Oh my, what a compilation. "Everything is Fake!" holds nearly 80 minutes of music from 28 different bands from all around the World. The compilation's main unifier is the bands' relentless underground attitude and style. So, if you enjoy primitive songs delivered with attitude, there might be quite a few bands on this CD-R that you should check out. The compilation is limited to 300 copies in a 7"-sized slip. The first hundred copies are numbered and come with silkscreened prints on both the covers and the disc. The punk-style collage inlay holds brief infos and some urls for all the bands, so finding more information about them should be relatively easy. No lyrics are included.
Unless you want to read a band-by-band commentary, you might want to skip to the last three paragraphs which hold the closing comments for the compilation.
Anal Penetration opens the compilation promisingly. Dense and heavy riffing, deep gurgles and appealing grindcore-simplisticity. The opening one-minuter has a lot of appeal, but the second song brings out the drum machines in a very unflattering way. With real drums and more mass this could become something really good. The French Bestial Vomit suffers with drum-problems as well. Their mixture of crusty hardcore and grindcore has a raw but thick sound topped with angry and devoted vocals, and the two songs are overall very appealing in their uncompromising nature and hate. However, the fast bass drum beating interrupts the other instruments constantly and the end result is annoyingly craggy. Other than that, I have only good words for the band.
Next up is Biotox with three one-minute songs. They're fast and simple tunes of oldschool grindcore with a nicely bassy sound. It seems as if the band has no electric guitar, just a bass one, which makes the end result a bit bare. The harsh vocals are a bit amateurish, but luckily they're served with a lot of hate and attitude. Not too memorable, but not shitty either. The band Compost offers three minutes of raw goregrind with fleshy guitars, a nicely bouncy bass sound and sharp snare-beating. The vocals come both as pitch-shifted gurgles and hoarse shouts. There's variation from death metal-like mid-paces to full-on blasting, and the end result should be pleasing to all fans of traditional filthy goregrind. Sturdier sounds would've been in place, but otherwise the songs are just the way they should be.
Conviction punches in faces with their relentless and fast-paced metal. The first song is a pure grindcore-beatdown, whereas the following three-minuters showcase the band's capabilities in thrash-influenced death metal with a hint of groove. The sounds are a bit too harsh to bring out the best in the churning guitar and capable drumming, but otherwise the mixture of oldschool and modern influences works well. The songs sound a bit stuffed, but it might be caused by them being surrounded by a mass of much simpler bands. Dissiped is one of them. These French fellows deliver three one-minute songs of slightly crusty hardcore punk in (bad) Finnish, and with a lot of influence taken from Finnish oldschool hardcore. All the songs have different soundscape which makes it harder to get a hold of their music, but overall the simple hc-songs are so attitude-driven that they're easily understood. None of the songs have that good a soundscape and the band hasn't got a lot of personality, but the all-out aggressive delivery makes them sound decent. Not memorable, though.
Dust Cult's Doom-cover shatters ears. The song is covered in such an amount of distortion that it's hard to make out the riffs or even the drums, yet alone recognize the song being a Doom-cover. You mostly get to hear a lot of harsh distortion, some bass-notes and occasional shouted vocals emerging amidst the static. I think this song tells nothing about the band itself, nor was it a necessary add on the compilation. Luckily Execução sounds a lot more relevant with their heavy crust/hc. The song focuses on heavy churning, steady progression and manly hoarse shouts with a strong southern vibe. A plain great song with a lot of attitude, appeal and variation. Komatoz follows the same footsteps as the earlier mentioned band Conviction; oldschool meets modern thrash-influences with a hint of death metal. The deep growls erase the last hints of the band's punk-roots, a fact which makes the group stand out a bit on this compilation. It's a good song anyway, although I would've wanted more energy from it instead of heavy and steady death metal-riffing a'la Swedes in the early 90s.
Lycanthrophy comes from the Czech Republic, and is one of the best bands on the whole compilation. Their two songs are fast and tight model examples of how to make primitive grindcore/thrashcore interesting and utterly violent. Fast blasts with slower bits and professional musicianship. The songs have heavy and raw but still professional sounds, and the two vocalists (one similar to Napalm Death's Barney with his deep growls, the other a shrieking female) lift the songs' appeal to an even higher level. The songs seem to be from different sessions and it lowers their overall impact a bit, but no matter as the songs are still killer. The following act Neuropathia delivers two songs of punk-influenced grinding with heavy, grainy and somewhat modern sounds. They have some modern metal influences that don't fit in seamlessly, which made me unsure what to think of the songs' overall quality. Even so, the songs are devoted and capable.
Repulsione is harsh and lo-fi speed-craze with two fuzzy and distorted basses, drums and oddly muffled vocals. The songs have both maniacal blasts as well as slow and rhythmic bits, and the drums deliver simple but tasty fills. Sadly this minimalistic grinding power violence has very little power due to the overall buzzy and messy soundscape, even when the drums try to bring life to them. The band has a lot of personality, though. The band's muffled sound gives the Turkish Sakatat's powerful oldschool-grind even more impact. Their two songs are right in the essence of true oldschool grindcore: heavy, crusty sounds, hoarse vocals and pure grinding without cheap catchiness or other gimmicks. If Death Toll 80k aroused your interest, check out Sakatat as well - and vice versa.
Skarsfuckers are present with a two and a half minutes long chunk of oldschool hardcore punk. Not fine-tuned, not professional, but truly punk. Lunatic shouts, unrefined sounds and simple riffs and beats topped with some metal-influenced solos. Not too original, for sure, but has a lot of honesty. System Shit dwells in the same waters: simple hardcore with deep shouted vocals and a grainy but fitting soundscape. Their songs have a lot of Scandinavian influences that please my ears, and they have a good amount of attitude. The songs are quite a "blast from the blast," but do their oldschool-worship well.
Slapendenhonden opens up with an acoustic bit, but it's soon forgotten when their raw hc/crust paves over it. The songs progress clumsily and are filled with drunken lunacy (not least in the the vocalist's hoarse shrieks), and somehow I can't grasp their point. They range from doomy slow-paced atmospheres to hc-beating and midway-churning, and the harsh and tad lo-fi sounds don't really do any of these forms true justice. The band has a distinctive style, but either it's not refined enough or these three minutes are not enough for me to understand what they're going for. Slaughter In The Vatican, on the other hand, relies less on personality and more on making an impact. Their sole song is a simplistic thrash-based one with influences from hardcore-punk (or vice versa) with street punk-vocals and choir shouts. However, the song lacks personality and daring. It's decent, but nothing more than that.
The French Yattai offers two one-minute songs of tad heavy and grind-influenced hardcore punk. Fast paces, simple but effective riffs and an energetic overall vibe topped with harsh vocals. The songs don't leave much of a memory trail as two minutes of this type of simplistic aggression is unlikely to stick to one's mind, but it does leave a pleasurable aftertaste. Terror Firmer drops off everything pansy and focuses on total grindcore hostility. Fast and simple riffs, raw guitar distortion, muffled guttural growls and total fast-paced aggression. There are some rhythm-gimmicks, but they're very brief. The band has some work to do in tightening their expression, but are on to a good start for sure. Digging up the bass sound from pounding far in the background would be a good start.
The Italian Suppurated opens up with a sample, after which the opening three-minute song starts building up as mid-tempo death metal. However, it soon turns into truly fast-paced grind with extreme metal-influences. Their output is not far from goregrind, especially since the vocals come as both high screams and guttural growls, but the songs have more versatility than "your usual" goregrind-act. These two songs don't give me enough info to decide whether the band's actually skilled or not, but at least they've managed to give their heaviness character. The compilation's closer Zeit Geist, also from Italy, delivers grindcore with influences from death metal and thrash metal, the latter especially applying to their drum work. The hoarse vocals are too muffled to crown the songs and their overall heaviness dulls some of the songs' appeal, but otherwise the band seems rather capable in their craft.
The noisecore-genre has a few representatives as well. xAOAx, whom I already knew before due to this split, present a one-and-half minuter of something between noisecore and power violence. It's most likely a rehearsal-recording based on its crude sound and buried vocals. What you hears is fast-paced beating with something resembling a structure with one guitar, drums and buried howls. It sounds decent, but isn't refined or over-the-top enough to leave a memory trail. Dosa spews forth two songs in 20 seconds, which is way too little to make an impression. Their all-out noisecore with unbalanced lo-fi sound has its own appeal, especially due to the harsh and nicely audible vocals, but one can't say much based on this short a taster. I might be interested to hear an EP from them, though.
Gorgonized Dorks, a band I've heard on a few splits such as this one, offers a near two-minuter of crude and simple pounding. The band is at their barest, as the song relies on band-instruments only without any of their character experimental gimmicks or instruments. The song is nearly a grindcore- or hc-punk-one as it clearly has a structure, but its lo-fi sound makes it harder to distinquish. Raw guitars, strong and hissing drum work, muffled growls and a very interestingly waving bass-sound make it a noteworthy piece, and it carries its primitive riffing and structure with pride. Menso Noise on the other hand offer a lot more experimental 40 seconds. The songs are based on random drum beats, idiot gurgles, toy whistles and improvised synths. Humorous and intentionally annoying and provocative stuff, clearly, but it's so over the top that it actually becomes interesting. It's hard to tell how long I could listen to this, though, but a short snippet like this remains pleasing.
To-Die burps out three noisecore-songs in fifty seconds. They have such a muffled soundscape that not much of them stick to the listener's mind, and they're over before they get to reveal their point or meaning. Based on these songs, nothing more can be said about these fellows. Yesterday Deceased are a lot more memorable. Their song opens up with a too lengthy sample, but the relentless power violence/hc/noisecore-beating that follows leaves a nice aftertaste. The drums and guitars are almost as simple as it gets, but the vocalist's wrath gives them meaning. Too bad that his shouts are covered in such an amount of distortion, unlike the instruments, as it makes the soundscape a mush.
Along with Menso Noise, Christonegro is the greatest oddball on this compilation. His three minutes of music is based on movie-samples, I think, that have been covered with a layer of droning harsh noise wall. The end result is pleasingly oppressive and original, and the all-out harsh noise in the end of "Il Male Assoluto" is forceful. Simple but effective music, although more of it would be needed to really make an impact.
As final notes I'd like to explain why the compilation didn't get a higher grade, even when it holds a mass of quality bands. The main problem is the compilation's length, as it's pretty much impossible to focus on it for such a long time as it mostly holds brief and fast songs. Secondly, the songs and bands follow each other without real pauses. Some of the bands have submitted each of their songs from different recording sessions which causes the compilation to further fall apart, and makes it feel like a dumping site for leftover material (which is not the case). As if this wasn't enough, the bands follow each other in alphabetical order, meaning that no effort has been put in crafting a flow or structure of any kind for the compilation; for example, Menso Noise appearing after Lycanthrophy is a real anti-climax, simply because these bands were not meant to compliment each other in the first place. The bands are just scattered here and there.
Possibly the main sole reason for complaints is that the volume levels haven't been leveled or equalized, so even if you tried to listen the compilation through in one sitting, you'd have to do so while being prepared to change your player's volume level after each minute or two. We're not even talking about subtle differences here: some bands basically explode into the ether whereas some are just murmur in the distance. As a final cause of annoyance, the band- and track list has a lot of typing errors.
The compilation features a great deal of good songs from capable bands, but you're forced to go through them one by one to really get to know them. I'm glad that the vast majority of the bands did their part, even when the Distrozione-label (which was in charge of compiling and finishing the record) seemingly didn't.