Antigama have been around for a good while, transmitting grindcore from their native Poland since around the turn of the 21st century. I had come across them a few times over the years and never really stopped to check them out. (I tried once, misremembered their name at the record store and ended up with a Gama Bomb CD but that’s another story.) Their latest is “Stop the Chaos”, out on Selfmadegod.
It’s actually a bit funny: you wouldn’t expect a grindcore band to want to stop chaos… However, a spin through the record reveals that the name is not at all inappropriate. This is an organized, slick recording worthy of the (very attractive) album artwork’s computer hardware motif. On the other hand, no pejorative sense of “slick” is intended; rather, Antigama make grindcore that, sonically at least (I didn’t receive lyrics in the materials for this review) epitomizes that man/machine aura that began to permeate grindcore after its first generation. It’s neither splattergrind nor cybergrind, just a handcrafted, human-polished juggernaut.
“Stop the Chaos” is a quick album, 6 tracks in a little over 15 minutes. I hesitate to call it an EP, though. Given the tradition of brevity in the grindcore genre and the obviously considered composition and sequencing involved it really feels like a mature full length within the milieu that it inhabits. Even though the final track, ‘The End’, is an ambient piece the album doesn’t seem at all truncated; “Stop the Chaos” does what it needs to do and what it feels like it should do in the time that it takes to do it. No more and no less. Give us all of the blasting and none of the boring is the grind commandment that Antigama has obviously learned by heart, and it’s a lesson that aspiring grinders should commit to memory.
Pure, unhyphenated grindcore is one of those genres—like straight-ahead jazz, Texas blues, and tech-death for example—in which aficionados get enjoyment from how an artist executes the shibboleths of the genre, which stay mostly the same year after year. Even though it, like those three example genres, can be dense with instrumentation and sound, the subtleties within the performance that distinguish each artist are what the listener can latch onto and, from there, drill down into what makes the genre’s outstanding practitioners unique and worth his or her ear time.
If you like straight up, high-production-values contemporary grindcore, you should buy “Stop the Chaos”. It’s short and sweet, what have you got to lose?