"Infernal Command"

(Selfmadegod 2008)Vöetsek - Infernal Command

It's impossible to talk about "Infernal Command" without bringing up Ami Lawless' throat-grabbing vocal work. She leaves one hell of a footprint on the punk/grind/thrash hybrid by San Francisco quartet Vöetsek. Lawless chews through lyrics with a unique blend of staccato barks, stream of consciousness gargling, and what can only be described as an Eric Cartman impersonation. It may be tough to swallow, but she pulls off a tough performance that many metal vocalists wouldn't even go near. And like it or not, the vicious vocal attack matches the music perfectly.

"Infernal Command" could be considered a grind album, if it weren't for the fact that it doesn't contain a whole lot of actual grinding. More like a grind cocktail with a shot of thrash for a chaser. Sure there's speed, but instead of front to back Ludicrous Speed, there's the slightly milder Warp Speed and even Just Cruising Along and Kicking Your Ass Speed. Some of the best moments on the album are when Vöetsek shift down a gear or two and lock into a groove, like the mid-tempo guitar galloping on "Plagued by the Winds of Conformity" and "Frozen Heart." These surprisingly hooky thrash riffs are all over the place, no doubt a result of the band's hometown music influence seeping into their crusty skins.

True to the grind ethos, only a few of the songs on "Infernal Command" reach the two-minute mark. The result is seventeen doses of feral animosity laced with an old-school metal vibe. The thrash infusion is most welcome, though, as it separates Vöetsek from the blastingly similar members of grind nation.


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