In January 2012, grindcore act Agoraphobic Nosebleed1 recorded a four-minute, 11-song EP to be included as a flexi-disc2 for Decibel magazine’s January 2012 issue. Later released on-line and through Relapse Records,3 A Joyful Noise is pretty much what one expects from a grindcore Christmas album: lyrics such as “his neck in a noose he hung like strange fruit from the Christmas tree” and “inficide, deicide, newborn baby Jesus burned alive,” in addition to certain invectives directed toward Kurt Ballou and Cannibal Corpse.4
There’s a couple points of genuinely interesting commentary – insofar as allowed by twelve-second-long spastic grindcore – on the popularity of RapidShare as a medium for digital piracy, the irony of conglomerate oligopolies patronizing heavy metal à la Scion, and the lack of diversity in modern death metal. Scott Hull & Co. offer up some appreciation for Entombed in “Little Town of Bethlehem,” and the band references their own selling-out via holiday releases in “No Presents This Year.” There’s even a sample of Justin Timberlake’s “Dick in a Box” Saturday Night Live skit at the beginning of “Ghost of Christmas Past.”5
This is a bare-all grindcore release of straight incomprehensibility and overdrive in eleven microsongs; A Joyful Noise is not ANb’s Agorapocalypse or Pig Destroyer’s Phantom Limb, it’s just manic craziness and noise wrapped up in a Christmas present because fuck you.
1. Eyes Like Two Pissholes in the Snow – (0:07) – ★★★★☆
2. Hung Like a Stocking by the Fire – (0:06) – ★★★★★
3. Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag – (0:12) – ★★★it★★
4. Re-Gifted – (0:35) – ★★★is★☆
5. No Presents this Year – (0:12) – ★★★so★☆
6. With a Sniff and a Wink – (0:15) – ★★☆pointless☆☆
7. Re-Wrapped and Re-Gifted Again (by Kazumoto Endo) – (0:34) – ★★★to★☆
8. Frozen Corpse Stuffed with Holiday Cheer – (0:35) – ★★★rate☆☆
9. Ghost of Christmas Past – (0:34) – ★★★individual★☆
10. Christmas through the Years – (0:14) – ★★★grindcore☆☆
11. Little Town of Bethlehem – (0:49) – ★★★songs☆☆
[UPDATE 29 October 2015: Changed the overall rating from four stars to three-and-a-half stars.]
[UPDATE 17 February 2015: Changed the overall rating from three-and-a-half stars to three stars.]
[UPDATE 26 April 2016: Changed the overall rating from three stars to two-and-a-half stars. Wow, four stars? Really, Dylan? Must’ve been really desperate for something to review back then.]
1The fastest band with a drum machine!
2Kind of what it sounds like: a flexible vinyl sheet that contained music the same way as standard records. Typically included in magazines and the like due to their cheap mass production and easy dissemination. I’ve got a 1986 R.E.M. flexi-disc for “Fall on Me.”
3Got my copy for fifty cents on Bandcamp.
4… which is funny, because Agoraphobic Nosebleed recorded a split with the former’s band Converge back in 1999 titled The Poacher Diaries.
5I am almost certainly overthinking this.