Adjectives like “terrorizing” and “explosive” have tended to surround the music of the Dutch grindcore band Suffering Quota like swarms of angry hornets. Of course, sensations of fury and violence are endemic to a lot of grindcore, but adjectives like those don’t always come to mind as frequently as they do with this band.
Yet those aspects of their music, while integral and vital to what they do, really aren’t all that sets them apart from a lot of their peers. What really sets them apart is the feeling that they’d get bored just blowing off the doors in listeners’ heads and wrecking the hell out of whatever’s inside. It’s got to be more interesting than that.
The stew of genre ingredients they incorporate — which include death metal, crust, and hardcore — can’t always follow the same recipe, song after song, or what’s the point of continuing to write and record? Better to make them fight for survival in different ways and see what happens. Better to keep the listener off-balance, because for sure, there’s no balance in the world either.
Well, that’s just armchair psychology from our little underground hovel, because we’re not telepaths. But when you listen to some of the music of Suffering Quota‘s new album Collide, maybe you’ll understand the point we’re trying to make.
Band photo by Richard Postma
In the bruising and bracing run-up to Collide‘s May 26 release by a trio of labels, Suffering Quota blasted through the gates with a song called “Rights“. It might be traditional in length (just shy of a minute and ten seconds), but it still relentlessly twists and turns, with no clear clues about where it will go, except in one side of your skull and crashing through the other side.
The drumming is blistering but unstable. The momentum surges and slows. The abrading riffs slash and blare but also roil, writhe, and drag, and those sounds are grim and bleak as well as defiant and enraged. Speaking of rage, the vocals are a red-throated fury.
We don’t mean to suggest there’s no structure. There very clearly is, especially after you run through it more than once, and it has its hooks. It’s that the thrill of hearing it derives from more than just the brazenness of assault and battery.
Suffering Quota also released a video for the song “Out“, which opens the album. It actually does reach the minute, ten-second mark. Is that the scratchy dance of a violin that begins the track? Yes indeed it is. And after that somewhat bewildering start, more bewilderment comes — through sudden start-stop bursts of sound and a moment of mangling bass maliciousness. You’re halfway through the song before the eruption happens.
But even then, the music sounds weird as well as wild — the phrase “dangerously demented” comes to mind. But this song also seems intentionally frustrating, because we could have used a whole lot more of that eruptive phase.
Which brings us to “Grow“, the song we’re premiering today — and it’s nearly 2 1/2 minutes long. You can probably guess how the band use the extra time — to whip your head around even more. There’s a great vocal sample at the start (whose truth is hard to deny), and then the twists and turns begin in earnest — from blaring fanfares to feral punk chords, from unhinged convulsions of violence to guitars that scream in madness or feed at tremolo-picked speed like a vicious ant swarm on a fresh carcass.
The drumming is lights-out almost all the way through this psychotic episode; you can imagine blood spray from the vocalist ripping out his own throat; if there were an ER for guitars and bass, they probably had to be rushed there. Thoroughly crazed and thoroughly exhilarating… and a rocket-propelled roller-coaster for your brain.
There’s a lot more where these three came from — 9 more tracks, to be precise, the whole record running a total of about 19 minutes. The album as a whole, much like what you’ve just heard, is a dazzling, head-spinning trip but also ferocious catharsis for angry days.
Impressively, Collide was recorded live (by Jörg Ukenat at Soundlodge Studio in Rhauderfehn, Germany, and he also mixed and mastered it). The album’s intriguing cover art (not grindcore-standard, but what did you expect?) was painted by Wokkel.
Collide will be released by Lower Class Kids Records, 7Degrees Records, and Tartarus Records.
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