Agathocles / Grog – Smashed Hammer Feast

Agathocles they need no introduction. They were formed in 1987, although they have been active in the scene since 1985 as Necromantical Destructor, M.S.D. and Hellsaw before changing their name one final time to Agathocles. Their grindcore was baptized mincecore, giving birth to a new style with many followers (both fans and bands) over the years. Their quote: “Mince-Core for Passion, Not for Fashion” follows them and their honest, unpolished music ever since. Their discography is really huge and numbers countless releases. Having seen them live, I can tell that they have the right attitude, they are a 101% real and honest band, and they are giving some of the most killer live shows you will ever come across. So, the next time they will come to visit your town, even if you are not a grindcore fan, this is a show you cannot afford to miss!

On 2020’s “Smashed Hammer Feast” split live cassette tape with Grog, AxGx divide their live set in 3 parts which sum up to 24 songs in total. Although live recordings in general are not my cup of tea (with the exceptions of live recordings from bands like Motörhead, KISS or Thin Lizzy), I can assure you that this tape perfectly captures the essence of an AxGx live show. The crowd communicates directly with the band and they seem to have a real good time. AxGx also have a real good time themselves on stage because this is their natural place!

The rhythmical changes in their songs from heavy distortion to grind/punk are enhanced with a bulldozer-fantastic rhythm section and Jan Ag’s aggressive vocals. Nils from behind his drum-set proves himself a great backing vocalist. Jan’s bass is a thunderstorm and Koen’s guitar is a razor axe.

By taking a glance at the tracklist, I can see that it can surely serve as a best of for Agathocles as well. This said unfamiliar people with the band have a chance here to listen what they are all about. All songs were recorded live at the Hammer Smashed Fest, 30/11/2019 in Lisboa, Portugal. At the same fest also appeared Grog (whose songs are on the B side of this split) and RDB, Systemik Violence, Undersave, and Acromaniacos.

Grog’s live side from the fest includes 7 tracks. Their sound is a modern version of brutal death metal mixed with tech grindcore. Their songs are lengthy, demanding and have a more “metal” style compared to the sharp AxGx attacks. This makes the split pluralistic which is definitely a very good thing.

Grog have been around since 1991. The songs they chose for their set on this live show have nice structures and are technical for the genre. This is a direction clearly portrayed on their latest full length album “Ablutionary Rituals” (feel free to refer to the album’s review here). Certain licks have a bastard Cephalic Carnage meets Carcass feel. I am really amazed with the work done by the bass in live environment, and the whole band’s performance. I’d love to see Grog live and hopefully when things open up for live shows again after the pandemic, organizers will show some interest and bring this killer band in Greece.

This split live cassette tape is limited to 200 copies, with all copies being hand numbered in red ink. A double sided glossy poster completes the package. The tape is a co-release of Murder Records and Helldprod Records. On the insert you will find a collage of photos from the fest, which makes it a nice memory package for those who attended the show and a cool release for all grindcore freaks!

I will close the review with Jan’s last words heard on the tape after the AxGx live set which summarize this review better than I ever could: “…and remember: Grindcore is Fuckin’ Protest!”

4.5 / 5 STARS

Reviewer: Manos Michaelides

Jun 4, 2021

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Agathocles / Grog – Smashed Hammer Feast

review Agathocles / Grog - Smashed Hammer Feast

1. Part 1
2. Part 2
3. Part 3
4. Uterine Casket
5. Sterile Hermaphrodite
6. Splashterized Autopsy
7. Rotten Grave
8. Hanged By The Cojones
9. Necro Geek
10. Assapiens

4.5

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