The current Decibel has a quote from artist Matthew Barney (Cremaster-mind and Björk squeeze) about Pig Destroyer: "I've never experienced a think tank, but Pig Destroyer records make me feel like I'm inside one. One which is functioning and positive - where ideas attack from all sides, with new ones replacing old ones before the old ones have a chance to die."


Perhaps Barney is describing old Pig Destroyer, as PD's latest record is strong but hardly polygonal. His comment would better describe Bolz'n. When I first heard this Berlin-based band (its name comes from German sports slang) on last year, I had to track down Spalt>funktion. Even after many listens, it still feels alien. The almost complete absence of repetition and singer Alexandra's startling array of shrieks, howls, and downright manly growls make each listen a journey into the unknown. I don't know if there are songs here, but there sure is a lot of ass-kicking.

This record has the freshness of the first time I heard Fantomas, Napalm Death's Scum, and John Zorn's Painkiller. Guitars don't play riffs so much as divots of earth, spraying them in all directions like an epileptic golfer. This is grindcore in its truest sense, not as a format of death metal compressed into one-minute songs, but as pure, physical attack. In between spazzouts, the band takes breathers with slow, doomy riffs and industrial soundscapes. The whole stew goes through hairy, lo-fi production, as Alexandra's vocal flamethrower struggles to burn through, and usually wins. This band sounds like a small-scale war; it evokes that cartoon image of cats fighting in a cloud of dust, with limbs occasionally sticking out.

Sadly, Bolz'n is no more. Alexandra left the band "because of harshest quarrels," and a full-length Bolz'n recently recorded for Bones Brigade is now in limbo. So, if you want to release the record, contact the band's MySpace (which has clips from it). Also, Alexandra is looking for a new band. She is one of the fiercest vocalists I've ever heard, so I get the feeling she has to audition bands, not the other way around. If you think you've got what it takes, contact her MySpace.

Spalt>funktion is available at Bones Brigade, and on vinyl from Relapse and Slave Union.