After helping originate the sound of grindcore in the late '80s alongside other U.K. bands such as Napalm Death and Carcass, Extreme Noise Terror meandered on, eventually releasing Retro-Bution in 1995. Over the course of the five to eight years since the group's earliest experiments with the grindcore sound -- captured best on their Peel Sessions album -- little had changed. The band's peers had mostly moved on to other styles and new sounds by the mid-'90s, but Extreme Noise Terror stuck to traditional grindcore for Retro-Bution. Pete Hurley, Ali Firouzbakht, and Lee Barrett still distort their detuned guitars to insane levels and play shredding, machine-like riffs that lock into painful grooves of grinding tones. Pig Killer remains true to his name, carrying out his assaulting machine-gun percussion blasts, while the group's signature vocalist duo of Dean Jones and Phil Vane still trade off their occasionally harmonious rabid barks on the many featured self-penned odes to nihilism. The duo's lyrics may not be decodable, but song titles such as "Third World Genocide," "Pray to Be Saved," "Bullshit Propaganda," and "We Are the Helpless" allude to their views. Anyone still looking for more classic grindcore sounds with the same old motifs doesn't need to look any farther than this album; it retains nearly everything that defined classic albums such as Napalm Death's From Enslavement to Obliteration, including poor sound quality. But anyone looking for grindcore's next step will need to look elsewhere because Retro-Bution sounds like an album from 1990 rather than 1995.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier