It would be fair, to the uninitiated, to write off a band with a moniker, that is so deliberately obtuse, decidedly antagonistic and damn right comedic, as a joke, non-serious, detritus that belongs in the same bucket of slop as say Anal Cunt, Tenacious D, Cannabis Corpse or possibly Municipal Waste. Bands that have subjugated a certain genre of music and used it to poke fun at said style of music, with a knowing wink to their audiences, saying …isn’t this fun? And before you go off on one, I will say that all four bands above, are fine (mostly) musicians and even in some cases have produced live, if not recorded output, of relative merit. So, where does this leave San Gabriel Valley’s ACxDC AKA Antichrist Demoncore?
With a sparsely populated back catalogue that suggests longevity but only really only amounts to one full length effort in 2014, alongside a myriad of EPs and split efforts, it would be tempting, given they are lumped into the so called Power Violence genre, which is a genre not known for self-depreciation or humour (Nails, I am looking at you), that this their second full length effort, could be an introspective, humourless collection of songs featuring super distorted guitars, thunderous drums and growled vocals. Even more so considering that members of the band are vegans and/or Straight Edge AND Satanists (again some would argue a collection of demographics (certainly some aspects of the SX and Santanic community), perhaps not known for their sense of joie de vivre), then you really have a complex and conflicted menagerie of socio, political and musical tropes that seem at odds with but conversely also complimentary.
After reading old interviews with ACxDC vocalist Sergio Amafitino and his twin brother and guitarist Brian, it would be doing ACxDC a disservice to judge a book by its (admittedly convoluted and confusing) cover. In fact, this new collection of songs, on this their second full length album, ‘Satan Is King’, takes a page for Jello Biafra’s Dead Kennedy’s playbook of basically ripping the piss out of anything and everyone whilst keeping their own counsel when it comes to their own political, musical and religious opinions.
What ACxDC also does, alongside not taking themselves too seriously, is deliver a terrifyingly brutal collection of songs, that swagger, grind and kick like recently hung cartel informer from a Juarez underpass. Despite being lumped into the Power Violence genre (which given some of the musical oeuvre on display here is fair enough) there is so much more on offer here whether you consider it to be hardcore, screamo, spazzcore, metalcore, metal, grind…it speeds up, slows down like a knackered waltzer at your local fair. Album opener ‘Singe’ doesn’t just explode out of the blocks, it picks up the blocks, feeds them into its own anus, sideways, and shits them out in a beautiful rainbow of faecal hues. It’s pure, overdriven, horrible grindcore that gives you a tingle down your spine and a lovely dose of dopamine to your frontal lobe.
I am not one for a song by song precis but one of the last songs on offer here ‘Urban Blight’, is a perfect example of this, blast beats rain down like a April shower, before segueing into a growling, grinding road of riffs that will crush your bones to jelly before speeding back into the Nasum esq mayhem.
Knowing the etymology behind ACxDC, just adds a frisson of enjoyment to what, even on its own musical merits, (which if we’re being honest we should judge all works on but this rarely happens as we carry our own musical and political peccadilloes around with us like an oversized sports bag), Satan Is King is a utterly devastating collection of songs that are an absolute cavalcade of brilliance from start to finish. The production is crisp and huge, straying onto the peripheries of being overly distorted and overdriven that is a hallmark of this genre but it’s not overused nor cultivated you feel. This is an absolute fucking banger of an album and given I very narrowly beat most of the reviewers on this magnificent site to review this, suggests that this album is a very hotly anticipated release. Each song blasts away like a teenage boy finding free online porn for the first time, swaying this way and that, flailing, punishing, slaying, pulverising, smashing…just about rendering most things I’ve heard this year into insignificant blobs of jelly. Hyperbole? Maybe. Being confined to barracks with the family, without much social interaction could well have swayed a few of my previous reviews of late to being unapologetically positive, but, with this album, it’s not a state of mind. It’s just simple pragmatism. Satan is King, absolutely slays on all levels under whatever metal or musical conventions you’d care to name. I defy anyone, with even a modicum of musical taste, to find ANYTHING wrong with this album.
(10/10 Nick Griffiths)