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 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.

• 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 (+ child sub-genres):
  • Vim Fuego (leader)

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grindcore Music Reviews

BRUTAL TRUTH Need to Control

Album · 1994 · Grindcore
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SilentScream213
After the fantastic debut, Brutal Truth return with a follow up that is much less one dimensional, but also less consistent. In opposition to the near constant pure Deathgrind pummeling on the debut, Need to Control features some slower songs, some straight Grindcore, and a decent amount of Noise influence on a few tracks, with some being pure Industrial/Noise.

The opening track is a pretty big surprise from the band, being akin to a Death Doom sound and really slowing down their formula, but it pulls this off rather well. The album continues to flow between their signature Deathgrind and the other influences I mentioned above. One huge issue with this album is that most of the experimentation is not as great as the Deathgrind, and the Deathgrind on this one just doesn’t match up to their debut.

Ultimately, there’s nothing on this I’d rather hear than the debut. The inclusion of other sounds and experimentation might pay off as growth later, but here it’s not fully realized, leaving the album inconsistent.

TERRORIZER Darker Days Ahead

Album · 2006 · Deathgrind
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UMUR
"Darker Days Ahead" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US grindcore/death metal act Terrorizer. The album was released through Century Media Records in August 2006. Terrorizer is a bit of a legendary act on the early grindcore/death metal scene as it featured members in the lineup who would later join high profile acts like Morbid Angel and Napalm Death. Terrorizer had actually split-up in 1988, but was given 8 hours of studio/mixing time in 1989 and recorded and mixed their debut album "World Downfall (1989)" with a quickly assembled lineup, who disbanded again immediately after the recording sessions. So it´s not surprising that only half of the lineup who recorded "World Downfall (1989)" return on this comeback album 17 years down the line. That´s drummer Pete Sandoval and guitarist Jesse Pintado, while Anthony Rezhawk has replaced Oscar Garcia on vocals and Tony Norman has replaced Dave Vincent on bass (Norman also plays guitars).

Stylistically "Darker Days Ahead" is a much more death metal oriented release than "World Downfall (1989)" was. It´s still fast, blasting, and aggressive deathgrind, but there are also heavier and more brutal sections here, which often are more death metal oriented than grindcore styled (an example is "Crematorium" but there are other examples of the heavier style throughout the album). Terrorizer are a well playing band, and Rezhawk has a raw voice and a brutal growling delivery which suits the instrumental part of the music well. The sound production is also fairly powerful and detailed, although nothing out of the ordinary for the style. I have to give a special mention to the drum sound though, which has been successfully mixed in a way so the listener is able to hear each and every snare hit clearly even during the most chaotic and furiously fast-paced blast beat sections.

When it comes to the musicianship it´s the drumming by Pete Sandoval which deserves a mention too, because once again it is made abundantly clear how well playing a drummer he is. Sandoval´s work with Morbid Angel is of course legendary and extremely influential, but his drumming here, although typically a bit more simple (well...relatively), is also of an incredibly high quality. Paired with the aggressive growling vocals, and the fast-paced riffs, it makes for a caustic sonic cocktail of raw and brutal deathgrind. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved and I may even be a bit cheap with the stars here.

DAYS OF DESOLATION Circles

Album · 2022 · Grindcore
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siLLy puPPy
Not exactly the most prolific band, the Belgian trio DAYS OF DESOLATION released its self-titled debut in 2013 and is only now following up in 2022 with its second offering CIRCLES. Both albums are only slightly over 30 minutes long but in the band’s defense it has contributed a lengthy list of splits in that time. This band comes from the small city of Halen in the Limburg region of Belgium and creates a caustic blend of fast-paced grindcore with the slap-in-the-face stripped down production style and extensive use of screaming featured in the most extreme forms of hardcore punk but then again grindcore itself is one of those punk derivatives in the metal universe.

CIRCLES is a fairly typical grind-punk release with succinct violent bursts of unrestrained energy, caustic guitar riffs, percussive explosiveness and angry screaming / shouted vocals. This particular album is out of the Pig Destroyer playbook and features short clips, clean melodic passages and atmospheric bridges to offer a break from the otherwise corrosive din presented in the main musical performances. The album while short offers enough variation to keep the oft one-dimensional nature of grindcore from becoming too monotonous. This trio consists of Owen (vocals, drums), Jasper (guitar, bass) and Bart (guitar).

As with most of these grind-punk albums, the tracks are mostly of a playing time of less than 3 minutes but 3 tracks do exceed that time limit with the bizarre “Neuron Nebula” and closing “Hypersleep” stretching past 4. This particular track is perhaps the most interesting as it features extended feedback noise and other tricks and trinkets for extending the otherwise no nonsense approach of creating the most vitriolic uproar as possible. The production is actually really good as it features the perfect mix of violent distortion in a DIY sort of style and the slicker contrasting elements.

While DAYS OF DESOLATION doesn’t really add anything new to the paradigm of crust fueled girndcore, these guys do manage to craft a compelling specimen of this most caustic corner of the punk metal universe. While most of the album rages on at the speed of light in a form of sonic dystopia, there are also rare moments of pure melodic chill time in just enough doses as to keep the listener from going completely insane. Overall this is a well calculated example of grind-punk even if it’s not revolutionary in any particular way. I guess it’s safe to say that it may be another nine years before the band’s next independent releases finds its way into the world.

O.L.D. The Musical Dimension of Sleastak

Album · 1993 · Grindcore
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SilentScream213
Not only one of the weirdest Metal albums, but plainly one of the weirdest albums period. Old are one of the fastest changing bands out there, exploring bizarre new frontiers on each release that are vastly different from the prior.

The Musical Dimensions of Sleastak is a nonsensical, Industrial affair between Metal and electronics. The songs are split between extreme metallic rocking and spacey electronic noise, all the while being very experimental in nature. A decent portion of this release is not Rock music at all, rife with science fiction-esque atmospheric noise that is difficult to define.

Wildly inconsistent in the end. Definitely a step down from Lo Flux Tube, although arguably more experimental and genre-busting. Fans of weirdo music will love this, and even those who aren’t may find this one intriguing listen.

ROTTING CHRIST Decline's Return

Demo · 1989 · Grindcore
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UMUR
"Decline's Return" is the 2nd demo by Greek grindcore (later black/gothic metal) act Rotting Christ. The demo was independently released on cassette tape in January 1989. It´s the successor to the "Leprosy of Death" demo from November 1988.

The music style is still a raw and aggressive type of grindcore, loaded with heavy hardcore sections, and loads of noisy and furiously fast-paced blasting. Like the case was with "Leprosy of Death" (1988), the material on "Decline's Return" was also recorded live at the band´s rehearsal space (on the 25th of January 1989), but unlike the first demo, the lo-fi sounding (non)-production of the material on "Decline's Return" makes it an almost impossble release to listen to. I can hear a distored rumbling bass somewhere in the mix, a vocalist shouting, and maybe a cymbal here and there, but other than that this is just a muddy and dark collage of noise.

While the musical influences are obviously still acts like Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror, the band´s lyrical approach has shifted towards goregrind Carcass territory which song titles like "Baptised in Phlegm", "Pneumonovascular Carcinogenesis", and "Embryonic Necrocannibalism" are a testimony to. 10 tracks and a total playing time of 9:30 minutes and then the demo is over, and in this case it´s hard not to feel some sort of relief. I don´t hesitate to call this sonic violence on the ears and there are probably not many out there, who will be able to appreciate a recording this raw and extreme. A 1.5 star (30%) rating is warranted.

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