The Berzerker

The Berzerker

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When one looks past the fact that the Berzerker (a group rather than an individual) perform in monstrous costume and focus strictly on their music, it becomes apparent that they are producing some relatively exciting grindcore for 2000. A second-wave Earache band, obviously influenced by the first-wave Earache bands -- Napalm Death, Carcass, Godflesh, Morbid Angel -- the Berzerker breathe much-needed new life into the insular grindcore genre by incorporating what appear to be industrial-tinged drum machine beats rather than traditional drums in an attempt to take grindcore to faster and more brutal extremes -- an impressive accomplishment given grindcore's already ridiculous extremes. So with this incorporation of mechanical percussion, the songs on this eponymous debut come off as a cross breed of classic early-'90s grindcore and late-'90s gabba, an almost self-mocking style of hardcore techno that pushes the bpm level to ultra-jackhammer levels. Of course, with such an exploitative approach to making music, it would seem as if the Berzerker's music comes off as contrived, and for the most part, it does. But there are many moments when it's easy to overlook how gimmicky this band is (and don't forget that they wear costumes!), and it is during this moments when the sheer reckless abandon of their music crosses the line from a contrived formula to raw aggression quite unlike anything else. It is these hints of substance that separate the Berzerker from their overly theatrical peers in Gwar.

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