Photo: Gray Muncy

This review will be shorter than the others this week, as befits a write-up of a grindcore album. Seen from outside, grindcore probably seems like it should all sound the same—how much variation can there be when your songs are typically topping out at 90 seconds? But in fact, there’s a lot of variation between the punkier bands (Benümb, Resistant Culture) and the more metallic ones (Phobia, Defeatist), the artier acts (Discordance Axis, Antigama) and the more brutalist ones (Insect Warfare, Sayyadina). And that’s not even getting into the digi-grind weirdos like Agoraphobic Nosebleed or Noism.

Kill the Client are a Texas-based quartet that make some of the angriest music I’ve ever heard. Their debut, 2004’s Wage Slave EP, packs eleven songs into just over 14 minutes, with track titles like “Black Market Crash,” “America…Sold!”, “Tickertape Noose” and “Cash Cow.” They followed that up with 2005’s Escalation of Hostility (15 tracks, 28:57) and 2008’s Cleptocracy (18 tracks, 22:50). Now they’ve jumped from Willowtip Records to Relapse and squeezed out Set for Extinction (19 tracks, 26:16).

Their music is thrashy grind, guitarist Chris Richardson‘s riffs tearing through the air like flying buzzsaw blades as bassist James Delgado cuts loose with roaring waves of fuzz and distortion and the band’s secret weapon, drummer Bryan Fajardo (who’s also in Phobia and GridLink), keeps the drums at a steady machine gun tempo, while throwing in fills that’ll make your head spin. Vocalist Morgan has a guttural roar like a grizzly goaded into a rage, barfing out nihilistic yet politically engaged lyrics. Set for Extinction doesn’t break any new ground for the band, but it’s a committed, forceful performance that’ll make fans very happy.

Grindcore offers a rush no other form of music can. Its ultra-compressed songs blend the savagery of punk rock and the instrumental discipline of metal into diamond-tipped bullets of pure rage, and Kill the Client are one of the best grindcore bands on earth.

Phil Freeman

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