When American rock fans travel abroad and check out the music scenes of European countries, they often come across talented artists who are little-known in the United States. And in many cases, it isn't because of the language barrier -- Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and other European countries are full of rockers who perform in English exclusively. That lack of U.S. exposure is usually a case of artists recording for European labels and having limited distribution in North America. Italy's Cripple Bastards, who have been around since 1988, are a perfect example of a European band who has enjoyed a European cult following but isn't well-known in the U.S. -- which can be attributed to the fact that many of their releases have only come out in Europe. Recorded in 2002, Desperately Insensitive is an exception. This Cripple Bastards CD has been widely distributed in North America -- and for U.S. listeners, it isn't a bad introduction to the Italian band. Desperately Insensitive combines '80s-style hardcore with elements of grindcore and death metal; the lyrics (some of which are very sociopolitical) have a punk outlook, whereas Giulio the Bastard's demonic, larynx-shredding vocal style is more typical of the grindcore and death metal/black metal fields. Giulio renders the lyrics difficult to understand without the lyric sheet, which is regrettable because the Bastards have a lot on their minds. The title track, for example, is about the post-communist turmoil that has plagued the former Yugoslavia. But sonically, Desperately Insensitive is appealing if you're in the mood for high-speed sensory assault. The Bastards' ferocious, mosh pit-friendly metal/punk attack is an acquired taste, certainly, but those who have a taste for the extreme will find this CD to be exhilarating -- shortcomings, flaws, and all.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson