Catch ACxDC live on their European tour this Summer. Go here to see the dates.
ACxDC stands for Antichrist Demoncore. Sometimes. The moniker goes beyond your double take that shakes all night long. Depending on the context, lead screecher Sergio Amalfitano may say it means All Cows Die Cruelly or Anti-Cop Dorner Crew. These, at least, were a couple of the possible definitions offered to LA Weekly during a recent profile on the La Puente, California powerviolence crew. There are probably a bucketful of others. In the grand tradition of Spazz, the group has got jokes. Be that as it may, it’s not all laugh tracks.
Things ACxDC don’t eff with: fans. This outfit runs on ‘em, providing a bevy of mersh options while consistently growing their base through busy touring. That in-the-trenches tenet has paid off, transforming ACxDC into a powerviolence platoon popular enough to score profiles in LA Weekly. But, opportunistic weekend warrior coattail copiers they are not. From 2003 on, the Satanic straight-edgers have strengthened their blast to measure somewhere near the megaton level of elder contributors. They’ve studied the ins and outs of the style, digested it, and learned to use their own voice. Sometimes that voice is reverent; nods to past masters are prevalent. The quintet can start, stop, and shift with the skills of Lack of Interest, bruise bodies and eardrums by way of Crossed Out breakdowns, and stealthily slip a knife under your guard a la Slap-a-Ham’s finer satirists. Sergio, Jeff, Jorge, Jose, and Aldo have a firm handle on how to navigate the expected core locales, unless they’re in the mood to tweak, provoke, and rebuild. That’s, uh, pretty frequently.
That said, adhering to powerviolence’s every-person/no-person persona, ACxDC’s needling is smarm and snark free. Antichrist Demoncore — the band’s first studio LP after many comps, splits, singles, etc. — is a collection of songs burning with the humanity of its performers. It doesn’t try attaining better-living-through-art, streamlined idealism; a yardstick of ultimate trveness. It’s just real, contradictory and complex in the manner of, you know, people. There’s a definition: Allowing Contradictions Displaying Complexity.
Ha. Nah. C’mon, man. Doubt they’d go for that. Too stuffy, clumsy, and not funny. Asshole Critics? Don’t Care. Closer.
Indeed, ACxDC fight pretty damn hard to keep from getting pinned down, especially by detractors. They’re good at reacting, even if those naysayers don’t exist. Antichrist Demoncore is always shooting over rejoinders to imagined insults. If the straw man damns it as easy to play, it ramps up the speed or swings sublimely within a groove. It deflates staunch stances on hot-button issues by lampooning itself. Then, if it’s panned as jokey, it reaches back and fires a wise fastball. Again, it’s afflicted, conflicted, and unrestricted by all of human experience. It’s able to entertain multiple ideologies and do so with self-fulfillment and self-deprecation. You wouldn’t use a hoary trope such as, “It’s a window AND a mirror, maaaaaan,” but, when you press play, you feel like you’re listening to actual people instead of an inhuman philosophy intent on being unassailable on message boards. The “My World…My Way” trudge of album closer “Give Up” is pretty unassailable, though.
Of course, that above dissection is a complete waste of your time. Sorry, should’ve typed this: “Destroy Create” straight crushes. The start is like a tape player chowing down on a Brutal Truth cassette. The second section grabs chaos’s reins, tossing power-chord lassos to keep the thing from grinding off a cliff. Amalfitano’s otherworldly hiss is hyped by growls, using the rasp/roar dynamic without the goofy protestor bark. Half way in, chugs give way to sustained strums, finishing with a neck-snapper of a dun-dun. It ends as it begins, quickly inquiring about your suffering.
At face value, “Destroy Create” comes off as powerviolence through and through. However, jam it again. Listen to how it unravels. One doesn’t feel jerked or jostled. Over a minute, the thing fluctuates in BPMs to a greater degree than George Kollias suffering a calf cramp. That’s a big change, especially since you don’t really notice it. It’s sorta prestidigitation in audio form; sly-ass shit. It probably took a lot of practice to get “Destroy Create” into shape. Unless it didn’t.
“Destroy Create” is the opener on Antichrist Demoncore. The album will be available on Melotov Records, June 24. In addition, ACxDC are touring extensively this summer. Scope their dates below.— Ian Chainey