Cretin: Stranger

Grubby grindcore extremism with a heart of madness

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The filthiest grind freaks that Santa Cruz has to offer may have taken eight years to conjure a follow-up top 2004’s widely acclaimed Freakery album, but their vicious bluster has lost none of its appeal in the meantime.

This is dirty, clobbering insanity from start to finish: a deft and knowing salute to the glory days of Repulsion and early Napalm Death, perhaps, but one that has plenty to offer the modern age.

Bolstered by some of the finest songtitles to grace a grind record in years – We Live In A Cave and They Buried The Lunchbox being just two of the gems on offer – Stranger acknowledges that it’s not just speed and aggression that define much of the best extreme music: a dash of swagger and riffs that sink their teeth into your synapses are equally essential components, and songs like vein-bursting opener It and the jaw-jarring title track tick every one of those boxes with crazed zeal.

Subtle or diverse it ain’t, but this is a welcome dose of horrible, twisted fun nonetheless./o:p

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.