Some combinations work together brilliantly. Take tea and biscuits. What is a biscuit if it is not accompanied by a steaming mug of sweet, sunset coloured perfection? What is a cracker if it is not accompanied by cheese? What is a piece of fish if it is not accompanied by freshly made chips? Well the more matter of fact reader among us would answer, a sweet shaped treat, a bland cardboard tasting morsel and, well, a piece of fish. Some combinations however falter under incompatibility. Take several Hollywood marriages, deep fried chocolate bars and such. That is why Transmetropolitan poses such a question for the listener. In terms of combining so many styles and noises, how much is too much?
Berlin's War from a Harlots Mouth are one of those odd combinations that you just can't work out. Merging mathcore, grindcore, hardcore and, er, jazz, they effortlessly use these dizzying and head spinning genres to the extreme. The cacophony that they make is often overwhelming with its incessant attack, attack, attack on the listener with the only break being the jazz interludes on the album. The physical rat-at-at-tat of the rather obtusely titled "If you want to blame us for something, Wrong! Please abuse this song!" is unrelenting in its heaviness. But the laid back jazz of "Tribe Life" wouldn't be out of place on the stereo in some trendy and relatively pretentious bar. Although it should be a mix that doesn't work, for reasons unknown, it strangely does.
Moving at breakneck speed, it romps along without hesitating too long over each track. Forty minutes on the dot, you feel like you have been on some kind of extreme ride for the duration. Moving from one track to the other, you fail to see the breaks between them as the band put forward such an incessant wall of noise, but thrilling it is.
Often dizzying in the levels of noise this is still an impressive effort. Maybe Transmetropolitan is heralding a sea change in regards to what people will do in order to create a new noise. Mixing together styles which seemingly fit together well with a style that you wouldn't usually connect with those genres, namely jazz, seems an incredibly brave move. Audibly exciting in its diversity and fiercely original, it stands above some of the turgid and uncreative hardcore influenced releases of late, and that can't be a bad thing.