Jul 072023

(As you’ll see from the following review, DGR got his grind tank fully fueled up by the new album from the Greek one-person operation Konsensus that came out last month.)

The opportunity to open a review or writeup with ‘wow, it sure is a great time such and such genre’ is always an appreciated one. Cards on the table though, one of the best parts about being a grind fan and writing about grind music whenever the chance strikes is that it is generally always a good time for grind because the formula is so honed down and about as high or low stakes as you want it to be that someone out there, somewhere, will have picked up on the punk-as-fuck ethos of ‘what if we just play really fast and beat the hell out of the instruments behind it’ and more often than not, be pretty dang good at it.

There are obviously highlight releases every year – for fucks sake, this a Rotten Sound year – but if you likes you a good ole’ fashioned circle-pit riff and a whole bunch of energy being expelled outwards in a direction that boils down to ‘everywhere’, the hyperspeed musicians who make their grind out of all things blastbeats, heavy and fast, are able to provide. Greece’s one-man show Konsensus was one of those highlight releases back in 2021. Bravely launched during the glory years of endless frustration at people’s damned near-malicious ignorance and brilliantly armed to the teeth, New Age Of Terror was a solid hit to the system that promised a whole lot of fury for music in the future, and now in 2023 we have that in the form of a full-length under the title of Life Deprived.

Konsensus have all of the hallmarks of the genre down pat. “Reborn Through Pain” is more of a statement of the project knowing exactly what musical world it resides in and is going to spend two-minutes ripping through pit riff after pit riff just to make sure everyone else is clear on that fact as well. “System Defect” is more apocalyptic in scope, with a teethgrinding riff that dominates the whole procedure until its minute and a half closes out.

Another fun part about writing about grind while we’re review-naval-gazing is that often a whole release will punch in at just under twenty minutes, and at times that can feel like the perfect length. Life Deprived does just that. It says a whole hell of a lot, makes a hell of a lot of noise, unleashes just as much energy, and then kicks the doorframe off the house on the way out. The titular “Life Deprived” song only gets to be one of the longer tracks by virtue of having a sample right up front, otherwise it’d be a just as neatly tied off ball of fury as the two-songs that had precede it.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, you do get some hardcore punk shenanigans as well that see Konsensus veering well into Napalm Death‘s neighboorhood during “Voiceless” right afterward. Wouldn’t be a grind album if you didn’t have at least one song that you could hear Barney shouting just as much as the original project does.

There are times wherein Konsensus does stretch the project’s muscles a little bit, which makes for a fun diversion after you’ve been getting whipped into the walls and windows for the better part of ten or so minutes. The core of blast and grind riff is never quite forgotten, but a song like “Devoured By Humanity” and the noise-filled angry dirge in its opening arrives just in time to keep the adrenaline spiked after “Suicide Contagion” razes the ground before it. Closer “Never To Rise” is another song like “System Defect” earlier on in the album, where its opening segments are jarring enough to keep a listener interested before it drops back into its pocket of mosh-worthy guitar work and drum destruction.

The whole of Life Deprived has that general pacing though, as it tears through guitar riffs like a predator assaulting a fresh kill. The opening section will often grab you by the neck and yank you out of whatever dopamine-induced lull that the joy of hearing a bunch of instruments being musically aggrieved often brings, and then proceed to turn a snare drum into something more akin to a piston-fired machine. All done fast enough that anything over two minutes and thirty seconds feels like a funeral doom song by comparison.

Life Deprived is the sort of knife-blade-sharp type of grind you would come to expect from someone whose inspirations clearly lie in the blastbeast sphere of that world. Every riff is punchy enough to feel like you’re taking actual body blows and the vocals have enough bark and bite to them that the whole thing becomes an exercise in explosive energy. Life Deprived is purpose-written to move as quick as possible, like someone launching dynamite from a supercar, and each song lasts about as long as that particular explosion would. The tempo remains high throughout Life Deprived and it is suitably furious to match; the part where it strikes in and is over and out just as quickly as it arrived is only a bonus.

We’re in firm ‘multiple laps before you even notice’ territory with this sort of release. It can at times be more mood and ethos than song, which has felt like a trademark of grind for some time, but then you do get absolute ass-kickers within the tracklist that’ll make you turn your head because you didn’t catch what the hell just drive-by assaulted you. Whether you’re in for the sub-twenty run or just picking out songs from a consistently strong lineup, you’ll do pretty well with Life Deprived. The album art is a person being immolated and the music matches that perfectly.


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