If you’ve been following Grindcore guitar virtuoso Takafumi Matsubara (Mortalized, Gridlink) for more than a few years, you’ve more likely than not heard of the health complications he’s battled. If you haven’t been following him, he dealt with a serious brain infection several years ago, which had the potential to halt his passion of playing guitar. Fortunately, and against advice of his doctors, he persevered and has since come back with a vengeance. Following his jaw-dropping work in Gridlink, Matsubara continues his unrelenting warpath of blistering riff-driven Grindcore. Storming back into the world after a scorching debut in the form of a split with Invidiosus, Retortion Terror brings us another short but sweet collection of ferocious Grindcore. Fair warning, if you have heart problems, you might want to avoid this album.
The riffs are solid, as all Matsubara fans should expect by now, but if you’re unfamiliar with Retortion Terror, please approach this album knowing that this is a bit more straightforward than Gridlink was. The style and particularly the vocals, which resemble Masao Yamamoto (courtesy of Kiyo Nishihara of World End Man), are reminiscent of Grindcore legends 324, which I consider a very good thing as this world is seriously deprived of that style. The songs flow together perfectly, beating the weak to death with bare fists while giving the rest of us Grindcore junkies a rush [presumably] similar to that of methamphetamine’s.
The album is as Grindcore should be – very loud and in your face, yet it remains relatively clear and concise. More importantly, it feels quite a bit more refined than the tracks on the split. The groove has been replaced with a more direct injection of Grindcore, seldom resting to showcase some classic fun-loving Punk attitude, which is beginning to feel like a trademark for Retortion Terror. The vocals have changed, from tortured shrieks reminiscent of Jon Chang, to Nishihara’s hellish growls – although this was to be expected, as Matsubara has previously stated that Retortion Terror will be featuring guest vocalists until they record their first full album. The songs as a whole are a much more venomous and austere blend of Grindcore than I’ve heard from Matsubara yet.
While I enjoy this album thoroughly, I am a bit disappointed by the length of it. It’s unfortunate that we get less than 7 minutes of new material from Matsubara. Alas, it is also better than not having any at all. I could play this album on repeat for quite a while before tiring of it, since there’s more than enough variation in the riffs to keep under 7 minutes of Grindcore interesting for the long haul. To me, this is part of Matsubara’s genius. Nevertheless, the length feels like sipping a glass of single-malt scotch, instead of enjoying the whole bottle. At that, I feel like Retortion Terror is the perfect example of showcasing Matsubara’s recovery from his brain infection, we as fans get to see how his recovery is shaping in the form of his riffs. Given the obvious progression from the split to this EP of not only Matsubara but drummer Nicolas as well, I am very excited to see how the next Retortion Terror material will sound.
Find this one right here!