REVIEW: Pencil Lead Syringe – The Agua Mansa Massacre EP (2006)

SoCal trio Pencil Lead Syringe’s 2006 EP The Agua Mansa Massacre is a near 12 minute exploration of the intersection of Brutal Death Metal and scatter shot Grindcore. Lead vocalist Ramon Mercado’s pig squelched vocals don’t let a single word escape the noise, but it works. Agua Mansa is a completely percussive and textural album, with exception to the surprisingly melancholic lead out on closing track Buy Me Bonestorm (an early indication of the band’s penchant for referencing The Simpsons).

Pulling double duty tracking both guitar and bass, fretted string striker Chris Phillipsen creates brutal crunching riffs across all 6 tracks. But it’s when Phillipsen breaks away from conventional metal intonation that The Agua Mansa Massacre really stands out. It’s this willingness to get just a little weird that helps engage the listener and let’s Pencil Lead Syringe get out of the dog pile that is Metal’s ‘brutality’ pissing contest.

Balanced with David Gloria’s frenzied percussive attacks, Pencil Lead Syringe’s unique blend of brutality and weirdness is a gratifying installment in the mid-naughts Metal scene.

For fans of: Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Exhumed, Self-Deconstruction

Like Pencil Lead Syringe? Give these a listen: Gimli, Son of Glóin, Gets Worse, Exit 13

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