Review: Terminal Nation – Absolute Control
Written by Tim Dion
The chant may only be on one track, but the crushing relentless of its message can be felt throughout the album. How does one describe under fifteen minutes of pure fury that spans several genres and features hardcore two-steps, volatile grinding, and even sludge riffs?
Following in the footsteps of many notable bands in the powerviolence and grindcore genres, Terminal Nation has managed to successfully take riffs influenced by Napalm Death and grooves partial to Cro-Mags and created a concoction of domination. However, unlike many of their grind counterparts, they have managed to create a rift within their listener that compels the need to experience it live. Marching rhythms intertwined with gang chants and hardcore elements are far more prevalent in ‘Absolute Control’ than your average grindcore act, leaving the listener ready to grab the mic and growl along. Even more surprising, tracks like ‘Violator Violated’ have full blown breakdowns, adding more live force and leaving them ready to shake any stage they’re on.
Of course, Terminal Nation ensures there’s no shortage of spontaneous grinding that was so prevalent on their earlier releases, gratifying every thrasher’s sweet tooth. Tracks like ‘Numb to the Pain,’ ‘War In the Name,’ and ‘Hand That Feeds’ all bring crushing speed and explosiveness to the table, while tracks like ‘Absolute Power, Absolute Control’ borrow heavily from early 90’s sludge and thrash riffs, inadvertently causing almost anyone to nod their head. Paying homage to the greats like Slayer, Carcass, and Terrorizer, Absolute Control will easily find its home in a playlist with any 80’s and 90’s thrash and grindcore.
Instrumentally, Terminal Nation is a very talented band. Like most grindcore bands, drums take the forefront whenever the songs increase rapidly in beats per minute, including several high-speed fills, inexorable blasts, and metronome like D-beats. There are also several well-written guitar riffs that pop their head out when in the clear, such as in ‘Assembly Line’ and the end of ‘War in the Name.’ They also pay some special attention to the bass, featuring multiple solo bass grooves and a bass guitar that can be easily heard on every song, adding a powerful kick to each track.
While the shorter album works well for a brief show or a display of the band’s talent and song-writing ability, it leaves much to be desired. The album may have benefited from half a dozen more tracks and extending the album length beyond the 20-minute mark. While releasing short albums may certainly be a stylistic option for the artist, releasing less than 10 minutes of brand new music leaves you somewhat disappointed and yearning for more by the time you reach the end.
Terminal Nation has found their niche and has put forth a logical follow-up to their last album, Waste, and their 2016 Promo, maturing in many aspects, but not losing the grittiness that their listeners crave. Utilizing the heaviest elements of both fast and slow music, they have released a punishing short album that demands respect as soon as it’s put on the stereo. 9/10