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Quick Review: ASPHALT GRAVES The New Primitive

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Not many people can claim to be a bonafide death metal scholar. However, in the case of Jason Netherton, best known for his role as the bassist and vocalist for deathgrind titans Misery Index, the title is rather appropriate, considering the extensive tome he wrote and published two years ago about the underground death metal scene, entitled Extremity Retained. If you haven't read it, I implore you to do so, as the anecdotes found throughout are both insightful and entertaining.

Netherton has long been a workhorse within the underground death metal scene, gaining notoriety during a stint in Dying Fetus before forming Misery Index, and now, perhaps out of a desire to pay homage to death metal and grindcore bands of old, Netherton has teamed up with several other prominent musicians within the metal scene to form Asphalt Graves, whose debut full-length, The New Primitive, is a 25-minute crash course in how to do deathgrind right.

In addition to Netherton, Asphalt Graves features within its ranks current GWAR guitarist Brent Purgason, guitarist Adam Faris, and former ex-The Black Dahlia Murder skinsman Shannon Lucas. If this sounds like a potent line up capable of making destructive little ditties, well, that's because it is. In true old school fashion, most of the songs on The New Primitive bludgeon and bruise for no more than a minute and a half and are packed with feral riffs that are sharp enough the peel the skin from one's bones. A few succulent grooves can be found here and there, but mostly, this is a "blast and play fast" affair that does exactly what it set out to do, which is summon the spirit of the kindling death metal movement in the early '80s.

Stylistically, it's hard not to compare Asphalt Graves to Misery Index, considering the fact that Netherton's fingerprints are all over these songs, but it's less of a rip off and more an "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" deal. These songs could have easily been written by Misery Index, but that's beside the point; Asphalt Graves are obviously a band paying homage to the makers and shakers of the early death metal scene (similar to what Gruesome is to early Death), and on The New Primitive, they've done their death metal and grindcore forefathers proud, even if it is a bit too "tried and true" by modern standards. Blast loudly and be bludgeoned.

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Score: 7/10

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