If Maine is good for anything, it's isolation. Bountiful evergreen forests, long and bleak winters; Immortal would love it there. It could also be the driving force behind Jigoku (The Path Less Traveled, 2009), the debut album from Orono's one-man cybergrind project Body Hammer. For 35 minutes, nihilism and misanthropy clash with nature and technology. You might need to sit down for this.

This is not your brother's grindcore. Granted, tracks like "MPD Psycho" and "Greatknife" would sound at home on any Agoraphobic Nosebleed or Nasum album. But the strength of Jigoku lies in grey areas. The ambient creepiness of "Deeper Into The Abyss," "2 Minute Stairway," and "When Mental Anguish Exceeds the Physical Capability for Pain" recalls the Japanese sci-fi/horror films from which Ryan Page, the body behind Body Hammer, takes influence. The album makes somewhat of an arc, with fast, angry grind steadily giving way to longer, unnerving tracks. This is a descent into madness.

The packaging is also worth noting. Jigoku has the honor of joining Discordance Axis' The Inalienable Dreamless on my shelf as the only CD releases packaged in DVD cases. That's damn good company, and one more reason this album stands apart from the rest.

- Chris Rowella