Being challenged is a good thing as it makes you think and question the norm. If you truly believe that you know what the norm is, then just take a listen to anything that the UK based label Merdumgiriz has to offer, then you will really question what you know about music. That being said, Survival and their latest effort titled No Grief is off of Merdumgiriz and like every release from the label it is wholly unique and completely separates itself from the pack. Survival takes hardcore and thrash and infuses those two genres with bits of electronic elements to create an odd sound. That odd sound however isn’t so odd that you stop listening, in fact it is just the opposite. The music is odd enough to make you keep listening, but not odd enough to make you repulsed.
No Grief offers up thirteen songs that range from strange to a different level of strange. A lot of songs lean more toward the hardcore/thrash aspect of the spectrum while others lean toward a maddening assault of hardcore and eclectic sounds and shouts.
Throughout No Grief the whole sound is dark and melancholic. There is no hiding from sadness, depression, anger, hate or anything else you can feel. Those feelings are very real, and those feelings are present every day and hang on you like two ton weights. That is the feeling of this album, and as you get sucked in further and further by the sheer honesty and the brutality of the truth you begin to realize that the world isn’t always a fair place. It is ugly, grimy, sickening and bastardizing, and all of those are realizations that you can conclude from a listen-or a couple-of this album. Through a listen of No Grief an utmost sullen darkness shrouds you and takes control. That darkness makes you step away from your reality and makes you think of things differently.
Not everything is all sadness and gloom however as this music does make you mosh and headbang. Being a combination of thrash and hardcore you get chaos and disorder that makes you want to destroy whatever may lie in your path. There are romping riffs, smashing drums, an incredibly thick back breaking bass, and wails and screams of desperation. The vocals themselves are haunting as they are dissonant, and being paired with an echoing effect it gives you the feeling that a spirit or some kind of apparition did the vocals instead of a human. Even though the majority of the album is chaotic, there are parts that are groovy and smooth, and those parts have the stomping hardcore riffs and monstrous bass in them.
Survival breaks the regular hardcore cycle by adding some electronic elements to the music as well. More often than not the electronic elements provide an extra touch of depression and isolation to the songs. “Tortured artist” really is a cliche, but with this music it really does sound tortured and through the thirteen songs you really become aware of that. With their new album No Grief, Survival does several things for you. It makes you think, headbang and most of all challenge the norm.