CANCEROUS GROWTH: Hmmlmmlum: LP

I have to imagine that when an album gets reissued it’s because someone feels that it deserves a closer look, or maybe even a first look due to its initial obscurity. Boston’s Cancerous Growth’s sophomore album Hmmlmmlum, originally recorded, in 1987 is a mixed bag of spastic hardcore, quirky new wave, goofy horror movie sound effects, and one poorly recorded live track. I was hoping to have been floored by an unheard classic but instead I was left asking myself questions. Like why would anyone want to hear an inferior cover of Devo’s “Mongoloid”? Or what kind of drugs was the band on when they decided to waste perfectly good grooves on a record with their asinine grunting, groaning, and sped-up chipmunk voices on “Diabolical FX”? I suppose these were the late ‘80s and hardcore bands were trying desperately to create something innovative. A long time ago Fat Mike was asked in an interview about hardcore punk’s decline toward the end of the ‘80s and he replied to the extent of “there was a time when the bands were getting faster but not any better.” Holy shit: he must have been talking about this clunker. –Juan Espinosa (Ax/ction, Beer City, beercity.com)