Even within the realms of Death/Grind, a compilation CD of all of a band’s work that is only eight songs and twenty-two minutes in length is an oddity. A band that plays more on the Death Metal side of things would have a longer playing time, and a band that was more on the Grind side would have way more songs. The U.K.’s Black Mass is somewhere in the middle, playing a form of stripped-down Death/Grind that sounds more than a little bit like old Dismember. The best way to describe Black Mass is to say that they’re just like Dismember, but without any frills. There are no guitar solos, melodic riffs, breakdowns or technical parts. It’s just in-your-face Death/Grind that pulls no punches and it’s about as pretty as getting beaten to death by a steel pipe-wielding psycho. Of First and Last Things hits you hard and it hits you fast. It’s a maelstrom of blasting drums, brutal riffs and corrosive vocals. There are times when I don’t want to dwell on anything other than Metal music that kicks my ass. During those times, something like Of First and Last Things is ideal. It isn’t original or groundbreaking. It doesn’t try to be anything different or unique. It just beats the shit out of you for twenty-two minutes and then leaves.
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