Review – No One Knows What The Dead Think: NOKWtDT [s/t]

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  • Bio: "No One Knows What the Dead Think is Newtype grindcore." - Facebook
  • Label: Willowtip Records
  • Release Date: September 20th, 2019
  • Genre: Grindcore
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

No One Knows What the Dead Think is “the definitive ending to the piloted bullet hell grind album series started in 1992” according to the accompanying press release for their self-titled debut album. The statement refers to Discordance Axis, the underground grindcore powerhouse from East Brunswick, New Jersey, and how it essentially ends the journey vocalist Jon Chang and guitarist/bassist Rob Marton started way back in the day before the act called it a day in 2001. The two are joined by ex-Cohol drummer Kyosuke Nakano to make this finale a reality, unleashing a roughly eighteen minute long aural assault through Willowtip Records. But does it hold up to the legacy of the member’s involved, or does it fail to hold a candle to the previous works?

If you’ve heard the prior releases from the trio, then you have a good idea of what to expect. What lies in store is a visceral grind assault that simply doesn’t hold back. “Yorha” introduces a slow, mathematical start to the descent into chaos that is to come, letting everything steep with some infectious grooves intertwined with machine gun blast beats and screaming that will get the veins in your head popping along. “Sayaka” is another offering of pure speed and enthusiasm that jump starts the intense climax that take the band back to the unrestrained nature of the style before the brief moment of reflection of “Red Echoes” brings things full circle with a fantastic rendition of the Discordance Axis original “Dominion” as a proper send off.

Thankfully, that’s not all. “Autumn Flower” does put an emphasis on those grooves once more, but this time putting a strong focus on the bass presence to add a blunt edge to everything surrounding the bout of unbridled rage about a minute-and-a-half in. With an early establishment of the extent this band is capable of going with their fury, it is comforting to know they don’t rely solely on this level of face melting hysteria. In fact, “Dagger Before Me” takes that manic expression and slows it down to a fairly creepy tone with a mechanical precision that does get a bit exhausting by the end. Of course, it’s basically a speed bump given the serrated execution, technicality, as well as bouts of melody that drive “Cinder” into the hearts of grind fans everywhere.

As a whole, this is both an impressive start and appropriate end to the legacy left behind unfinished. Nine tracks with a great amount of variety and only one semi-dull moment being the conclusion of “Dagger Before Me” dragging on a bit too long makes for one hell of a grinding experience prior to what is essentially a hard reset with the cover of “Dominion” from the Discordance Axis days. It also doesn’t hurt the album was recorded by Kevin Antreassian of The Dillinger Escape Plan to ensure the intensity is captured in full. So if you miss the days of the underground legends that put this album together, then No One Knows What the Dead Think is something fans of grind will want to seek out immediately.

Digital review copy of this release provided by Willowtip Records