Originally published in ‘zine issue #15, 1996
Extreme Noise Terror, Grief, and Aus Rotten
The Loft, Baltimore, MD
by Sean “Pellet” Pelletier
Smack dab in the poverty-stricken, crack-riddled, “watch your back” paranoia of the sweltering Baltimore hood hangs a pack of the present age retro-punk imposters that reek of almost everything the true form is against. Yet there is hope—the bare properties of crust punk/grindcore, angst, frustration, chosen alienation from the pig majority, honesty, and gut desire has preserved through one of the form’s founders. Yes, a decade after their formation, Extreme Noise Terror have landed on U.S. shores for the first time! No, not as some financially successful godfather band going through the motions with empty emotion, but in their primal form, spewing off the same aura of raging conviction as in their mid-‘80s G.I.S.M.-, Discharge-, Anti-Cimex-influenced beginnings.
The event was kicked off by Pittsburgh’s Aus Rotten, who warmed up the crowd with a dose of snot-nosed, classic punk. Up for the finale (?) was the severely sedated Grief. By their second slo-mo ditty, all but maybe three of the adrenaline drunk punks had left the building. It’s not that this band totally sucks; they’re just too damn boring for the general un-Valiumed populous. They do play what they play well, especially the painful, wretched vocals, but it’s just not enough to keep anyone’s attention. How ironic was this bill? Three members of the ultra-godly ENT-worshipping Disrupt make up this super-slow, depressive doom ensemble. Grief simply blew off the lack of crowd interest as a badly mismatched bill (punk vs. metal). I think they should’ve stayed in Disrupt (sorry, guys).
Playing a sweaty, graffitied, dirt-floored squat (in true crust fashion), a middle-aged ENT showed the new wave of crusties exactly how the rancid seeds of grindcore had sprouted.
Opening with a new song in the old fashion entitled “Jesus On My Side,” the more-than-legendary and often copied low-end/high-screeching growl-vocalizing tag team of Dean “constant butt smoker” Jones and Phil “dread head” Vane tore through the hot, stagnant air like a shotgun hit of car exhaust. The extremely tight six-member band sped through most of their classic Retro-bution tracks, including “Work for Never,” “Bullshit Propaganda,” “Murder,” and “Lame Brain,” as their obvious influence on the whole crust/grind scene, past and present, was never more evident.
Guitarist/songwriter Pete Hurley, new member/bassist Lee Barrett, Ali Firouzbakht on lead, and drummer Pig Killer (who has since left to be replaced by Cradle Of Filth’s old drummer) pounded through one of the most angry, adrenaline-soaked displays of power with youthful aggression and precision I’ve seen. The crowd was freaked!
After Phil called the “crust heads” on their puzzling desire for a rock ‘n’ roll encore, the band paid tribute to one of their aforementioned influences by slamming forth a Discharge cover.
The long 10-year wait was well worth it. Let’s hope one of the true fathers of the genre finds the success they deserve—and another U.S. tour—soon! ■