Genre: Grindcore | Label: To Live A Lie
Location: Victoria, BC| Listen: Bandcamp
From the sleepy island city of Victoria comes Six Brew Bantha, a hyper fast grindcore band, who have made their mark on the international grindcore scene through relentless touring and plenty of recorded material. “Blight” is the third album from these Canadian grinders, and it continues their trajectory with improved production and more intricate songwriting. Seeing as Victoria is only a province over from me, Six Brew Bantha have been on my radar for many years, and I’ve had the pleasure of watching them grow across numerous live performances. I can safely say that “Blight” is the best Six Brew Bantha release yet.
Six Brew Bantha’s albums are all short, this one clocking in at under 18 minutes. There are only six tracks here, meaning they have longer duration than usual, but don’t let that fool you – all the elements that has made the band great in the first place are still present. “Blight” plays out as one continuous piece of music, as there aren’t really any stops between tracks (aside from flipping the record), and upon further listening, the band brings back certain riffs and plays out variations on them throughout the record. There is quite a lot of guitar wizardry going on here, with riffs being all over the place, incorporating fast dissonant chords, tremolo picked patterns, and just being overall chaotic. Seeing as the band consists of only a vocalist, guitarist, and drummer, the latter two are incredibly locked in together, with the drums being equally as bombastic and varied. There’s plenty of hyper speed blasting, but just an overall insane drum performance all around the kit. There’s breathing room here, like on the end of “They Talk, We Die,” with a little more space between notes, but it still sounds pretty fast. Things get pretty spastic at times too, with some incredibly tight start/stop riffs that seemingly come out of nowhere and lead to the next part. The vocal performance lives up to the intensity of the music, and has enough variation in different kinds of screams that they aren’t monotonous.
As much as the songwriting has improved on this record, the production on this record is noticeably better than their previous two LPs. Recorded by Cody Baresich (of Iskra), he has handled much of Six Brew Bantha’s recording in the past, but has shown a huge leap in his audio engineering skills. Despite having no bassist, the band sounds full and heavy, and there’s a lot of clarity between the guitars and drums. The clarity achieved with such high speed drumming is impressive, especially since there is no modern typewriter trigger sound to be heard. In preparation for this review, I ended up listening to the other full lengths after listening to this one, and although I thought those records sounded pretty decent when they came out, it is a stark contrast with what was achieved on “Blight.”
Fans of more recent grindcore bands like Death Toll 80k, Insect Warfare, and P.L.F. ought to look into Six Brew Bantha if they haven’t already. “Blight” is their best record to date, and hopefully it won’t be their last, as the band is currently on hold at the time of writing this review. They’ve long been a staple of the Canadian grindcore scene, and as such, I made sure to buy this record when I saw them perform it in its entirety around the time of release, and I’ll never forget that set, with this record serving as a great way to recall it.