Total Fucking Destruction - _Zen and the Art of Total Fucking Destruction_
(Translation Loss, 2007)
by: T. DePalma (7.5 out of 10)
Fans of the newly re-formed Brutal Truth may not want to hold their breath for new studio tunes just yet, but drummer Rich Hoak and Total Fucking Destruction are still out there providing for all the drug crazed grindcore freaks.

Broken into electric (T), acoustic (F) and live video (D) sections, _Zen and the Art of Total Fucking Destruction_ has the feel of a compilation, not completely unlike the group's first CD, now with ample production that replaces the stringy sound of the earlier demos.

Among the new tracks, "Intense Negative Vibe", "Warfinger" and "We Are All Elvis Now" (discussed by Hoak in these pages two years ago) are surprisingly like Brutal Truth in their jerked riffs and gouging rhythm. "Speed of Noise" and "Mad Pig Disease" develop into post-modern thrash with manic interplay between Hoak and guitarist Paul Herzog, pinching and grooving along into a cover of Terrorizer's "Enslaved by Propaganda" and new versions of "Armed Response" and "Corpse Position" rounding out this first portion.

Unplugged and obscenely cool when following the anthemic "Y.A.R.N. ("Youth Apocalypse Right Now!", with words penned by Carolyn Chernoff of PA punk "band" the Motherfuckin Clash), "Bio-Satanic Terrorist Attack" opens the next set of tracks with a half-sophisticated jazz lounge atmosphere that ends only too soon, with the next several tracks fading into deadpan "indie" music. (Exit 13's _Smoking Songs_ this is not.) The video set was recorded (tons of reverb) at a house party in West Philly, presented here in twelve QuickTime files introduced by Wagner's "Siegfried's Funeral March" and featuring renditions of "Grindcore Salesman" and "Seth Putnam Is Wrong About a Lot of Things, But Seth Putnam Is Right About You" that showcase TFD at their most raucous and intensely farcical.

Contradictions in _Zen_ continuously refresh and blur concepts. Lyrics admonishing drunken assholes and drug-dependant depression are featured alongside a blaring pot leaf and oddly multiplying suffix: Nihilist, Satanist, Anti-Racist, Anarchist and Buddhist all rolled into a fast crackling spliff. It's "everything, all the time" and never clear on what is or is not serious.

There is at least one overarching concern, envisioned inside by artist David Guinn's painting "The Horror", a pandemonium-like portrait of savage brushfires underlining what isn't necessarily a goal, but a portent of the fierce and inevitable end. Other caricatures following suit, as inside a dozen match heads prance madly like charred primitives, contrasted with the cover's grimacing, barbecued monk; faith, hope and security are each charred into a toxic resin, life brought back to zero. "World War IV", it is assured, will be fought "with sticks and stones". Apocalypse again and the joy of pessimism:

"We are all soldiers serving the glory of the corporate world-state in the times of the 4th world war. There is no respect for the individual human, no time, no prisoners, no time like the present for a party, fuck yeah!"

Such rhetoric feels at once silly, satirical and painfully true at heart. Total Fucking Destruction raise their voices, but barely pass for interference (and don't they know it). Resistance is part of the game, but has the outcome already been decided? The lucky we, "soldiers" on the safer side, will keep on laughing and playing along and for long time. By all means, put this in your pipe and smoke it.


(article published 20/4/2007)

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