In the early years of both Terrorizer and Nausea, they had a close relationship with each other. Other than Garcia’s participation in both, it’s been documented that a few songs on World Downfall came from Nausea demos. The first few years of Nausea were an outpouring of demos and splits, leading up to their 1991 debut. By this time, grindcore was stepping up into a legitimate threat, thanks to the reputation of up-and-comers like Napalm Death, Brutal Truth and Carcass.
Crime Against Humanity is not as revered as World Downfall, though the reason behind that doesn’t seem clear. Both are different entities, this album being more of a hazy tribute to the origins of doom metal in a grindcore setting. The songs don’t shuffle with urgency or cap off at the one-minute mark, but rely heavily on the fuzzy bass and sudden tempo changes. The songs have groove to them, with the lengthier structures opening up room to build from more intricate ideas.
Nausea switch from uncontainable bursts of venom to calculated beat-downs, like in the early portions of “Mind Dead” and “Production Ends.” The latter track can almost be considered an instrumental, as Garcia’s vocals don’t appear until two-thirds into the track. The vocals don’t play a huge role in a sound that is dominated by active instrumental breaks, though the anti-corporate message of “Make More Profit” resonates to this day.
The lack of outright grind-paced explosions is a welcomed trait, staying away from what many associate with grindcore. It also makes the instances where the band’s core style comes unhinged more effective. It takes Nausea until the third song “Point Of Discharge” to act like the untamed animals they proved to be in earlier demos. “Enemy Alliance” is a brutalized take on a song from their previous incarnation, Majesty. “System Break-Down” toys with a pounding death metal sound, before stomping around a hypnotic riff.
As of 2012, Crime Against Humanity is the lone Nausea album. The band broke up in the mid ‘90s, but regrouped in the early ‘00s and has been playing live shows to this day. A few demos have popped up, but nothing leading one to believe a full-length is on the horizon. Garcia is still around, as is original drummer Eric Castro, but the rest of the lineup is new, including Murder Construct guitarist Leon del Muerte helping out at live shows.
While World Downfall maintains its allure as a pivotal death metal/grind album, Crime Against Humanity is resigned to be a minor footnote in the history of grindcore. This is an underground delight, though far more down below the ground than World Downfall.
The album is like Harmony Corruption-era Napalm Death on acid; a doomy take on the energy overdrive of grindcore. For being something dynamic in the grindcore genre that was unfortunately passed over by many, Crime Against Humanity gets the nod for this week’s Retro Recommendation.