From the bowels of Brooklyn’s heavily irritated, scabbed and crust-filled asshole emerges Skullshitter. A three piece grind-death hybrid who have clawed their way up from their dank, subterranean lair out into our world. Entitled Transmission: Command, this fourteen track, quart of tequila-fueled voyage of hatred isn’t for your passive, part-time admirer of Grind. This should be sought after by the utmost, top-shelf-seeking lovers of defiling filth and animosity for our surface dwelling culture. Perhaps akin to certain works by Agoraphobic Nosebleed and similar explorers of noise-filled hate. Merely in terms of it’s schizophrenic, almost dizzying approach and assault. Without a doubt, Transmission: Command is a head-spinning, terrifying excursion into a violent, anger-filled outlook on life. Upon my initial digestion of this LSD-soaked release, it had me reminiscing of the days when Sound Pollution Records and Vacuum Distribution demanded my every meager teenage paycheck with their catalog.
First off, I am insanely thankful that this band of thrashers chose to not head down the entire Gore/Porno-Grind avenue that, to be honest, can get really old. With a name like Skullshitter, you’d think that’s what you’d be in store for. Instead, they’ve reached into their drug-addled death metal roots and produced a release that has a fetid breath to it that pours out of the speakers. A barrage of noise, shrieks and speed that leave one almost unable to cope with its sheer intensity. Skullshitter wrap their hands around your neck on this release with the strength of a PCP addict and take nothing but morbid delight as they watch the life disappear from your eyes.
From the opening blast of the old-school sounding grind that is “Thirsty Corpse,” one is introduced and forced to adjust quickly to their rapid-fire sound and outrage. All three members provide vocals that snap back and forth between mid-ranged throaty screams, gargled shouts and the low-end, barks and grunts of a tortured lab ape. The blast beats are never restrained, but also never overdone to the point of sounding like drummer Robert Nelson (who also slays behind the kit for CVLT Nation favorites Mutant Supremacy) is a one trick pony. Both Sean Walsh and Ryan Kunimura handle their respective ends of guitar and bass just as well. The bass sound on this release is super heavy and fuzzed out, at times almost dominating over the guitar, a fact that should be noted as it’s helpful in creating a much needed thick, murky layer to the band’s sound. Not to take away from guitar player Walsh, who is all over the fret board, creating a number of squeals and noise-ridden solos that are delivered like an ice pick straight into your eardrum. Certain points on this album, particularly during “Altar/Infinity“ and “Exhaustive Motions,” Walsh really shows some flashes of restrained talent with his chosen weapon of war when faced with the chance to show off. And I mean that in the nicest way possible in regards to his skill and precision in knowing when to drop the hammer.
Artwork by Needles
All three of these sadists seem to gel well together as musicians; each one’s technical skill with their particular instrument adds a definite coating of scum to their sound, a fact that enhances as to what I think they were hoping to achieve when they were stooped over whatever animal they had sacrificed to in order to churn out this beast. This isn’t some garage band who have slapped together thirty seconds of noise. These dudes have been refining their sound for a few years now, and it is clearly on display with this release.
It should also be noted that scattered throughout this album are brilliantly-placed audio samples and effects. Their insertion of these moments adds another texture of shit and grimness to their already established sound. Skullshitter utilize these added effects not to just draw out the length of the album, but to heighten the sense of drug-induced paranoia and fear one spirals into while listening to this release. Perhaps the best of the them is the repeated quote of “Satan was an acid head,” featured on the track “Weed N’ Speed.” A fitting opening that sets the precedent for them to explode yet again on this track. The inclusion of so many clicks, whistles and feedback loops really does make these songs feel like the the inner-workings of a madman finally exposing his damaged core to the rest of the world. Perhaps the best song on this album that proves this point is the final track, “Into The Woods…Transmission: Control,” a straight up, lurching death-metal start that quickly transcends into uncontrollable bouts of madness and frustration, before finally melting down into a noise-filled close that pretty much sums up this release perfectly.
At the end of the day, these Brooklyn animals have delivered a fantastic, hate-filled freshman release. From start to finish, this album sounds like the inside thoughts of an escaped mental patient – at times clear and concise, only to be twisted around as their grasp on the world quickly slips away. Grind isn’t the easiest style of extreme music to pull off. In fact, due to its high velocity approach and sound, it’s often tough to really re-invent the wheel. While I’m not going so far as to say that this album is groundbreaking, it reeks of immense potential for this band’s future output. Transmission: Command is a brutal, vicious and unexpected album that never once stops kicking you while you’re down. Skullshitter have aptly shown with this album that they’re not afraid to push boundaries and fuck faces up. Because at the end of the day, that’s what good grindcore is all about it.