I wouldn’t say I trust Relapse’s output across the board, despite them having an alumnus of extreme artists that is practically second to none, but picking this up on vinyl dirt cheap with that label badge was a chance I was happy to take, despite knowing nothing of the band.
And that faith was duly rewarded with an excellent example of what they do so well; bringing us death/grind that is above average and out of the ordinary. In fact, plain exciting, as from the off Columns is aural assault and battery.
There is little breathing space, no standing still, the raging riffs hit then move on to the next with no ceremony. The guitar tones are suitably filthy and heavy to provide power that gives it the crossover into some older school chugging death vibes. There’s a precision to the music and the harshly guttural vocals that almost reaches Deicide standards, but the album rapidly evolves into something more eclectic if still extreme. The swift change is inevitable given the songs averaging about 2 minutes each but they can seem longer as there’s a lot of strong structure and variety within them.
Into the mix comes more raw shouted vocals and punchy riffing that brings Black Breath to mind, but the explosive speed interspersed between owes more to the blackened metallic hardcore tinged stuff of the likes of Nails. There’s even an occasional touch of anguished almost spoken word over the threatening feedback squalls, but you never lose the impression that this is coming from some seriously pissed off people. Towards the end there’s even a flavour of a Godflesh-style crushing dirge. This overall combination could be termed (god forbid!) death core but the impression I get is that it has come from a different set of fierce ingredients, a less contrived perspective, more the expansive invention of latter day Napalm Death.
Melted together makes for a pleasing, rabidly aggressive, beast of an album.