They hail from the historic medieval city of Braşov in Romania, and create their own ambitious brand of grindcore which blazes with unrestrained expression. Coins as Portraits' debut album, 'Form and Structure. Storm and Fracture.', while bilious and complex, is fresh and physically engaging.
At first I wonder how the band manages to remember the polymorphous arrangements, but with repeated listens I find myself grabbing onto the rail for a dizzying, sometimes uncomfortable ride. When the raging grind stops for breath, the guitars churn in strangulated, atonal disorientation. If you're after melody, you're going to have to work for it; 'The Human Predicament Part II's brilliantly demented charge attacks your temples with bass like a swarm of angry wasps, then briefly gets all emotional before finishing you off with corrosive avant-noise. 'Solipsism' is a consummate vanishing point that perfectly utilises the dual vocal assault of possessed scream/deep growl against the more elaborate backdrop, which includes a disconcerting finger-clicking jazz stroll.
On examining the lyric sheet (obviously required), the words appear to be a highly literate exploration of identity and control (highlight: “I always laugh when you fail to realise your values are worthless in the contractual circumstances that have been created by historically correct events”). They often read like self-accusatory speeches, and it's cool to see this level of intellect and consideration at work, rather than resorting to overused inflammatory soundbites and slogans. Highly recommended for those in need of a jolt out of lethargy.
Posted: Mon 16 January 2012