Agoraphobic Nosebleed - PCP Torpedo/ANBRX (Hydra Head 3" CD+CD)
Agoraphobic Nosebleed are extreme, not just in the musical sense of the word but in the literal sense as well. How else do you describe a band who in 2004 dropped a 21-minute, 100-song CD? Or, who originally released "PCP Torpedo" in 1999 on the little-appreciated 6" vinyl format? So Hydra Head has decided to do us all a favor in not only reissuing one of the grindcore band's classics, but packaging it with a remix CD (which, as far as I can tell, is all new material). What's funny about this reissue is that Hydra Head have again adopted for an unconventional format (3" CD) for the album. And why not? It's only 7 minutes long. No sense wasting all that extra CD space. If you know ANb's brand of hyperspeed grind mayhem, you know what to expect. Alternating screamed and growled vocals from three different band members over head honcho Scott Hull (of Pig Destroyer fame)'s ridiculous drum machine programming and maniacal shredding. Total blink-of-an-eye rapid-fire beatdowns. Best cut here is when Hull's Godflesh fanatacism comes to the forefront in the shape of "Doubled Over", which is an apt title if there ever was one. The difference between this track and any given Godflesh one is that this one lasts but 49 seconds.
The other funny thing about this reissue is that the supposed "bonus" remix disc is almost eight times longer than the actual album. Featured here are artists you'll recognize (Merzbow, Vidna Obmana, DJ Speedranch, Justin Broadrick, James Plotkin) and some you won't (Submachine Drum, Hellz Army, Drokz, Auek, Jansky Noise). Some of the artists have zeroed in on one specific ANb track to remix, while others have (presumably) used the whole album as their source material. The big names fare best and the winner, of course, is Merzbow who was born to remix grindcore if his "Agorzbow Merzbleed Mix" here and Discordance Axis remix are to be believed (and they are). Vidna Obmana do a good job tainting ANb's blood with their slooowed down dark ambient textures, conjuring up Burzum's ambient albums in the process. James Plotkin focuses mainly on the vocals for equally chilling and bruising effect in his "Phantomsmasher Mix" while Justin Broadrick really makes ANb sound like Godflesh in the "Flesh of Jesu Mix" - though that's to be expected. If you had played me this song blind I probably would've accused it of being an above-average atmospheric sludge band, since there's so many of those around nowadays. Drokz's two remixes, Hellz Army, Substance Abuse and Dev/Null & Xanopticon's remixes all infuse grindcore with drum (drill? powerdrill?) n' bass with varying degrees of success...best bet are the furious Substance Abuse mixes. If you heard Venetian Snares' "Winnipeg is a Frozen Shithole" EP, you have an idea of what's in store.
This is a nice reissue effort by the Hydra Head label but I'd skip it over unless I was a huge Agoraphobic Nosebleed freak (and if you are, you already have this on vinyl I bet). The remixes are a nice touch, but they're not enough to warrant a purchase on their own merits. If you're new to the band, start with that 100-track EP ("Altered States of America") I was talking about earlier.