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(Southern Brigade Records)

jools green

'Grindermeister' is the sixth full length release from Italy's death grind maestros Natron and marks the twentieth anniversary of their own personal brand of Extreme Metal. The follow up to 2009s 'Rot Among Us', 'Grindermeister' isn't an album of new tracks but what it is, is a complete reworking of the some of the tracks from both their 1996 EP 'Unpure' and their first full length, 1997s 'Hung, Drawn And Quartered'. The idea was to still maintain the original brutal feel but add a modern, higher quality production.

natron grindermeister

Opening with 'Morgue Feast', a haunting sound bite of an intro greets you, then the brutal vocal growl and musical onslaught hits you. This frantic speed and intensity continues across the whole album.

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On 'Leechlord' I was particularly impressed by the drum work which was varied, interesting and well executed. The insane speed continues with 'Quarantine Of Leprosy' and on 'Flesh Of A Sick Virgin' there was yet more impressive drum work, capped off with an insane guitar solo.

'The Stake Crawlers' has a malevolent quality with squealing guitars and effective atmosphere building tempo change and there were subtle technical elements woven into 'Undead Awake' which caught my interest. 'Elmer The Exhumer' switches seamlessly from brutal mania to a slower groove and back; an excellent track.

The final track is a tribute to the late Jesse Pintado in the shape of 'Dead Shall Rise' (Terrorizer cover). I am notorious for disliking covers as from my perspective they rarely stand up to the original but I absolutely loved this, a fitting tribute indeed, just awesome.

'Natron' certainly take deathgrind to a whole new level. Their sound is varied and exciting and I was smitten with both the vocal growls and the drum work. The guitars were insanely fast and frantic yet precise and despite the sheer brutality of sound there was still a bit of an underlying groove running through, not enough to dilute the sound but just enough to keep you nodding along appreciatively and keeping your mind on the music.

'Grindermeister' is definitely an album I will be listening to a lot in the foreseeable future. At the time when these tracks and albums were released they were considered both innovative and brutal but the sound and production from that era, at times, left a lot to be desired. This time around the band has succeeded in maintaining that original brutal edge whilst upping the production quality.

'Grindermeister' is out now on Southern Brigade Records.



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