Atrofia Cerebral, “Fase Critica”

Fase Crítica is Atrofia Cerebral‘s first full length LP, a major achievement in a newly prolific golden age of earsplitting noisecore after spending nearly three decades in relative obscurity. 

While the Peruvian maniacs’ legendary first demo tape Matanza Extrema sounded like a wild pack of hyenas being slaughtered by a jackhammer in a rusted-out oil drum, this slab of wax strains the chaotic atonality to new extremes while refining the guitars and guttural ululations into thicker, nastier torture chamber of timbres. There’s a gasping urgency suffocating the bone-dry snare drums while viscous pus-soaked blood clots ooze out of the guitars, as if the band members were zombies in separate vaults in a morgue, desperately trying to bash their way out. With 54 tracks in a scant 26 minutes, it all goes by in a whirlwind, and you’ll be left a bit shell-shocked, wondering if that really just happened.

The global underground tape-trading culture of the mid-80s that spawned grindcore heavyweights like Napalm Death and Terrorizer in the Anglosphere there were a million bands out in the obscure marginalia such as Sore Throat out in the remote boondocks of Huddersfield or Extreme Noise Terror in Ipswich; or seemingly not much farther away, bands like S.O.B. and Confuse in Japan. It’s also how we manage to have bands like Atrofia Cerebral from Peru, reunited in 2010 at a time some of their truly gnarly noisecore demo tapes had gathered some global notoriety as the tape trading network gradually grew its tendrils across blogs and web forums. And it’s how we manage to have their first full length LP released over 30 years after their first recordings on SPHC, a label founded in Severna Park, Maryland, which began releasing Maryland-style Kysushu-core and quickly expanded its catalogue to mirror the global noise-punk tape network writ large. Everything repeats and explodes in a morass of mutual synecdoche. The world’s noise is pure as sin, undiluted and ugly as ever. 

That’s not to say everything inevitably fell through the sieve of mass media categories. Far from it—the underground tape trading scene effectively chugged along on its merry way, winnowing or warping here and there but never truly fading. Backsliding and regressing further back into the noisecore DNA were maniacal but cheeky outfits like Nihilist Commando in Finland, Deche-Charge in Quebec, and Seven Minutes of Nausea in Australia. 

(Word on the street is that some of those Severna Punkers also have a noisecore band called Anal Butt).

But back to the new Atrofia Cerebral. Unlike their equally trailblazing Ecuadorian counterparts Cacasonica, there’s less of a goofy coprolalia act going on here and more of a deranged death metal band played by actual zombies with rotting limbs, foaming at the mouth with a virulent infection, playing bits of possessed seizures more than “songs” per se. Thematically, Atrofia Cerebral feel closer to fellow ‘80s Lima punks Ataque Frontal, cut with a strong dose of some high-powered Brazilian noisecore

The nuclear winter, zombie riots, and chainsaw massacres once ubiquitous in the heavy music of the 80s are still as visceral and relentless as ever. The apocalypse is immediate and incandescent, ripping you limb from limb.