Henry Kane – Age of the Idiot Review

It’s been nearly two months since I last wrote a review for a Jonny Pettersson project, so I’m long overdue for another one. I’m beginning to think that we should probably give Pettersson and fellow Swede Rogga Johansson a cool team name like “The Teeming Twins,”  “The Boys of Bounty,” “The Copious Corps,” or my favorite, “The Patriarchy of Profuseness.” These guys put out so much music that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of it. Back in 2017, Eldritch Elitist enjoyed the debut from Henry Kane, Pettersson’s solo death/crust/grindcore project, but unfortunately didn’t have the time to cover followup Age of the Idiot. Well call me a spider crab, because for the second week in a row, I’ve snagged a release from a more experienced and talented writer, greedily scavenging their promos as they fall to the ocean floor1.

Henry Kane is 100% Jonny. He plays all of the instruments and writes all of the songs, and his attitude and effort cannot be questioned. Pettersson’s immense HM-2 riffs undulate over his insane blast beats while his workmanlike death growl spews venom directly into your ears, and it all adds up to 34 minutes of nearly constant violence. The aesthetic has been nailed on Age of the Idiot, and in certain instances, this success moves beyond a mere sound and results in decent songs. “Entrenched in Nihilism” adds a doomy edge to the crusty death/grind and “Keep Us From the Truth” rumbles with the power of Swedeath, and they both stand out from the rest of the pack.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing particularly special about those two tracks, so the fact that they stand out is not a good sign. I’ve listened to Age of the Idiot ten times, and there’s just not much to remember here. There were several spins during which the only track I noticed was the closing punk number “Psykopaten,” a song that doesn’t even belong to Henry Kane but to Swedish punk band Asta Kask. The cover includes some melody and provides some much needed contrast, and I hope Pettersson includes more of this outright punk style into Henry Kane’s formula in the future. Otherwise, what we’re left with is a fairly monotonous, if passionately performed, collection of mostly short grind tracks. Even the inclusion of various stylistic elements like the aforementioned doom passages can’t provide enough variation to make me remember what’s going on here.

Jonny also handles the mixing and mastering on Age of the Idiot and fortunately hits pay dirt in that regard. The record sounds great, embodying the Swedeath buzz we know and love while the blast beats pummel our hopes and dreams into submission. During a passive listen, the production goes a long way to mitigate the lack of memorable tunes as it makes for a satisfying and chaotic background soundtrack. But once my focus narrows down upon the music itself, I feel my eyes begin to glaze over. Fans of the band may find some things to love here, but I find it hard to recommend much other than “Entrenched in Nihilism,” the embedded “Keep Us From the Truth,” and the Asta Kask cover.

After covering the success of the recent Skam release, I was excited to get my hands on some more Swedish death/grind. Unfortunately, Age of the Idiot can’t hold a candle to Sounds of a Disease. While the former is certainly a non-stop bludgeoning, it doesn’t have the dynamic songwriting and memorability of the latter. So far, my experience with Pettersson’s stuff in 2020 has been hit or miss, but I’m hoping that the new Heads for the Dead will bring things back into balance.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Websites: henrykanecrust.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/henrykanegrind
Releases Worldwide: May 22nd, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Overrating Holdeneye! – Steel
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