagonistic is something that’s worth listening to."

Thedowngoing has stated its debut album “I Am Become” offers no easy answers for the listener, which is a spot on depiction of the music and the lyrics of the 13 chaotic, noisy, and abrasive tracks. Frequently blazing by at lightning speed, the 15 minutes of “I Am Become” is an unholy racket of earsplitting sound, and it’s sometimes hard to believe it’s all being made by just two guys. That being said, the album still falls prey to virtually every problem inherent to grindcore, so anyone not actively in love with that genre will probably hate every 30 second song found here.

In true grindcore fashion, the songs all compete with each other to see how much noise can be crammed into as short a period of time as possible, with one song speeding past after 22 seconds. It’s not really clear why the band does this, as the tracks really could have been rolled together. The first three offerings on the disc all sound like different segments of the same song, and it would probably be impossible to tell they weren’t a single unit if a listener wasn’t actively looking at the track listing. A liberal application of movie samples makes the tiny song lengths even more absurd.

For the most part, there isn’t anything on the album that breaks outside the typical noisy grindcore formula, and honestly some of it is just plain bursts of sound for the sake of having loud noise. The band members clearly know this, however, describing their sound as “inaccessibly fast” and even using an audio sample in one song that states “the unpleasant noise you are about to hear is not a mistake.”

There are a few moments when something interesting or entertaining pops up. “WWMJD?” has a little experimentation and brief segment of change, spicing up the atmosphere with a tongue-in-cheek sample from some old sci-flick. The series of slow-downs and speed-ups, along with about two seconds of melodic guitar work, make the song more bearable. On the one hand it’s rather impressive that they fit all of that into 58 seconds of music, but on the other it really would have been more impressive if the song had actually been expanded and the ideas had been explored for a reasonable amount of time.

Tracks like “29:23” go past “inaccessible” into “just plain annoying” with a series of screeching sounds that have no purpose other than to be antagonistic toward the audience. Whether that was the band’s intention or not, it’s still not worth hearing. On the opposite side of that, the odd man out track “Motionless,” which hits a full three minutes, actually let some of the music shine through and gets across the feel of despair without being unlistenable.

“I Am Become” is only going to appeal to those grind fanatics who can’t get enough of the genre and feel that an active attempt to be abrasive and antagonistic is something that’s worth listening to. Anyone else can save themselves the trouble and pass on by.

Highs: Some of the tracks have a little experimentation....for about 10 seconds.

Lows: Falls prey to every pitfall in the grindcore handbook: 30 second songs that all sound the same, purposefully abrasive music, and over use of movie samples.

Bottom line: 15 minutes of music that will only appeal to the fanatically grind minded. Anyone else can pass.

Rated 1.5 out of 5 skulls
1.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)