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Vise Massacre - "Expendable Humans" (CD)

Vise Massacre - "Expendable Humans" CD cover image

"Expendable Humans" track listing:

1. Paralyzer (1:33)
2. Bloodsucker (2:18)
3. Eyes Of Fire (1:20)
4. Hail to the Wicked (2:04)
5. Something Like Silence (3:29)
6. MTA (2:11)
7. Pushed Down (2:22)
8. Internal War (1:44)
9. Shark Intentions (1:58)
10. Stranger (2:47)
11. Winter Kills (1:55)
12. Kill to Survive (2:07)
13. Brain Decay (2:10)
14. Rising Tide (3:24)

Reviewed by on January 30, 2012

"Find an open space, a bunch of rowdy friends, a foamy keg, and crank up 'Expendable Humans' for the ingredients to a chaotic bash."

With a name like Vise Massacre, a listener will have expectations for music that spits in their face and smacks them around. Add in an album with the title “Expendable Humans,” and it wouldn’t be unfair to assume that a beating was in line. No worries though; there is no cause for concern to the intense whiplash generated by “Expendable Humans.” This NYC trio gravitates towards hardcore, with flourishes of grind on some of the shorter tunes. The album has little in the way of time-wasters, and finishes up at the point when the sound begins to get stale.

Vise Massacre has been working on demos for a while now, and “Expendable Humans” affords the band a full-length to pry up their aggressive, yet accessible, sound. While lacking in breakdowns and gang choruses, it isn’t as dissonant as metallic hardcore has gotten in recent times. The songs stay right on a level playing field, having the type of appeal to rope in metal heads who can’t stand hardcore, and vice versa. The songwriting calls for a get-in-and-get-out mentality that doesn’t make room for subtle ambience, though the noise sampling on “Something Like Silence” tests uncharted lands for the band, compared to the other tunes.

With its fade-in, slow-played guitars, “Paralyzer” doesn’t seem like anything more substantial than a casual intro track. Thirty seconds into the opener, any perceptions that Vise Massacre was going to take it easy on the listener dissipates with the simultaneous lashings brought on all at once. It’s a brief flirtation with grind, and it land a punch that would leave a nasty shiner on most people. The rest of the album has its speedy gallops to rely on, but most of the tempos are in the middle variety.

These songs move so quickly that holding them down long enough to get anything out of them is hard. There’s an occasional part, like the bass-driven “Internal War” and somber snare drum outro to “Rising Tide,” that does leave a mark behind. These moments are to be appreciated, as the rest of the album is not as simple to grasp onto. That tends to happen with songs that barely reach two minutes, but the band does well enough to make “Expendable Humans” worthy of repeated spins.

What many people will appreciate about Vise Massacre is how linear their approach is. It may seem strange to praise a band for being straight-laced and unconcerned with stepping outside the guidelines, but their music doesn’t require technical jargon. Noise is noise, no matter the methods used, and songs like “Brain Decay” and “Eyes Of Fire” prove this notion.

A new year means a bunch of fresh debut albums to check out, and Vise Massacre comes strong into 2012 with “Expendable Humans.” There’s enough here to find favor with fans of both metal and hardcore, and though they don’t quite get to the level of a Nails or All Pigs Must Die, Vise Massacre is capable of being loud bastards that can’t be cleaned up no matter what the special occasion is. Find an open space, a bunch of rowdy friends, a foamy keg, and crank up “Expendable Humans” for the ingredients to a chaotic bash.

Highs: Aggressive hardcore lacking in the monotonous breakdowns and gang chants, a lot of power packed into the trio of musicians, short enough to avoid repetition

Lows: Band holds back at times with the mid-tempo paces seen throughout, the flirtations with grind are too brief

Bottom line: "Expendable Humans" is a vicious slab of hardcore that should get people talking.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

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)