Review

GRINDER The Black EP

EP · 2017 · Grindcore
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4/5 ·
Vim Fuego
You know what? I was going to try to review “Dirt” by Alice In Chains, but I can’t. I can’t give it an objective review in any way, shape or form. I tried to listen to it for the first time the other day, got thoroughly bored with it, so I stopped.

Age and attitude has a lot to do with it. Alice In Chains was supposed to be the more metal side of the grunge movement, but I’m too old and cynical to buy into the teen angst it embodied. Even when I was a teenager I had more important things to do than to wallow in self-pity, like working to help keep the family farm afloat, while getting myself an education so I wouldn’t be trapped trying to scratch a living from the land. Yes, “Dirt” is meant to follow the emotional descent of someone falling into the clutches of an eventually fatal heroin habit, but that world, and those emotions, are alien to me. While I understand mental illness and depression, I just don’t get self-pity and addiction.

“Dirt” may have been exotic and fresh when it was first recorded in 1992, but a quarter of a century has been unkind. What little of the music I do recall sounded flat and dull. Perhaps it is the radio-friendly imitators and mimics which have spoiled Alice In Chains’ aura, or perhaps it is rose-tinted spectacles which keep this album held in such a high regard. Whatever it is, I didn’t like it enough to listen to it all the way through, and you can’t give half an album a fair review.

Just as I was considering something drastic, like mowing the lawn or doing the dishes because they were more interesting than “Dirt”, this little gem popped up on YouTube. “The Black EP” by Grinder is essentially the antithesis of “Dirt”. It is short, sharp, and silly. What could be less serious than coffee-themed grindcore with a real, genuine grinder on vocals? Yes, Grinder’s vocalist is a coffee grinder.

For anyone outside the grindcore sphere of influence, this may sound utterly inane and childish. Perhaps it is. However, jump online and check out even just a handful of grindcore demos and the thing which strikes you almost immediately is how atrociously recorded the vocals are. Grunts, groans, shrieks, growls, and even screams can end up sounding like a gurgling drain or a boiling kettle. It seems to be a hard task to keep already tortured vocals anywhere near intelligible when all other instruments around are raging at, for want of a better expression, full noise.

So Grinder offers nothing but a fun gimmick. The song titles are completely meaningless because the vocals are nothing but the sound of coffee beans having the caffeine powdered out of them, and possibly the resulting beverage percolating in the fires of hell. The music itself though is well above average for this style of release. There is the obligatory insane drum programming, set to an inhuman tempo, overlaid with crushing guitar and bass noise. There’s a couple of funny coffee-related samples, and song titles like “Beans of Prey” and “Hot Water Death Bath”.

What does it all mean? Fuck all. Why listen to it? Pure escapism. Is it better than Alice In Chains’ “Dirt”? I think so. Will anyone else? Probably not, but fuck ‘em. They can write their own review.
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Vim Fuego wrote:
43 days ago
And I must also say I'm glad a few people have checked this out. Grindcore seems a bit neglected here at times, but this is at the more accessible end of grind.
Vim Fuego wrote:
43 days ago
@siLLy puPPy I could still review it properly if you like...;)
siLLy puPPy wrote:
43 days ago
I love Dirt. One of my favorite albums actually
43 days ago
I listened to this yesterday with a friend who is fond of extreme music. Unfortunately, it was on a laptop and the speakers just didn't do the vocals justice. But what a concept! After that, we watched some live grindcore videos. The coffee grinder makes sense!
Tupan wrote:
46 days ago
Listening to this right now and... Man, it's unbelievable!
Vim Fuego wrote:
46 days ago
Part of the reason for writing this review like this is that I've been going through our top rated albums and reviewing them. My negative review of Opeth's Still Life seriously affected it's position in the rankings, so I wanted to avoid doing that again.
MMA_Facebook wrote:
46 days ago
Copy of comment on Facebook share:

'Probably the best review I've ever read of Dirt by Alice In Chains.'

https://www.facebook.com/MetalMusicArchives/posts/10155165625060186

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