The Ergon Carousel – Dead Banks (album)

Dead Banks coverWhen faced with grind as ridiculously fast as this, the reviewer has a few options open to him or her. The first is to plump for abstract or ridiculous analogies and hyperbole:

Paint-blisteringly fast, The Ergon Carousel are punching you in the face ten thousand times a minute with their unstoppably intense hyperspeed velocity noisecore. GRRind! It’s like being chased down an endless corridor by a ceaselessly screaming cyborg bear with fists for eyes and lasers for teeth.

Another is to pursue a fairly staid biographical approach:

Midlands grind outfit The Ergon Carousel are composed of ex-members of Narcosis, Beecher, Carmen and Mechagodzilla, are have been kicking around since 2008’s The Ergon Carousel EP. Dead Banks is their first album, and with seventeen tracks powered through in under twenty minutes it’s clear they’re not slowing down any time soon.

A third option would be to talk about how they fit into the grand scheme of grindcore, which you’re unfortunately not going to get from me because I don’t know much about grind. Outside of the bands I already mentioned above, the obvious candidates like Brutal Truth and Anal Cunt and a few weird outliers like Xfilesx and The Afternoon Gentlemen I don’t really listen to it much either.

So instead I’ve gone for the fourth option, which is to deconstruct the music review a bit as you’ve already seen. I’m having some fun here, and The Ergon Carousel’s relentless aural violence is an ideal soundtrack for it.

What I can say definitively about Dead Banks is that it’s a cool record, straight up. About 95% of it maintains the same utterly absurd pace; the other 5% is made up of moments where songs pause or hang for a few seconds, and the ridiculously short intros. Of course, the sound is dominated by the brutal blast beats and skating guitar riffage that jumps about between chords like… like… like a folder full of thrash guitar tablature fed into a wood chipper.

There are a few other moments of respite; the eponymous ‘Dead Banks’ is the longest song present at over three minutes and takes advantage of the widened scope to throw in some mid-pace moments. But for the most part Dead Banks the album is an exercise in surviving that sonic assault and picking out what each song builds around that core, which is far better heard than articulated… after all, most of these moments are over almost as soon as you’ve registered them. Happily, the production is top-notch with every detail perfectly clear and sharp and not a single song ruined by a sludgey quality to the sound.

So there you go. After all the efforts I’ve made above to follow some sort of deconstructionist approach, I find myself nearing the end of the review with a cliché looming. “If you like grindcore, you will like Dead Banks a lot.” “If you don’t know grindcore, this is as good a place as any to start.” If you don’t like grindcore, you should totally listen to this. It might really upset you.”

Yeah, that’s how you get out of that one.

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