Deathgrind

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Deathgrind is a genre mixing Death Metal and Grindcore. Bands that play in this style typically are heavier sounding and more technical in playing and song structure than your average Grindcore band. Deathgrind is closely related to both Goregrind and Pornogrind stylistically. Notable Deathgrind bands include the United States' Brutal Truth formed in 1990, the United States Cephalic Carnage formed in 1992, the United Kingdom's Defecation formed in 1987, Germany's Blood formed in 1986, and the United States' Righteous Pigs formed in 1987. Bands that play Deathgrind can be found on MMA under both Grindcore and Death Metal, depending on where the emphasis lies.

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deathgrind Music Reviews

TERRORIZER World Downfall

Album · 1989 · Deathgrind
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siLLy puPPy
Emerging from the cesspools of 80s extreme metal, the Los Angeles based TERRORIZER were one of those bands that took the logical next step by incorporating the grindcore fusion of heavy metal and hardcore punk and added even more extreme death metal elements to the mix. The band had a short first run having only been around from 1986-89 and squeaked out only one album WORLD DOWNFALL which was only released by Earache records after the band had already called it quits.

The band’s short history was more of a brief gathering rather than a long term band project and had this debut album not become an underground classic, the band would probably never had reformed in 2005 and then again in 2009 to release several newer albums. While TERRORIZER had a short time when they played live, they benefited substantially from the late 80s underground cassette trading world that was catapulting extreme metal bands into the next stage of popularity.

Founded as the trio of vocalist Oscar Garcia, guitarist Jesse Pintado and drummer Pete Sandoval, the band picked up Alfred Estrada who was replaced by David Vincent on bass before recording WORLD DOWNFALL at the request of Earache Records who saw the band’s potential in the burgeoning underground grindcore metal world. With the cover art and overall sound clearly borrow from Napalm Death’s album “Scum,” TERRORIZER simply took the music to the next level of extremity with heavier distortion, faster tempos and death metal growls and blastbeats.

While not quite sticking to the micro song standards of less than one minute in length tracks, the sixteen tracks still retain a rather hardcore punk attitude with tracks ranging from over a minute to no more than three and a half. While other bands like Nuclear Death, Azagthoth and DNF had experimented with the fusion of death metal and grindcore earlier, it was TERRORIZER along with the Chicago based Macabre that really brought the new deathcore subgenre to the forefront of the late 80s diversification of extreme metal.

Despite not being the first to craft the deathcore fusionary possibilities, TERRORIZER is often credited as having done so. WORLD DOWNFALL pretty much follows the standard grindcore characteristics of Napalm Death and early Carcass that borrowed crust punk compositional styles augmented with more extreme metal bombast. This is one of those cases where the classic status has somehow tried to make this album into one of those magnificent albums of the ages but i stand with those who find this album a bit tedious and overrated.

Firstly, TERRORIZER was NOT the first to adopt this style of death metal / grindcore hybrid and the delivery of the album comes across as extremely monotonous. The band clearly added the more ambitious instrumental prowess to carry across their ability to play the music on a higher technical level with blitzkrieg deliveries of extremity and aggression, however where WORLD DOWNFALL is severely lacking is in the compositional department as all the tracks whizz by sounding like only slight variations of what came before ( a trait that plagues many “core” albums).

For the most part the riffs are identical, the percussive bombast doesn’t deviate too much from the status quo and the grooves, once established, pretty much deliver the exact same semi-melodic output for the entire album’s run. In fact i can’t think of a single thing that this album brought to the metal table that hadn’t already been done before. While WORLD DOWNFALL has gained the reputation as one of the great extreme metal albums of the 80s, i find it rather monotonous and uninspired which apparently the band members themselves agreed as they would all jump ship soon. David Vincent and Pete Sandoval soon joined Morbid Angel. Jesse Pintado moved on to Napalm Death and Oscar Garcia to Nausea. Good but not great.

TERRORIZER Caustic Attack

Album · 2018 · Deathgrind
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UMUR
"Caustic Attack" is the 4th full-length studio album by US death metal/grindcore act Terrorizer. The album was released through The End Records in October 2018. It´s the successor to "Hordes of Zombies" from 2012 and features an almost completely new lineup compared to the lineup who recorded the predecessor. The only remaining member is drummer Pete "Commando" Sandoval. New in the lineup are vocalist/bassist Sam Molina and guitarist Lee Harrison (drummer with Florida death metal act Monstrosity).

It´s seldom an album title describes the music on an album as well as "Caustic Attack" does, but the album title promises exactly what Terrorizer deliver on the album. A vicious caustic deathgrind attack. Sandoval has a powerful and distinct sounding drumming style, which drives the music forward in an aggressive and technically well played fashion. The riffs are played with razor sharp precision but not without a human touch, and the growling vocals suit the music well. The latter do become a little one-dimensional about half way through the album, and a little more variation in that department could have made the album even more entertaining, but it´s not a major issue.

Some sections have an old school Morbid Angel feel to them, but this is not an album that otherwise sounds like Sandoval´s former band. Terrorizer already early on carved a niché of their own by incorporating grindcore, hardcore, and crust punk elements to their death metal sound, and those influences are still heard on occasion on "Caustic Attack", and adds to the fact that the album is relatively varied (considering the core style). The material on the 14 track, 43:52 minutes long album are also pretty catchy and several of the tracks feature hook laden vocal phrases to growl along to. So while this is undeniably really extreme music, there is actually a good deal of memorable moments on the album (an example is the heavy opening section of "Crisis"), and that´s not necessarily something you encounter very often when listening to deathgrind releases.

"Caustic Attack" features a powerful, raw, and brutal sound, which suits the material perfectly. The drums are especially well produced, and the listener is able to hear each drum stroke clearly throughout the album. Upon conclusion "Caustic Attack" is a high quality deathgrind album. It´s fiercely aggressive, relentlessly brutal, and just reeks class in all departments. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

TERRORIZER Caustic Attack

Album · 2018 · Deathgrind
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Vim Fuego
Back in 1989, Terrorizer showed the metal world that grindcore didn’t have to be mired in shoddy D.I.Y. hardcore production and sounds, and could have a metallic sharpness to it. The band has rightly been praised and idolized for their influence on grind and death metal. Lyrically, they straddled the line between the political early grindcore, like Napalm Death and Sore throat, and the gore and horror of early death metal, like Autopsy and Necrophagia. Terrorizer was also famed for the high levels of musicianship demonstrated too, with the Morbid Angel pairing of Pete Sandoval and David Vincent showed that simply abusing the hell out of the kick and snare drums, and distorted blown-out weren’t the only way to play grindcore. Jesse Pintado’s breakneck riffage saw him fit in perfectly to Napalm Death.

For many years, it seemed “World Downfall” would be a one-off, treasured by fans of extreme metal the world over. Until 2006 it was. And then something happened to change history. Terrorizer dared “reform” and record a second album! “Darker Days Ahead” was poorly received, and was somewhat overshadowed by Pintado dying only days after it’s release. Another album “Hordes of Zombies” was released in 2012, and a fourth album, “Caustic Attack”, arrived in 2018. The three 21st century albums have been criticised for ruining the legacy of the band, and are supposedly pale imitations of the ’89 original.

The observant reader out there might have noticed the word “reform” was in “quotation marks”. It was like that for a “reason”. The criticism levelled at the “reformed” Terrorizer, and the three subsequent “albums” really is moronic. It is proof that those voicing these criticisms are elitist fools of the highest level, and have no idea of the true legacy of Terrorizer. A bold claim? Perhaps. But then, consider this:

TERRORIZER BROKE UP IN 1988.

Yep. There was no such band as Terrorizer in 1989 when “World Downfall” was released. What’s more, some of the songs on “World Downfall” weren’t even Terrorizer songs. Explanation time.

After Terrorizer broke up, Sandoval joined Morbid Angel, and vocalist Oscar Garcia continued to work with his other band Nausea. Bass player Alfred Estrada ended up in jail. Enter one Shane Embury. Napalm Death’s four string grind maestro Embury loved Terrorizer’s demos and the split they had shared with the aforementioned Nausea. He pestered Earache Record’s main man Dig Pearson into funding a posthumous Terrorizer album. And the rest is history? Well, not quite. There was the matter of recording the album.

Sandoval was ensconced in Morrisound Studios in Florida, busy recording Morbid Angel’s incendiary debut “Altars of Madness”. Garcia and Pintado arrived at the studios to put the album together. Busting Estrada out of jail was a bit beyond the resources of the band, so Sandoval’s band mate Vincent was pulled in to cover bass and some vocal duties. Right so time to rip into it? Er, not quite… Garcia had also played guitar in the original Terrorizer, but realised he couldn’t remember how to play most of the songs. No matter, Pintado had that covered. And away we go… almost. There weren’t actually enough Terrorizer songs to fill an album. What to do? Well, why not borrow some Nausea songs. So they did. Eight hours in the studio, with Vincent and Scott Burns twiddling the knobs in the studio, and “World Downfall” and Terrorizer were done.

So, a band which no longer existed recorded a single album of songs that weren’t even all theirs in super quick time, and what happened? Well, basically everyone fucked off to their respective new gigs, “World Downfall” hit the shelves, and extreme metal fans went mad for it.

So, back to the present day. 29 years after the band’s debut, a fourth Terrorizer album has arrived. There will be the usual naysayers and elitists going on about how it won’t be as good as the original, and that present day Terrorizer isn’t Terrorizer, that it’s a cash-in, a rip-off, a fake, or whatever else. Let them fester in their smug elitist stink. Anyone who takes the time to actually listen to “Caustic Attack” will be rewarded with what Terrorizer has always produced – sharp, intelligent metallic grindcore which is both thought provoking and fun at the same time.

The biggest difference between “Caustic Attack” and “World Downfall” is the improvement in production and sound quality. While “World Downfall” set new standards for grindcore clarity, “Caustic Attack” is sharper still.

Sandoval’s performance in particular is stunning. He has more room to explore looser high speed rhythms than he did in Morbid Angel. Three decades have not dulled the man’s skills in the slightest. From the first moments of lead-off track “Turbulence” he’s straight into his trademark machinegun double kick drums and rattling the snare like a man possessed. What is also instantly obvious is that the trademark Terrorizer riffs are there in bucketloads, and that the new line-up of Sandoval, bassist/vocalist Sam Molina and guitarist Lee Harrison are a match of any previous line-up of the band.

In the past, Terrorizer has mainly produced on short songs, with only a few making it past the three minute mark. Hell, the legendary “Dead Shall Rise” only just clocked past that mark at 3:05. This time out, there are a few longer songs. Does it mean the band has slowed down at all? Nah, you definitely haven’t been paying attention. Five songs come in over four minutes long. This is not a bad thing at all. It just means there’s more Terrorizer to savour. “Crisis” is the first of the longer tracks, but it doesn’t seem like it.

That’s not to say that the hardcore blasts of the past have disappeared either. The title track and “Poison Gas Tsunami” are sharp and, well, caustic and leave the listener salivating for more.

There’s nothing groundbreaking or new on offer here. That is not why you listen to Terrorizer, because the band broke that ground already, in 1989. This is simply the fourth installment from a highly influential band which never managed to record an album in it’s original incarnation. Anyone unable to get past that is a fool to themselves. Extreme metal, grindcore, deathgrind, or whatever other label you want to slap on this band, simply doesn’t get much better than this.

DEFECATION Intention Surpassed

Album · 2003 · Deathgrind
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UMUR
"Intention Surpassed" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US grindcore act Defecation. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in January 2003. Defecation was formed as a side-project by Righteous Pigs guitarist Mitch Harris (guitars, bass, vocals) and Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris (drums, vocals) in 1987. They released the "Purity Dilution" debut album in 1989. It was initially a one-off project, as Mitch Harris joined Napalm Death in late 1989, and both guys focused on that band (not for long though as Mick Harris soon left Napalm Death to form Scorn). However Mitch Harris opted to ressurect Defecation in the early years of the new millenium and recorded "Intention Surpassed".

While "Purity Dilution" was a team effort, "Intention Surpassed" is a one-man project where Mitch Harris handles all guitars, bass, drum programming, and vocals. Although there are 14 years between the debut album "Intention Surpassed", the music style is at it´s roots pretty much the same on the two releases. It´s Napalm Death influenced grindcore with some nods toward death metal. "Intention Surpassed" is a much sharper and less chaotic sounding release compared to "Purity Dilution" though and the programmed drums also provide the album with a more artificial and less organic sound than the case was on the debut album. The vocals are also a bit different as they are more aggressive and higher pitched than the growling vocals featured on the debut album.

"Intention Surpassed" is as such well produced but the programmed drums aren´t that suiting. They are fairly well programmed but in this case I´m sure a human drummer could have done the music more justice. The fact that the material on the 13 track, 39:04 minutes long album is a bit one-dimensional is not exactly a positive either, but it´s still overall a decent grindcore/death metal release deserving a 3 star (60%) rating.

DEFECATION Purity Dilution

Album · 1989 · Deathgrind
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UMUR
"Purity Dilution" is the debut full-length studio album by US/UK grindcore act Defecation. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in 1989. Defecation was formed as a side-project by Righteous Pigs guitarist Mitch Harris (guitars, bass, vocals) and Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris (drums, vocals) in 1987. It was initially a one-off project, as Mitch Harris joined Napalm Death in late 1989, and both guys focused on that band (not for long though as Mick Harris soon left Napalm Death to form Scorn). Mitch Harris ressurected Defecation in the early years of the new millenium and released "Intention Surpassed" in 2003.

The music on "Purity Dilution" is Napalm Death influenced grindcore with the odd nod towards a punked version of old school death metal. The album was recorded and mixed in 29 hours and was co-produded by Danny Lilker (Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, Brutal Truth). It´s audible that the band probably didn´t have time to do more than a few takes of each track, because this is a very organic sounding and not always tight performance. On some tracks the vocalist sounds pretty commanding, delivering some convincing growling vocals, while he sounds strained and hoarse on other tracks, which is probably the consequence of having to record all the vocal tracks within a few hours.

The tracks feature both mid-paced heavy parts, faster punk rhythms, and furiously fast-paced blast beat sections. Despite the relatively varied rhythmic approach the material is a bit one-dimensional and not many tracks stand out from the others. The sound production is pretty raw, lo-fi, and parts of the production lacks punch. So upon conclusion "Purity Dilution" is quality wise a bit of a mixed bag. I admire the DIY approach of the project, but the outcome really isn´t the greatest or most distinct sounding grindcore release and a 2.5 (50%) rating is warranted.

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