Discordance Axis Jou Hou

Similar to 2000’s classic The Inalienable Dreamless, this revamped version of Discordance Axis’ 1997 album is packaged in a DVD case with bonus tracks (splits with Melt Banana and Plutocracy), a live set, and beautifully exhaustive liner notes written by lead throat Jon Chang. But Jou Hou is more than just a reissue, as the now-defunct DA are more than just a footnote. This New Jersey trio redefined grindcore after Napalm Death and Carcass drove it into the ground — and before the Dillinger Escape Plan, Fantômas or Nasum began milking its finicky cash cow. Drummer nonpareil Dave Witte is at his personal fastest here, layering blast beat upon blast beat while guitarist Rob Marton provides the dense, atonal backdrops for Chang’s indecipherable high-/low-pitched caterwauls. Most of the 32 tracks clock in at just under a minute, which is quite enough for this strain of ear torture. "Vertigo Index” starts off like old Brutal Truth before checking out again, and "Information Sniper” is another hyper-speed tribute to metal. "Carcass Lottery” gets more syrupy while DA’s punk aesthetic shines through on "Come Apart Together, Come Together Alone.” "Nikola Tesla” is an industrial-inspired collaboration with Japanese noise-scaper Merzbow, and Marton actually lets his strings echo for more than a few seconds on "Aether Scalpel” and feedback at the end of "Junk Utopia.” The two-song live set ends with the tape still rolling as the club cleans up and gets ready for karaoke later that night. What newfangled fans hear strictly as utter noise, Jou Hou is manna from grindcore heaven, a collector’s must-own, and a fitting way to remember the force that was Discordance Axis. (Hydra Head)