This CD gathers a bunch of recordings made by Swedish trio Asterisk* between 1999 and 2001, giving latecomers a convenient chance to catch up on one of the most innovative grindcore bands in recent years. Included are the 23-song Dogma I: Death of a Dromologist LP, eight songs from a split 7" with Nasum, five songs from a split 10" with Jenny Piccolo, and three more songs from a Swedish grindcore compilation, plus a Queen cover recorded for the 31G tribute compilation Dynamite With a Laserbeam. Asterisk* proves here that the grindcore genre is far from spent, that is, as long as bands are willing to do more than regurgitate old Carcass and Napalm Death riffs and instead look outside the genre for new cues. One interesting thing about the band is the guitar work, which stabs through the speakers with a raw, clanging, percussive sound that has as much to do with post-punk bands like the Fall or the Ex as it does the usual grind reference points -- so much that when the guitars do veer into a death metal or Slayer-inspired riff, it actually stands out as something atypical. The mostly minute-or-less songs are also peppered with such unexpected touches as piano and music box interludes, techno beats, Ruins-esque fretboard angularity, and electronic noise passages (there's even a Woody Allen excerpt before one song). Meanwhile, the allusions in the liner notes to folks such as writer Paul Virillo, Magma bassist Jannick Top, and minimalist composer Arnold Dreyblatt give some more ideas of the band's far-flung inspirations. The highlight of it all may be the cover of Queen's "Ogre Battle," which juxtaposes the song's flamboyant '70s hard rock riffing with the band's own face-melting grindcore attack. And make no mistake, for all the diverse reference points, the focus here is still squarely on the grind (squeamish listeners should take note that these songs contain probably some of the harshest high-pitched vocals ever laid to tape). The classy artwork layout by Jon Chang (Discordance Axis) completes the package of this must-hear release for anyone interested in modern grindcore or noise rock. Awesome.
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AllMusic Review by William York