The week begins anew and here we are again. Today I have something interesting for you. Creative Waste is a death metal/grindcore band from Saudi Arabia and “Slaves to Conformity” is their first full length album. Grindcore from Saudi Arabia you say? Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I do not claim to know much about heavy metal in the Middle East (just what I have seen in Sam Dunn’s “Global Metal”), but my understanding is that metal is pretty much frowned upon in the region. I would think grindcore would certainly be pushing the envelope, so kudos to these three guys for having the balls to play the music they love.
Grindcore is a rather vague concept with me. I sometimes have a hard time deciding whether a band is grindcore or just brutal death metal. Both are fast, have blast beats, and extreme, harsh vocals. So what is the difference? Grindcore is a cool word, to be sure, but labeling something as such seems an exercise in splitting hairs to me. I think of Nasum or Pig Destroyer as grindcore, and maybe even Napalm Death (though honestly I could go either way with them, even though they supposedly created the genre) but some people call Job for a Cowboy grindcore, and that just does not seem quite right to me. I suppose if asked to split this particular hair I would agree Creative Waste is a grindcore band.
For the most part, the music on “Slaves to Conformity” is fast and brutal; there are some brief slower parts interspersed throughout the album, which I like to think of as “breathers”, which would give pit dwellers an opportunity to catch their breath before getting caught up in the whirlwind again. While the music is very fast and intense, it also has a nice flow to it that keeps the song moving; some extreme metal music is so intense that it sounds like a cloud of chaos hovering in one spot destroying whatever stumbles into it. “Slaves to Conformity” has legs, it is more like a tornado that creates an always moving path of destruction. Such movement appeals to me.
The production sounds a little thin (which is perhaps a trait of grindcore), but what it lacks in low-end power it makes up for in intensity (Note: I am going back and listening to “Kingdom of Fear” on YouTube to post below, and that production sounds much fuller, so maybe my copy is not as robust). Another grindcore-like trait is that songs tend to be much shorter than typical metal songs, and “Slaves to Conformity” has nine songs clocking in at 28 minutes. That is actually a pretty long album for the genre; I have seen way too many grindcore albums come in between 15 and 20 minutes. That is hardly worth the effort listening to something that short. So this is a nice length.
“Slaves to Conformity” is a pretty respectable album. Check them out on Bandcamp, Facebook or MySpace and give them a listen. Or check out the YouTube video below for “Kingdom of Fear.”