Assuck - _Misery Index_
(Sound Pollution Records, 1996)
by: (9 out of 10)
Assuck have definitely returned with this new record (I hesitate to call it a full-length because it clocks in at a mere 15:20). Here we have fifteen tracks of raging, unbridled power - grindcore at its very best. In case you're wondering about the line-up, guitarist Steve Heritage is now handling vocal duties as well, and he sounds (growls) very much like former vocalist Paul Pavlovich. Steve Kosiba is on bass, and Rob Proctor is once again on drums. The songs seem a little bit less precise than earlier material, perhaps a manifestation of the burden created by Heritage's two-fold task. This would also explain why the vocal patterning is often very predictably on-beat, which is a disappointment at times. However, don't let those observations fool you; this record is full of Assuck's signature sound, often marked by unexpected breaks which are reminiscent of Deicide's "Legion" (not surprising, considering the geographical origin of both bands, and that they both record at Morrisound in Tampa - a fact not lost on this reviewer when trying to remain objective and not draw the obvious comparisons). These songs are very powerful, soaked with dissonance and then tumble-dried in a whirlwind of bass-heavy fury. Some have said that Assuck are a very production-oriented band, and that they rely a bit too much on Morrisound. After seeing them play on new year's day, I must admit that I do prefer listening to their records; however, their live show was far from boring. I almost feel like I'm being too critical here, because this record is truly superb; however, after setting such a high standard with "Anticapital," (the pinnacle of grind), this new release does seem like a little bit of a let-down. But not by much. If you liked that LP and the seven inches, you are sure to enjoy this. Packaging is minimal, but does include some nice cover art by Brandon Dunlap. And where's the vinyl?

(article published 4/2/1997)


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