Spurn is a mathcore/grind group from Calgary, Alberta. Just this July, they released their debut full length, Comfort in Nothing. Let me tell you right off the bat: this thing rips. I get a lot of review requests from smaller bands, and as you have seen there is some really great stuff out there waiting to be discovered if you look a little deeper. But it is a rare occasion that one of these unsigned releases is deemed worthy to sit at the big table on an end of year list. Spurn has earned their seat.
From the very beginning, "Spoiled Failures" lets us know that the band is a technical powerhouse. The maniacal chugging riffs and disconcerting time signature assault the listener like repeated kicks to the ribs. Comfort in Nothing sounds like the lovechild of Converge and Ulcerate. The influences from various mathcore forerunners come through strong, but I don't think I've ever heard a release in the genre of this caliber when it comes to both musicianship and sheer noise. Spurn take dissonance to new levels, but never at the expense of strong songwriting.
Psyopus fed through a woodchipper? Botch playing live while being attacked by a group of rottweilers? Whatever comparisons you want to draw, this album is structured chaos of the highest order. The drumming is something that is beyond words. My cliche anaologies simple fail to capture the level of expertise on display...it's just something you have to hear for yourself on tracks like "Reproduction." Ulcerate continues to be the best name-drop I can provide. Just take that level of instrumentation and trade some of the despair and isolation for hardcore moshing.
Seriously, Comfort in Nothing may be the best album of the year so far in terms of musicianship. It is certainly the most well-deserved 10 in this area since Torrential Downpour. To create something this fast and complex, but still have it be enjoyable as more than just an oddity...that takes some real talent. I don't know what these guys went through to get to this point, but whatever it was I am thankful for it. I live for mathcore, and Spurn proves that it is a genre that still has new heights to reach. "Quota to Meet," the swinging pendulum of pain that is "No Next Time," the Meshuggah riffs on "No Safety"; it's all gravy.