Album Review: Anthropic — “End of the Bloodline”

The time is 5:17 am. You lie pleasantly asleep in bed in the middle of a wonderfully strange dream. The alarm won’t go off for another hour, hour and a half. Work is but a distant thing right now. Then it starts, the chirping. A bird outside goes at it, trying to communicate to another. You’re awake and now the chirping becomes the only thing you hear. Other ambient noises are there but above it all is a high pitched “CHEEP CHEEP”. It lasts for about a half hour and then the bird is done. You certainly won’t go back to sleep now because all you want to do is strangle the bird. On their sophomore album End of the Bloodline, Buffalo’s Anthropic, for the most part, perform solid grindcore. The guitars go from zero to sixty on a dime. The vocals are the usual growls and barks. These are things you want to hear from a grindcore band. So far, so good. The band makes grindcore with the aggression you want. 

Then you hear it. The aggressive, high in the mix hit of a snare drum. On initial listen, you might think it’s only done on the opening song. Instead, it doesn’t stop for the 31 minute length of this album. The sound of the snare drum, like the chirping of a bird at a time too early, becomes inescapable. The sound makes itself known and it overwhelms almost every other sound on the record.

To say it’s a baffling production choice is an understatement. It’s so baffling you wonder is this done on other grindcore releases? (It isn’t.) Honestly the only other time I remember a band place a snare hit so high in the mix on an album is the opening of “Nosferatu, Man” by post rock legends Slint. On that song, the sound lasts about 10 seconds and those are slow controlled beats. Since this is grindcore, these are spastic, high speed sounds done on every song, At best, this choice distracts from the rest of the record. At worst, it’s a maddening misophonia-inducing assault on the ears.

In the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carrey and Jeff Bridges terrorize a man by performing the most annoying sound in the world. The loud sound of a snare drum on End of the Bloodline and other Anthropic releases might top that sound. Anthropic might have had a really solid grindcore release with End of the Bloodline. Instead, thanks to a bizarre production choice, the album practically becomes an endurance test.

Dan M

End of the Bloodline is available now on CDN Records. For more information on Anthropic, visit their Facebook page.

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