The final tack on Grizzlor’s new release, the 7-song, almost-10-minute flash-fuck “Cycloptic”, shows the band as close as I think they’ll ever come to betraying an otherwise constant posture of revulsed pessimism. The song is entitled “Starship Mother Shit,” and, like Black Sabbath’s own album closer “Into The Void,” finds the band ready to leave this planet behind so it may wither into disease-ridden oblivion at the hands of its detested overlord scum and even further detested constituencies of mindless peons. So yeah, if it’s optimism then it’s the most scathing and ironic optimism that one might imagine, but nonetheless it’s the only time I can think of that this band has sounded like they’re looking forward to something.
Elsewhere, this album – and in fact Grizzlor’s entire catalog – reads like a laundry list of the things they revile. Lazy Sundays, visits with Grandma, cold weather – anything is fair game! And while the vocals are processed and buried to such an extent that lyrics are often indiscernible, Grizzlor’s whole sound never fails to exude a perpetual attitude of sickened disapproval.
As shallow an insight as this might sound, a near-stunning facet of this album is its brevity. The longest song on here is 1:51, the shortest 0:38, and in total we’re talking about a minute count that’s in the single digits. And as strange, or even as frustrating as that might sound from a listener’s point of view, it works. It provides a kind of structural complement to the angular, lazily confrontational, and condescending quality of their lyrics and their sonics; they give just enough of a shit about you to offer a whopping nine minutes and change of noise, and as you sit through it there’s not a chance in hell that you’ll be given the opportunity to settle into anything resembling comfort. Because you don’t deserve it.
Which is not to say that these songs aren’t listenable – in fact they’re enjoyable! Just not in a “turn on, tune in, drop out” kind of way. There are plenty of great riffs on here, and some of them even groove – check out “Sundays Are Stupid,” “Life’s a Joke,” and “Winter Blows” – they just don’t stick around long enough for you to drop your guard and just, ya know, rock out, MAN. They start and they stop, they get broken in half by garbled voice samples, they constantly displace their own rhythms, and at all points they challenge you to keep up. This album is best digested as a continuous work, bursting at the seams with more wonderful little surprises than should ever fit in so short a timeframe, and producing a strangely endearing effect of cacophony that will make future listens more rewarding (not to mention funnier).
There’s an old Buddhist concept known as “Dukkha,” which is widely interpreted as suffering, but if translated literally actually signifies “a wheel out of kilter”. If the wheel on your wagon is out of kilter, you’ve got a bumpy ride ahead. And because most bumps are unwelcome, it’s going to be a mostly uncomfortable ride, but every now and then you’re gonna hit a bump which feels good, which is fun in the same way that a roller coaster is fun. Buddhist teaching tells us to avoid the Dukkha because fleeting moments of fun never justify lifetimes of discomfort. With “Cycloptic,” Grizzlor begs to differ.