Cretin - Freakery - Relapse Records 2006
Running Time: 30:01
Formed high (pun intended) in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California's newest grind exports, Cretin, really aren't that fucking new at all. After having lain fallow for the better part of the 90s while two of the three Cretinites served time in gore metal pioneers, Exhumed, a coffin from a flooded cemetary broke apart, and a creature emerged. This creature was all hair and heathenry, hellbent on naught but chaos. And thus was (re)born Cretin.
The battering riff beginning 'Tooth And Claw' is just a tease. It's the groovy candy offered before the black Chevy door slams shut, closing off all chance of escape from this grindhouse of dysfunctional families, assault both mental and sexual, and Daddy's favourite daughters. The sunny Bay Area which Cretin calls home is much more known as the birthplace of American thrash (Exodus, Slayer anyone?), but this unholy trinity seems bring their music forth from the dark woods and soured rural fields, yanking twisted folk tales into the light with rusted pitchforks and jagged come-alongs. 'Uni-tit' could either be about the botched gender reassignment planned in 'Daddy's Little Girl', or it could just be another piece of nightmare ripped from the pages of the Local News section of today's paper (last page, bottom corner). Either way, it's a grand old time in Grinder's Switch, kids, and 'Cockfight' injects its fair share of redneck rawk into the cavernous hole ripped by the acidic guitars of vokillist Dan Martinez. There's been too many people taking grind too serious for too long, and Cretin may be just the band to shove a M-80 into the nether region of the arthouse grind/screamo hybrid that's come about recently. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear there's more than a bit of Discharge in the honey-sweet execution of 'Creepy Crawlies', stratospheric rapid-fire leads colliding with the inhuman skinsmanship of Col Jones. 'Walking A Midget' is a tale of love and the public display of affection that can only occur between a man and his...dwarf. Yes. Dwarf. Deal with it. We've all had that one family member that would go to any lengths to please their relatives, and 'Uncle Percy' has those bases covered like none before. My one complaint with this album is that I'd like to have heard a little more low end in the mix, because when the EQ is fucked with, Matt Widener's bass pushes through, all burl and balls flapping in the breeze. Wish I didn't have to make that adjustment, but it's just me being pissy, and at least I can admit that. For those who like a little groove with their grind (ala Circle Of Dead Children), think of Cretin as the Pennsylvania kill team's backwoods cousin. The trench Cretin digs in 'Mannequin' is slopgrind mixed with an earworm of a riff that sticks in your head like a thrown piston gone airborne, and the turmoil of 'The Yawning God' head-ons into the finale of 'Profane' with little heed for such paltry things as your sanity.
Clocking in at a mere half-hour, Freakery is the sound of a Massey Ferguson 8480 driven by an blind amputee drunk on rage and moonshine and high on destruction. And Cretin wouldn't have it any other way.