The Balls in the Great Meat Grinder Collection

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This CD compiles most of Oxbow's first two albums, 1990's Fuckfest and 1992's superior King of the Jews, although it doesn't do a very good job of alerting the unsuspecting listener to this fact -- the two album covers are pictured inside the CD booklet, but the packaging doesn't even list all of the song titles, let alone which ones are from which album. As for the music, by this early stage Oxbow had already developed its own signature, unclassifiable sound, a mix of unhinged punk aggression, trashy blues-rock guitars, odd-timed rhythms, and Eugene Robinson's tormented vocal exorcisms. The sequencing does not give this album the cohesive song-to-song flow of some of the band's later work, but there are several standout moments that make this disc worthwhile to those who are interested in Oxbow and who are also on a budget. Others will find it worth the effort to track down the albums in their original forms or via the late-'90s Fuckfest/King of the Jews reissue on Brinkman Records.