Feed the silage of Napalm Death, Rotten Sound and Cephalic Carnage (the grindier bits) to the cow of creativity, and Cattle Decapitation will likely have something to say about your heinous animal cruelty. But survive their wrath, and one to three days later this noble beast will reward your sadism by passing quite the musical meadow muffin. Believe it or not, this exact scenario has recently occurred: New Jersey newcomers Organ Dealer performed the bovine bothering and are now presenting the resulting ejecta as their debut record, Visceral Infection. Or at least I assume this is what happened – I’ve never come across the band before and only have limited information to go on. I like my version of events, mainly because it’s so realistic but also because it gave me an excuse to spend half an hour looking up synonyms for stool. But that’s enough of scat. Let’s investigate the music, shall we?
When a record’s opening track bears the label “Intro” I generally assume it will waste my time and contribute nothing towards my enjoyment of the rest of the album, especially if that track opens a death or grind platter full of gory song titles (oh hooray, more tedious B-movie horror samples!). Fortunately Organ Dealer are not the sampling types, and their “Intro” is instead a decent ninety seconds of instrumental Earth Crisis worship. This is about as calm as Organ Dealer get – the remainder of the record is all furious death/grind. Only four of the twelve tracks break the two-minute mark, and they pack in an impressive number of riffs over the course of the album’s brief twenty-minute runtime.
After the groovy opening instrumental, “KPC_Oxa48” (a type of drug resistant infectious bacteria, apparently) introduces the main elements of Organ Dealer‘s sound, switching abruptly between violent blastbeats, off-kilter rhythms and aggressive breakdowns. This approach is repeated across the album’s twelve tracks, with the sudden shifts keeping you on your toes and adding to the chaos and confusion. The downside is that the tracks are practically indistinguishable – there are no structural features to grab hold of, and the riffs are largely interchangeable. The slightly longer tracks are the exceptions to this rule: “Anencephaly” has a crawling, atmospheric middle section, “The Creeper” features some nice dual guitar work and while the best song title is used up early on (“The Pear of Anguish”), the best riffs are saved for album closer “Small Talk.”
The performances and production are as one would expect from a modern grindcore release: extremely tight and hyper compressed. Guitarists Jeffrey Knoblauch and James Stivaly negotiate the often complex riffing with aplomb, but it would have been great to hear more rhythmic interplay and experimentation between them. If you’re a grind band with two guitarists you should really make the most of it. The vocals are extremely aggressive but rather monotonous, with Scott Moriarty’s consistent high bark only occasionally complemented by lower-pitched backing vocals. While the mix is good, with the band managing to sound simultaneously clear and chaotic, the dynamic range is very low. This increases the sense of claustrophobia, but the spasmodic riff changes would have had more impact if the volume had been allowed to fluctuate between them.
Despite its flaws, this is a fun record and a promising debut that will keep grind fans happy. Organ Dealer will no doubt be pleased they’ve found a magic cow that shits good music; my only suggestion would be to vary the critter’s diet a little before offering us more of its ordure.