13 tracks in 17 minutes. Many music fans would be confused by such a concept, but for grindcore fans it’s simply par for the course. Par for the course is an accurate description for Atomoxetine too, the second album from Italy based Neid, which very much conforms to the genre conventions.
There’s very little here that will surprise those familiar with the extreme side of heavy music. Most of the songs are short, sharp bursts of fury, with a mix of wild screams, shrieks and growls strewn over a multitude of meaty riff work. The guitar tone is nice and heavy, accenting the nifty fretwork of some of the faster moments and making the slower ones more crushing. Songs draw from a wide spectrum of genres, with thrash metal, death metal, punk and hardcore represented, sometimes all in the same track.
The problem with such an approach is that it is difficult to write songs that feel truly developed. There are some fantastic riffs and ideas to be heard throughout this album, but by the time you’ve really got a feel for them, the track is over or the song has moved on to another idea. A number of tracks feel like their potential is wasted, and I feel they would’ve been better off using the stronger riffs as a foundation and building songs around them. Of course, this is the way the genre is, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
I do feel that I’m selling the album a little short here though. There’s nothing here that is terrible, and there are some songs that do work very well. The title track, for one, is probably the sole example that bucks the ‘underdeveloped’ trend, an emphatic 31 seconds of unrelenting rage. “The Failure” is based around a wonderfully dissonant harmony and features a devilishly fiendish riff in the break, whilst “New Threat” contains an equally great riff that slowly slithers around the fretboard. “I Hate Work”, the only real left field track here, is a punky number featuring guest vocals by Dave Dictor of MDC fame. He doesn’t sound particularly enthused, but I suppose it’s apt given the subject matter, and it does provide a welcome change from the status quo.
I’m sure there’s plenty here for grind enthusiasts to enjoy. It’s not necessarily one to avoid for those less devoted, but you’d be better off turning to the genre heavyweights before opting to give this a go.
Highlights: “The Failure”, “Atomoxetine”, “New Threat”