Saturday, June 19, 2010

Exhale: Breathe (2010) Review

Grindcore, the other bastard child of metal and hardcore punk, has never gotten much traction outside of the UK. But every now and then, you've just got to listen to something as fast and aggressive as grind.

Sweden's Exhale is a deathgrind band, a much better style of grindcore because it combines the speed of grind with the brutality of death. Their latest release, Blind, proves that grindcore doesn't have to be just fast noise. Tracks like "Anger" and "Crushed" include slower, much groovier sections, and a few tracks (like "Fools") sound almost death n' roll, in the vein of a sped-up Six Feet Under song. A few, like "Turning Blind", are just downright catchy.

As with any grind, the songs are very short (averaging just under 2 minutes), and the transitions are abrupt. You can be sure they won't lose your attention.

One grindcore cliche is, of course, the use of sound clips, and Exhale doesn't do anything special with them. For example, the one on "Erased" ("think for yourself, question authority") was used by Tool.

(This is the album opener, "Edge". It was the only one I could find on Youtube, but I really wanted to use "Turning Blind".)

The Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised by Blind. It's definitely one of the most compelling grindcore releases I've ever heard. By actually writing good songs before they start grinding, Exhale has earned a 3.5 out of 5 star rating for this album.


  1. I've never been much of a grindcore fan, as you can probably tell from some of my posts. However, there are some bands that I love. Groups like Carcass and Bolt Thrower were grindcore bands early on and that material is just as good, if not better, than their later death metal material. I also like Napalm Death and Misery Index. The plain grindcore, which is far more derivative of hardcore punk than metal, I really don't care for. Groups like Last Days of Humanity and Agoraphobic Nosebleed don't do anything for me. I am interested in checking out Cattle Decapitation and Pig Destroyer but have not gotten around to doing so.

  2. Pig Destroyer is good. I have Phantom Limb, and I'm pleased with it. It's better than Exhale,ultimately, but Exhale is a little more accessible for death fans.