Grindcore

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Grindcore is an extreme metal genre formed in the mid 1980's from a marriage of Hardcore Punk, Crust Punk, Thrashcore and the then embryonic Death Metal genre.

Grindcore took Hardcore and Crust Punk's drive for blistering speed and short song format and Death Metal's meatier and heavier sound, as well as taking some influence from Industrial and Noise. A typical Grindcore song on average is about 30 seconds to two minutes long, and usually features downtuned and overdriven guitars and bass with fairly simple punk styled riffs alternating between lightning fast and slower groovier passages. Grindcore drumming usually consists of inhumanly fast blast beating and sometimes slower d-beats. Vocals range from Death Metal growls and grunts to high pitched shrieks, with some bands employing a more Hardcore style of shouted vocals.

Lyrically Grindcore bands usually fall into two camps, ones with political lyrics and messages of many Hardcore bands and the Gore obsessed bands that permeate Death Metal.

The first bands that usually take credit with creating the typical Grindcore sound are the United Kingdom's Napalm Death, formed in 1982, and first releasing the From Enslavement To Obliteration demo in 1986, and the full studio album Scum in 1987, the American band Regurgitation formed in 1986, and releasing the Organic Backwash demo in 1986, before changing their name to O.L.D. and recording the Old Lady Drivers album in 1988, and the United States' Genocide formed in 1985, who would record three demos in 1986, before changing their name to Repulsion and recording the Horrified studio album, which wouldn't be released until 1989 after the group had split up for the first time. Other notable early Grindcore acts include the United Kingdom's Extreme Noise Terror formed in 1985 (though they consider themselves as Hardcore punk), the United States' Terrorizer formed in 1987 featuring many members who would go on to be in other well-known and influential acts, Belgium's Agathocles formed in 1985 who dub their style of Grindcore 'Mincecore', United Kingdom's Unseen Terror formed in 1986 featuring members of Napalm Death, Italy's Cripple Bastards formed originally under the name of Grimcorpses before changing sound and name, Japan's legendary group S.O.B. formed in 1983, and others.

Some bands that must be mentioned for being highly influential to the development of Grindcore, include the Hardcore Punk of Siege, Deep Wound, Discharge, GISM, Amebix, Larm, Asocial, as well as Industrial/No Wave group Swans, and the Industrial group Throbbing Gristle.

Grindcore has also spawned many sub genres.

• Deathgrind.

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 Kingdom's 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.

• Goregrind.

Goregrind is a genre mixing Death Metal and Grindcore. Bands playing in this style feature extremely violent or medical terminology for lyrics, extreme, and for artwork (often times very real pictures), a deviation from the political messages of most Hardcore bands, and many bands make use of pitch shifted or extremely low guttural vocals. The credit for the first Goregrind band goes the United Kingdom's Carcass, formed in 1985 who's debut Reek Of Putrefaction became a favourite of DJ John Peel. Other notable early Goregrind acts include Sweden's General Surgery formed in 1988, United States' Impetigo formed in 1987, and the Netherland's Last Days Of Humanity formed in 1989.

• Pornogrind.

Pornogrind is a genre mixing Death Metal and Grindcore. Bands playing in this style feature the use of porn obsessed imagery and lyrics, extremely distorted and pitch shifted vocals, and often times incorporate much slower and groovy sections within songs. Notable Pornogrind bands include the United States' Meat Shits formed in 1989, and Germany's Gut formed in 1991.

• Cybergrind.

Cybergrind is a genre mixing Electronic and Grindcore. Bands that play this style make use of synths, computers, and drum machines in addition to the usual guitars and bass, while some bands use synths, MIDI files, and drum machines exclusively. Many Cybergrind bands tend to have little to no influence or relation to metal. Japan's Catasexual Urge Motivation formed in 1992 is generally considered the first Cybergrind group with a drum machine nicknamed Cyber E.M.F. Other notable Cybergrind bands include the United States Agoraphobic Nosebleed formed in 1994, and Australia's The Berzerker formed in 1995.

• Noisecore.

Noisecore is a genre mixing Hardcore, Noise Rock, and early Grindcore. Bands that play this style of Hardcore/Grindcore usually eschew any form of song structure, in favour of rapid blast beats or fast random playing with riff-less guitar and bass noise, and indecipherable vocal growls and shrieks. Many Noisecore songs don't even hit the 30 second mark, being short blasts and explosions of chaotic sound. Notable Noisecore bands include Australia's Seven Minutes Of Nausea formed in 1985, United States Anal Cunt formed in 1988, United Kingdom's Sore Throat formed in 1987, Switzerland's Fear Of God formed in 1988, and Japan's The Gerogerigegege formed in 1985. Bands that play Noisecore can be found on MMA under both Grindcore and Hardcore, depending on which style is ascendant.

• Fastcore/Thrashcore.

Thrashcore is a genre of Hardcore and early Grindcore. Bands that play in this style of Hardcore/Grindcore are discernible for making use of shorter song structures, faster tempos, and blast beating, more than regular Hardcore bands, and for this Thrashcore can be considered a forerunner to Grindcore and Powerviolence, As many early Grindcore bands took influence from early D.R.I., Deep Wound, and Septic Death. While many Thrashcore artists are labelled as Hardcore here on MMA, some can be considered closer to Grindcore, these bands include Japan's S.O.B. formed in 1983, and the United States' Siege formed in 1981, and Britain's Atavistic formed in 1985. Bands that play Thrashcore can be found on MMA under both Grindcore and Hardcore, depending on where the emphasis rests.

• Powerviolence.

Powerviolence is a genre of Hardcore and early Grindcore. Bands that play in this style are distinguishable from Grindcore and Hardcore for extremely short song lengths with often and sudden tempo changes, and shouted Hardcore vocals. Powerviolence bands draw on early Thrashcore, Hardcore, and Grindcore for inspiration, such as Scum era Napalm Death, Siege, Deep Wound, Cryptic Slaughter, and early D.R.I. Notable Powerviolence bands include the United States' Infest formed in 1986, the United States' Plutocracy formed in 1988, the United States' Hellnation formed in 1988, the United States' Capitalist Casualties formed in 1987, Germany's Yacopsae formed in 1990, and the United States' Man Is The Bastard formed in 1990. Bands that play Powerviolence can be found on MMA under both Grindcore and Hardcore, depending on which is closer to the band's sound.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Vim Fuego (leader)
  • Dobbie03
  • Sheavy

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grindcore Music Reviews

PHYLLOMEDUSA Spikeballs & Monklets (CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE Vs Phyllomedusa)

Split · 2017 · Grindcore
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Vim Fuego
If a frog croaks in the swamp and nobody hears it, did it really make a noise at all? The answer to this slight rephrasing of George Berkeley’s 1710 philosophical though experiment is “fuck yeah”, but the more important question is if that croak was “Spikeballs & Monklets (CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE Vs Phyllomedusa)” would anyone really want to hear it?

There’s really only one reason most people would ever attempt listening to this split shared between CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE and Phyllomedusa, and that is to hear one of the oddest covers of Blondie’s “One Way or Another” ever recorded, distorted into a weird mass of grind, sludge, and noise. That comes later, but first, the rest of the album.

Catastrophic Blunt Force Intracranial Haemorrhage Fluid Leaking from Ruptured Eardrums, or CxBxFxIxHxFxLxFxRxE is actually a far more entertaining name than the music. Their contribution to this split seems to be their first release. “Removing the Limbs of Sacrificial Bodies, Displaying the Gastrointestinal Tract from Esophagus to Anus, Hanging in the Trees, the Skin Stripped from the Heads, Lifted Above the Leaves, Blood Dripping to the Forest Floor in Praise of the Great Beelzebufo” (and I’m not writing out that fucking title again!) is a nine minute song, of sorts. It has a comedy intro about toad breeding, before descending into a formless mush of pingy snaredrums, blown out bass, and gargled vocals. Sir David Attenborough even puts in a guest appearance. It seems like the performers are not in the same time continuum, so it’s a bit chaotic. Listening to the full track is something of a feat of endurance. If you get to the end, congratulations! You haven’t actually achieved anything, but at least the racket has stopped.

Pyllomedusa’s lone amphibiphile big frog regularly burps forth frog fancying anthems of wildly varying quality and genre, depending on the species of toad he’s been licking. A majority of his releases are noise for noise’s sake. There might be instruments, or even some element of performance involved, but who can tell. At his most awe inspiring, he spawns sludge so thick and deep it would swallow Mastodons and Iron Monkeys. And in between the two, he can be a one man grindcore battering machine. “Spikeballs & Monklets” falls somewhere between sludge and grind, a stinking swampy mess unique to Phyllomedusa. It is so DIY you can almost see the bent nails and hammer marks where big frog has knocked this all together by himself.

The biggest problem with big frog’s musical output is the lack of variety. The lo-fi recording process means the first song generally sets the tone for the album, and you are going to get several versions of the same song over and over. “Coat The Globe In Toxoid Calamity (Uninjurious To Lissamphibia)” is a thunderous sludge/grind monstrosity. So is “Spikeballs And Monklets (Ephippibane)” and “Browning Of The Bottom Right”, and the next two tracks too. Unfortunately, the tempo hardly varies, the vocals are throat-shreddingly awesome, but totally indecipherable, and the guitars too indistinct for it to matter if there are even riffs involved.

But then along comes the Blondie cover. “One Way Or Another, I'm Going To Kill You” (see what he did to the title there?) is instantly transformed from kitschy New Wave schlock rock into a psychopathic sludge serenade. The bouncy, poppy main hook of the song is hung, drawn, and quartered, becoming a mechanized torture device. Debbie Harry’s laconic vocals are replaced by the gargled, grunted roar of a t-rex with a throat infection. Forget fictional monsters like Godzilla. big frog is a real, live sociopath hell bent on the destruction of mankind for the sake of the amphibians.

This ugly, noisy mess can be listened to for free, and to be honest, it needs to be that price. It was also released on CD, limited to 50 copies, but it would be an extremely dedicated grindcore collector who shelled out for it. As a whimsical mud encrusted, distortion soaked curio though, it might be worth a listen for someone with half an hour to spare and a very open mind.

https://phyllomedusa.bandcamp.com/album/spikeballs-monklets-cxbxfxixhxfxlxfxrxe-vs-phyllomedusa

NASUM Human 2.0

Album · 2000 · Grindcore
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Warthur
Grindcore often goes with a lo-fi aesthetic that leads some to conclude that it's just a morass of unpolished noise. Any grindcore fan probably has a portfolio of albums they could play you to try and dispel that impression, but one of the best for this purpose might be Nasum's Human 2.0. Nasum smash the notion that grindcore necessarily implies poor production values by presenting a very clean sound, in which the technicality of their compositions can be teased out - particularly on the longer songs - whilst not compromising an inch when it comes to that good old screaming, bellowing grindcore rage.

GENOCIDE GENERATOR III

Album · 2017 · Grindcore
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Vim Fuego
At its heart, grindcore is really a very uncomplicated, honest form of music. Take an idea and some instruments, smash them together as hard as you can, and record the carnage. All too often, the result is a dreadful, tuneless sludge, as evidenced by the mountainous slagheap of unloved and unlovable demos polluting the grind scene. Yes, good on the bands for having a go and getting something out there, but some quality control would be nice.

Every so often though, the crushing weight of carbon black detritus produces a diamond. Bavarian band Genocide Generator is one such gem. ‘III’ is a fairly simple album. The bug-eyed hand-drawn zebra on the cover of this album is a welcome change from the usual grind standards of mangled internal organs and copro-perversity. This album features two guys with a singular vision, creating razor sharp, slightly metallic grindcore. The duo squeezes in the odd industrial and electronic element to churn out their self-named “grindustrial” music. Unlike many bands, these guys don’t rely on their machines for their extremity or brutality, but merely to enhance their sound, like The Berzerker minus the silly masks and most blatant death metal elements.

It all seems quite straight forward. Two Germans playing hard, fast, loud music. Grind away for a couple of minutes, finish, repeat. But just be a little careful, because these guys have a few tricks just to stop the listener getting too settled. ‘III’ is actually Genocide Generator’s second album. In keeping with the industrial theme, there are no song titles on the album. Instead, each has a two digit number. There is no human meaning to it, the numbers being the anti-musical machine’s code. But really, do individual songs matter? This is an album to be listened to in its entirety. It’s not a huge stretch, at just over 18 minutes, but it’s like an intense rollercoaster which only ever hurtles downward. It spirals and loops, without ever slowing. A drum machine gets thrown into the terminal velocity plunge, but gets left behind. There are other machines of loving gracelessness thrown in too, but where they end and the cyborg musicians begin is lost in the maelstrom.

This is sharp grind with a clear cutting sound, like Wormrot at their razorblade best. Unlike Wormrot though, there is enough of a metallic tinge for curious metal fans too. There are heavier albums, and there are faster paced albums, but many of those are to be endured rather than enjoyed. ‘III’ is one of those rare finds where it satisfies the base desire for brutality, but leaves you wanting just a little more.

CARCASS Reek of Putrefaction

Album · 1988 · Grindcore
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siLLy puPPy
While the 80s was finding heavy metal to be catching on amongst the public, a few sick minds were going places that Mötley Crüe and Bon Jovi wouldn’t have dared! As thrash, death and doom metal were in their nascency, so too was another fledgling subgenre in the metal universe. Coming out of the same English city as the Beatles, Liverpool was a much grimier place than in the 60s and the members of CARCASS were busy stitching together all the most extreme elements of thrash, noise rock and hardcore punk to create their new uneasy listening experience. Although their early pioneering sound has been tagged as splatter death metal, hardgore and goregrind, the style has become universally known as grindcore, and just one look at the album cover collage of autopsy photos of their debut album REEK OF PUTREFACTION is enough to signal a very sick and disturbed musical experience awaits whoever dares play this one!

The band’s roots go back to the days when Bill Steer (guitarist) and Ken Owen (drummer) played together in a school band which led to Steer joining the D-beat punk band Disattack. After a few lineup changes in Disattack, the band changed its name to CARCASS but kept a lot of the punk influences as they sashayed their aggressive noise into metal territory. The new style was fairly original at the time with only Napalm Death even close to where they were going. Their debut album REEK OF PUTREFACTION perfectly displays a midway point between the hardcore and crust punk in the vein of Discharge alongside other angry punk rockers of the early 80s with the early old school death metal sounds that were emerging from the other side of the pond. REEK OF PUTREFACTION was an instant hit on the UK Indie Chart and thus CARCASS was one of the pioneering bands for ushering in a whole new wave of extreme metal above and beyond the more mainstream metal bands dominating the pop charts.

REEK OF PUTREFACTION is one of those albums that i have a love / hate relationship with. On one hand i totally dig the complete anarchic musical experience that has been laid down. The birth of grindcore was a messy affair with the lo-fi indie underground production values made all the more filthy sounding via down-tuned guitar abrasiveness, overdriven bass and blastbeat drum freneticism. The tempos can be blitzkrieg lightning fast or sort of meander on slow burn. Borrowing from the punk playbook, CARCASS adopted the “microsong” approach with no less than 22 songs laid out in the short playing time of 39min 47sec. I also totally love the beautifully titled “Genital Grinder,” “Maggot Colony,” “Microwaved Uterogestation” and “Manifestation Of Verrucose Urethra!” Oh, it’s just so wrooooong, but in a right way ;) On the second hand, REEK comes off as a grandiose experiment that was meant to create a certain reaction but doesn’t quite leave an invitation for repeated visits. Innovative for sure, pleasurable rarely. Luckily CARCASS would continue to evolve and soon become one of the most memorable melodic death metal bands of the 90s but for album number one, a quite memorable but only occasional interesting listening experience.

PLEASEEATTHEFUCKINGSANDWICHBITCH PETFSB 4

Album · 2016 · Grindcore
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Unitron
PleaseEatTheFuckingSandwichBitch gave me a great impression of how varied the cybergrind genre can be with the debut album, and was more on the instrumental side. PETFSB 4 includes more vocals, in a mix of distorted and glitched screams/growls as well as digitized voices. This does not sacrifice much of the interesting bits of the music though.

"Redneck 420" plays mostly in digitized grind, but the best part of the song actually comes in a short and strangely fitting bridge. It's a pretty simple little sci-fi melody of bleeps and bloops with a cool bassline, but damn is it catchy. Not to mention it's pretty feel good, which creates a pretty hilarious contrast when it's immediately followed up with a return to grind with the growled line of "Okay motherfuckers!". My personal favorite track on the album is the cleverly titled instrumental "PayEmilyTenFlyingShrimpBooks 4", which is an incredibly catchy track in the vein of the debut album.

Overall, PETFSB 4 is a pretty good follow-up to the debut, my only complaint is that I would have liked a bit more room for the instrumentals to shine. Not that you can't hear it, but the digitized voices (Not the growls) can get a bit overbearing sometimes. This is a minor complaint though, so If you're a fan of cybergrind, I highly recommend this album and PETFSB 1. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

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