Grind can be hard to get right; do you go for murky, unintelligible malevolence or do you go for a more mechanical, methodical kind of violence? European noisemakers Implore’s response is clearly both and what follows is a tour de force of violence and hatred informed by vocalist Gabriel Dubko’s disdain for society and humanity, condensed into debut full-length Subjugate.
Opener ‘Birth of an Era’ opens with silence, morphs into feedback and then takes a sledgehammer to the quiet, going for the jugular and refusing to let up. Massive riffs abound at the two minute mark and the song then ends in feedback again. Midway point ‘Patterns to Follow’ is an utter monstrosity, boasting heaviness to level city blocks. Opening innocuously enough – or at least as innocuous as grind can be – before lurching into a whirlwind, Gothenburg tinged chorus that flattens all in its path. It all comes full circle around the 2.30 mark, descending into instrumental madness before abruptly dissolving into feedback. Closer ‘Gazing Beyond’ is a summary of all that before, one last steel toe capped kick to the cranium before closing in a haze of feedback.
Given the preceding violence, following track ‘Ecocide’ is jarring, featuring hazy, meandering guitars and rhythm topped by a spoken word passage, but it serves almost as an interlude without robbing the album of momentum, allowing a short reprieve from the ever-grinding violence Implore excel at.
Subjugate is more refined and technical than it initially lets on; there are flourishes, even guitar solos in the mix, something hard to imagine on a grind or hardcore album but managed with aplomb here. There are nods to Nails, Converge and of course godfathers of grind Napalm Death, as well as clear influence from a whole host of subgenres with hints of melodeath, doom, sludge and old school death metal all thrown into the blender. Despite the disparate influences, Implore manage to meld something special. My main gripe with the album is that it is a little derivative at times and the spoken word interlude of ‘Ecocide’ feels unnecessary, two minutes of filler when the typical length of such albums certainly don’t lend themselves to such.
Lengthwise, Implore don’t mess about – most tracks barely go over two minutes, and longest track ‘Patterns to Follow’ doesn’t even clock the four minute mark. The album flies by in a maelstrom of unrestrained misanthropy, riffs and filth-encrusted grind. The production sells the evil vibe, sounding monstrous and cavernous whilst retaining clarity. The guitars are thick, crusty slabs ; the drums are sat in the middle of the mix so not to overpower on their own – the album does plenty enough of that itself – and the vocals are similarly placed without being lost in the chaos and the bass is fuzzy but audible, lending serious low end rumble to this aural wrecking ball.
Frankly, Subjugate is a damn good album; there’s massive amounts of talent here and the melding of subgenres works when fed through Implore’s take on grind. Its occasionally derivative nature aside, this is an album that goes for the throat and doesn’t let go, ripping and snarling its way through its runtime.
Standouts: Birth of an Era, Patterns to Follow