Insect Warfare – World Extermination
In 2007, Texas grindcore band INSECT WARFARE quietly released their debut album, World Extermination, before fading into the sunset with little fan fare. Earache Records picked the album up and re-released it to give grind fans another chance to grasp their hands on a great modern grindcore album, inspired by Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, and early Carcass. For 22 minutes, Insect Warfare blazes its way through 20 tracks detailing the downfall of the government, our over-reliance on technology, and beating the shit out of people. The band handles these topics with relative ease, with their music being best described as controlled chaos that sometimes goes off the deep-end.
Loud guitar feedback leads into the frantic “Oxygen Corrosion” and Insect Warfare doesn’t let up for the rest of the album. This is an album made for grind fans and nobody else; you will either love this piece of art or hear nothing but a wall of sound and unintelligible vocals. In the case of the vocals, it is true that they are hard to decipher, but that has always been the case with grindcore. The vocals range from piercing shrieks to powerful stomach-churning growls, and are similar to Kevin Sharpe in approach. Like many of the band’s contemporaries, the lyrics are topical, dealing with everything from the downfalls of the Internet to nuclear destruction to the faults of using religion as a crutch. Having the lyrics in hand helps to better understand the underlying messages Insect Warfare was trying to get across on World Extermination.
While none of the songs come close to reaching the two-minute mark, the band takes time to let each song build towards a thrilling climax. The guitars are pretty straightforward for grindcore, with a brutal tone and relentless pace, save for selected moments where they slow things down for a brief reprise. The riffing in the breakdown of “Enslaved By Machinery” and the thrash-sounding “Human Trafficking” and “Nuclear Deterrence” stand out amongst the chaos, and the album is chock-filled with sections like these to break up the monotony. The drumming is what holds World Extermination together, keeping the album from heading into a safety guard and flying off the interstate. It isn’t just constant blast beats and cymbal work; tasteful fills and slower tempos are prevalent as well.
One’s enjoyment of World Extermination will depend on the listener’s tolerance of grindcore as a genre. No matter how much praise is heaped on the band, it all comes back to the one undeniable fact; this is a no-frills grindcore album that wouldn’t have been out of place a decade ago. With modern bands trading in their sense of songwriting for shallow brutality and lame gimmicks, Insect Warfare’s debut album is a breath of fresh air. While the band may have split up, there is no reason why World Extermination shouldn’t be considered a classic gem in the genre a few years down the line.
By Dan Marsicano