Those shadowy, self-proclaimed disseminators of ‘supergrind’ I’ll Eat Your Face have decided to call it a day with the release of this brief epitaph. With The Boy on axe duties and Barryton rattling the skins, the duo from Cork have released two albums previous to this EP – ‘Irritant’ in 2010 and ‘Hot Brains Terror’ in 2011 – but brief as it is, ‘The Life & Work Of Jean Vauvais’ seems their most fully realised thus far.
The three-song run is accompanied by a brief, enigmatic tale of alcohol-fuelled transmogrification, as our protagonist’s “body and soul morph into the celebrated and fictional Jean Vauvais: French deep-sea expeditionizer and discoverer of the Whalecrab, Lurching Eel Shark and the fearsome Angling Seahorse.” For this final release, a conceptual journey of briny Lovecraftian temper is undertaken as the duo knot shifting time signatures, speed metal drumming and Sabbathian riffs together to plumb the depths of the EP’s fleeting themes.
Various differing musical motifs surge and recede around the anchor of Barrytron’s drum patterns, sometimes with him leading the charge, at others pulled along by the towline of The Boy’s guitar. A sonar bleep holds the backbeat on Octibulus Tardastium, an ephemeral inventive flourish that casts a sentient silhouette over the song. The just audible sound of fingers rubbing along frets works similarly on The Life & Work Of Jean Vauvais, until more double bass drum madness peppers In The Irresistible Grasp Of The Ever Terrifying Crab-Shark between the power chords and riffs. A calming mid-section dripping in ominous tones is brought forth from its fugue by the cymbal bell and snare shuffle that add a march, drawing the EP to a conclusion.
It’s a dark, fitting postscript to the band’s career, an eccentric and inventive descent of shifting moods and speeds. Evoking a fall into madness as much as into the unexplored murky blackness that the fantastical liner notes evoke, ‘The Life & Work Of Jean Vauvais’ is the band’s final dose of supergrind – catch them before they slip into the abyss.