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Thursday, June 12, 2008

CD Review: Third Degree - Punk Sugar

Third Degree - Punk Sugar
2008 Selfmadegod Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.



One thing about Poland; their underground chews with sharpened incisors set to a bit-grinding crunch tempo that has nearly become a definitive resonance all to their own. Vader and Behemoth are Poland's two most-recognized metal destructors, and along with Morbid Angel and Napalm Death, they have churned a tumultuous strain of grind-happy thrash acolytes throughout Poland such as Antigama, Decapitated, Dies Irae and Aion.

Now that you have the right sound conjured up in your mind, let's dick around a bit and introduce some punk and hardcore chugs and riffs amidst the core script of blast beat rhythms and headache-inducing yowls. Welcome, then, to Third Degree's Punk Sugar!

If you're familiar with the deathgrind band Herman Rarebell (not to be confused with the ex-Scorpions slammer, of course), you'll recognize guitarist Szymon Czech, who has split his time in Rarebell and of course Third Degree, even taking time out to produce Antigama along the way. The spiraling chaos that is Herman Rarebell is minutely reflected in Third Degree, the latter of whom has been in the game since 1997. If there's anything Czech brings out of Rarebell to Third Degree these days, it's the tendency to explode with gleefully obnoxious crunch, as evidenced by Punk Sugar's "Where is the Consummation?" or the hilarious eight-second screech salute of "So Long Bastards" and the ten-second blast furnace that is "Manipulation."

Otherwise, Third Degree harnesses the inherent double-timed rowdiness of grind (somtimes sounding dead-on like Vader) with perhaps more discipline and certainly more groove with fierce punk-mindedness on "From Simple Punks," "Thoughts," "Twelve Millions" and their Monty Python-heralding "...And Now Something Completely Different."

At times vocalist Piotr Bartczak sounds like a mad-as-hell-and-not-taking-it-anymore Jaz Coleman, while most of the time he simply barks and screams like someone set his pubes on fire. At the time of this writing, however, Third Degree has a new vocalist in the fold, Jarek Mielczarek. In response, Third Degree's rhythm section winds and punishes with mostly-unrelenting speed on tracks like "Millenium of Recycling Christ" and "Surrounded by Victims." Constantly weaving jacked-up double-timed algorithms with occasionally straying beat bobs, Punk Sugar is a pretty creative mix of Vader Meets Killing Joke Meets The Exploited. Certainly nothing saccharine in these guys' cotton candy...

Rating: ****

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