Grind Your Enthusiasm (2012)
USA, The Nutzz Recordzz, Deathgrind
Pete Chavez is quickly becoming one of my favorite musicians in all of deathgrind’s illustrious history; fresh off his astounding work with Slaughterbox, Chavez is back this year with Slaughterbox guitarist Nick Liuzzi and the vast majority of the band Killgasm delivering comedic deathgrind all inspired by and written about Larry David, the mastermind of both Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. As a huge fan of (almost) everything Larry David does, I have only one thing to say about this release:
Prettaaaaaaaay, prettaaaaaaaaaaay, prettaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay pretty good.
Even as the very definition of a niche product (the vast majority of the humor and lyrical content will only be appreciable to serious Larry David fans) the work put into these songs is nothing to scoff at. As expected, Chavez’s trademark million-mile-a-minute blasts make appearances throughout the release along with (suprisingly enough) a good deal of mid paced double bass workouts that perfectly compliment the crunchy grooves a good deal of the songs are full of. ‘The Larry David Sandwich’ as a for instance begins with a slower, thicker guitar riff that churns like Ted Danson’s stomach at the mere mention of Larry’s whitefish, sable, cream cheese, caper and onion sandwich as Chavez belts out even more of the actually well performed inhale vocals he seems to have mastered. Emperor Kuntslaughter (yes, that’s his actual name on Metal Archives) then takes over to continue the grindcore Curb Your Enthusiasm cliff-notes lyrics, which could have easily been terrible but in the hands of these Californian madmen manage to work exceedingly well. Take perhaps my favorite lyrical stylings on the album from ‘Happy Birthday Ben Stiller’;
‘Fuck you Ben Stiller, it’s not your birthday
You missed it by 2 weeks, try again next year
But you’re so insecure you need the attention
So lets all get together and sing you a fake happy birthday
So Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you
Happy Birthday Ben Stiller, happy birthday to you!
No presents for you because you told me to
And I didn’t shake your hand because you sneezed on it
I can’t assume a dry sneeze, I have to assume wet
I’m glad David Schwimmer wasn’t such a bitch’
I’m sure to the vast majority of metalheads, the lyrics I just posted are the epitome of juvenile nonsense. However, as someone who’s seen every episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm at least three times I can not only laugh at the lyrics themselves but appreciate the context in which they function; Ben Stiller really was quite a dickhole in Season Four, throwing a temper tantrum like a five year old because his shallow nonsense ended up biting him in the ass. (Eye actually. That’ll teach him to not have a skewer tray)
Honestly though, this album’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Given that this is a product only entirely accessible to Larry David fans who also happen to like deathgrind, the amount of people who can fully appreciate what Chavez and co. have done is an even smaller fraction of folks that like either to begin with. On top of that, for as many entertaining and well written tracks ‘Grind Your Enthusiasm’ features (‘The Seinfeld Reunion’, ‘The Big Vagina’, ‘Happy Birthday Ben Stiller’, ‘The Larry David Sandwich’, ‘Second Hand Semen’, ‘Try The Lobster’) there are several I just can’t get behind. (‘Smelly Car’ is perhaps the greatest example of this) This is also not an album that can be played all the time or breaks any records of quality, but it was never supposed to. Larry David was a simple idea to create comedic deathgrind based on two of the greatest comedy shows ever made. As simple as those intentions were, the result is a smashing success.
Is this high art or a new standard of brutality or technicality? Of course not. Is it worth purchasing? That depends; if you’ve not only followed Larry David’s work throughout the years but also enjoy listening to grindcore in your spare time, absolutely. If you’re new to or have never heard of Larry David and are purchasing the album based solely on musical merits, you’ll probably be at least a little disappointed. If you’re at all interested in the band but don’t have the adequate knowledge of Curb Your Enthusiasm, I strongly suggest checking the show out. Seasons 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 are my favorites. Avoid Season 8, it has easily the worst conclusion of any season thus far.
As it stands, ‘Grind Your Enthusiasm’ is a humorous, well crafted joke from a one trick joke band. People who get the joke (like me) will really like it. People who don’t or haven’t gotten the joke should stay away. Hell, the album wasn’t made for them anyways. Sometimes one note outfits are coo’ de lah and sometimes they aren’t. This band was very coo’ de lah…at least for as long as they needed to be.