Reviews

Street Feet, Diminished Capacity (Rat Mix/Riotous Outburst Records, 2019)

When last we checked in with Street Feet, the Binghamton, NY grind freaks had gifted us twin tracks on a four-way split with put out by MD’s Fake Crab Records. It was there that I was first gifted their lightspeed, Empire State madness. Specializing in straight ahead grind fury with just the right dose of weirdo energy, honoring the metallic bonkers legacy of New York’s Brutal Truth as much as their home state heroes in Disassociate.

In advance of their upcoming 7”, which will be co-released via Rat Mix and Riotous Outburst Records, I dove in, albeit cautiously, on Diminished Capacity, the first of their three 2019 releases. 

The first moments of the aforementioned and bespoiled seven inches begins with what sounds like the clipped breathing and hurried footfalls of the followed, perhaps damning the manic sprint that is the 7” ahead. Street Feet’s “Medical Grade” opens with an ominously restrained ambient noise scape. Harried noise sample aside, it’s a disquieting pastiche of chirping, discordant noise. Following the digital scrapes, they unleash their abhorrent take on grindcore. Alas, the titular medical reference is lost on me but, perhaps, it’s that the song itself acts as an oft-used but rusted orbitoclast, capable of sonic lobotomizing. 

“Forced Exhale” is a sub-minute ripper of furious blastbeats, unhinged vocals that split the difference between the upper reaches of Scandinavian crypt blasphemy and dizzying Hardcore punk. The brief let up on the track’s final seconds are what essentially set the table for the rotten entree that follows. “Credence for Your Delusions” and “Born in an Incinerator” are both glorious bouts of devastation, the latter of which acts as the ultimate showcase of their wares.

When Street Feet break into a run, the stampede conjures images of an NYC chase scene, crisscrossing boroughs as if the touchstones extremity themselves. Their blown out, treble heavy attack keeps the proceedings squarely planted in the DIY camp, sidestepping the cleaner end of metal and deathgrind entirely. 

As simple as they are inventive, the guitar and bass lay a traditional grindcore backdrop for the drums. Impossibly busy and anvil heavy, the battering the kit takes would seemingly require more limbs, perhaps the eight arms of a possessed mollusk. 

Photo provided by Street Feet

“Dismantled Obelisk” is where they allow the first a peek into their more oddball tendencies. The off-kilter, serpentine riffing that bookends the hammering grind between it belies a band that knows their way around the more experimental strain. When paired with “Torched Effigies”, they truly feel dead set on reducing civilization to ash. First they came for the monuments, then the subjects of the bronze busts themselves. Devastating in the way only grind can be, the collapse is instantaneous and total. Fans of Grindcore’s myriad high points can’t go wrong. 

For a release whose visit is sadly so short, the closer “Repugnant Reclamation” is a veritable marathon by their sprinter’s tendencies. At nearly two and a half minutes, the finale feels at once like the centerpiece and mission statement of Street Feet’s discography thus far.

Perhaps it’s that the current lineup is the tested and ironclad result of multiple shakeups. It’s more likely that this fourth lineup in their seven year run has only begun to reach the furthest limits of their batshit bond. They’re clearly able to tease something even darker out of their Northern cave. Though the track begins with a chugging mid-pace rumble, there's a gurgling lower vocal that feels pulled from the foul depths of death metal’s lo-fi swamps.

The expected blast of grindcore ruins the party, per usual, but the song then revolves into a masterwork of aural terror. Harsh noise a la Author and Punisher, a feral vocal performance, and the unforgiving bleat of machinery constitute a back half that I hope they explore moving forward. It’s in these moments that Street Feet unfurl and fly their diseased freak flag. Let that shit undulate wildly in the winds of putridity. Translation: Killer upstate NY grind that you fucking need in your meaningless life. 

Photo provided by Street Feet

The perennial road dogs in Street Feet have poisoned most of the U.S. already, splitting the stage with their friends in We Must Dismantle All This (Profane Existence), and Upheaval (Boston, Ghost Ramp Records) the latter of which covered the better part of the Lower 48. Again, this is but a third of the filth the band has planned to unleash in 2019. Start running from Street Feet now. You might need a headstart, lest you get trampled. 

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