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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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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)
Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching
Album · 2000 ·
MMA Reviewer's Challenge: Album Selected by Vim Fuego.
OKAY WAIT. HEAR ME OUT.
This one might be a bit...odd, so just stick with me.
Grindcore is an interesting genre to tackle. It's kind of like that drunk and filthy uncle you see stumbling in your front yard during a family reunion, who no-one in your family really wants to recognize but who's still been there as far back as you can remember and can't really do much about. But musically, Grindcore is a disturbing genre -- you take the dark, occultic roots of 70's metal (à la Sabbath) and boil it down until you get the most heinous and sickening components. All packed into these bite-sized songs (at only 1-2 minutes in length, many times even less) all with an almost overwhelming level intensity and brutality.
But what if we took it one step further, you ask. What if we took this genre that already revels in it's own depravity, and make it even uglier? Enter "goregrind", a genre often thought to have been debuted by Carcass back in 1988 with their album Reek of Putrefaction. Now this is the REAL abhorrent stuff, as in "make your supposedly edgy-music-loving friend keel over and die" abhorrent. Carcass was not the only band to bear the title of goregrind, however. Bands like Exhumed, Impetigo, and Haemorrhage began crawling out the woodwork in mass exodus in the late 80s and early 90s. Goregrind gained it's own following separate from it's parent sub-genre, as people were enthralled by the flippant use of down-tuned guitars and cheesy horror themes. One of the more popular of these bands was none other than Sweden-based Regurgitate.
Regurgitate made their first entrance onto the scene in 1991 with their demo, but didn't really make a breakthrough until their debut studio album, Effortless Regurgitation of Bright Red Blood (...), in 1994. This release was disturbing enough on it's own, but the real treat didn't come until about 6 years later. "But Thatcher," you ask, "how would they even be able to top that debut? What more could they do?" A lot more, it turns out. Carnivorous Erection was the name of Regurgitate's sophomoric release in 2000, on the dawn of the new century. Grindcore was and still is a popular genre, but it was still at it's zenith around this time. So this admittedly exploitative piece of history came out around the perfect time.
As you might have guessed, Regurgitate are not the most subtle bunch, and it's clear in their choice of cover art and in their music. What they display on this release is nothing short of the musical equivalent of death by a thousand cuts (or in this case, 38), and I wouldn't be surprised if someone would be put off by it. Hell, I'm still a bit uncomfortable, and I've listened through it dozens of times. But Regurgitate's work is not without merits, as they do put on quite a show. Jocke Pettersson (skins) in particular is the highlight of the album, and his pure ferocity and speed is extremely entertaining even with the sometime aggravating heading music. The Swedes especially hit their mark when they slam out an incessantly groovy crunch such as on, ahem, 'Fecal Freak'. But a very glaring problem with this release is the "vocal" work by Rikard Jansson. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't exactly my first tango with grindcore, as I'm a huge fan of fellow Swedish grinders Nasum, and I'm very familiar with their screaming vocal style. However Regurgitate and Jansson opt for this sort of watery death rattle. Might sound cool? Perhaps maybe used once, but it's on every single track, incessantly gurgling, sometimes ruining what could be a very powerful and exciting time. I know Regurgitate's sole purpose here is to shock, but there is a clear cut difference between shock and just being plain annoying.
There's really not much more to say about this one. Carnivorous Erection is a trip, sure, and I had quite a bit of fun on a few of the tracks, but isn't nearly as fun as some other grindcore or even goregrind acts I've come across. "Good, but non-essential" is a perfect phrase to summarize. I'm off to go rest for a bit.
Split · 2010 ·
On first sight, you might wonder “What the fuck is Atrocity doing on a split with Regurgitate?” After all, Regurgitate are Swedish underground legends of the grindcore scene, known for their sick-as-fuck humorous lyrics, gargled vocals, and monstrous sound, while Atrocity are German death metal chameleons, changing genres like other bands change underwear, covering grind, death, thrash, electronic, Gothic, industrial and groove metal. It has been a very long time since Atrocity have been anywhere near heavy enough, or underground enough, to share a split with the likes of Regurgitate without seeming as out of place as a cowpat on a football field.
On closer examination though, it turns out this isn’t the same Atrocity. This is Atrocity from Torrington, Connecticut, in the United States, formed in 1985, three years before the Germans. And this Atrocity played old school grindcore/death metal as pioneered by the likes of Repulsion and Napalm Death. This Atrocity also broke up in 2010, with this split their swansong. So how is it?
Short and anything but sweet, this little sub-six minute split seven incher starts with three tracks of Regurgitate’s usual blood gargling musical sickness. “Necrosadistic Cunts” and “Bloodbath Eruption” both clock in at under a minute and a half, grinding away like bloodthirsty threshing machines, exercises in controlled chaos and music heavy enough to have a physical presence. “Anatomised” is a three second micro-song tacked on the end.
Atrocity cover prolific country artist Will Oldham, also known as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, taking on the cheerless “I See A Darkness”, a song about the depths of depression, and also covered by Johnny Cash. Fear not though, for this song is country in origin only. This old school grind/death rendition is a marvel. Sped up, the song is over in half the time of the gloomy original. The barked vocals are reminiscent of Carnivore-era Pete Steele, or perhaps Repulsion’s Scott Carlson. There is an added, slightly discordant guitar solo, fuzzy bass and a pounding jackhammer rhythm, all of which contributes to turning the suicidal to the psychotic.
It is not often Regurgitate will ever share a record with any other artist and not produce the highlight of the recording, but it has happened this time. Regurgitate is Regurgitate, and under any other circumstance that would be enough to win the day. However, Atrocity’s farewell reinterpretation of a modern country song is simply death/grind at its absolute powerful pinnacle.
Boxset / Compilation · 2015 ·
Have you ever had the thought “What I really need to feel complete and fulfilled in my life is a free nine hour compilation of DIY and underground grindcore, mostly of Eastern European origin”? No? Me either.
Well, obviously Alexey Zavyalov, from Torn Flesh Records has had such a thought, because he undertook the task of assembling this monstrous compilation. Now, mega-compilations are quite easy to come by online, but the usual problem with them is that they are “unofficial”. That means the compiler has just pinched music from wherever they wanted, without permission or acknowledgement of the artist involved. Alexey has actually gone to the trouble of gaining permission for this one, so download away, guilt free!
Now, more than nine hours of free music sounds nice, but what is it actually like? Well, it doesn’t sound nice. It actually sounds pretty fucking nasty and brutal. Which is a good thing. First track on this 312 song marathon is “Bunka Bunka Blues”, from mincecore legends Agathocles. In a career now into its fourth decade, the Belgian three-piece prove their music has not evolved or developed one jot since they began in 1985. The sound quality is fucking terrible, with the drums in particular sounding like a pencil being tapped on a table. After all this time, it’s quite obvious Agathocles don’t really give a fuck about recording quality. They still do it for the fun of it.
And that’s what this whole compilation is all about. There are nearly 80 artists here, and it would be highly doubtful any of them make any financial gain whatsoever from playing music. It ain’t about the money. It’s about the glorious, guttural, gory, grindy grooves.
There’s a hell of a variety of different subgenres of grindcore on offer here. There’s near-death grinders, a good selection of porno-grind and gore-grind, a bit of cyber-grind, a bit of noise, and some experimental shit. A lot of these bands are pretty obscure, probably being put together in garages and bedrooms throughout the world, but grind fans will recognise a few of the names here, like Porky Vagina, Gorgonized Dorks, Shitnoise Bastards, and Straight Hate. Sound quality also varies a lot too, from crystal clear and professional sounding, to gargly old crap which sounds like it was recorded onto masking tape.
There are also covers spread liberally throughout the album, like Spinal Cord Ejaculation’s version of Anal Cunt’s “Radio Shit”, Porky Vagina’s reinterpretation of “Ace of Spades”, called “AIDS In Space”, Flesh Grinder’s creepy take on Obituary’s “Slowly We Rot”, the truly bizarre pornogrind cover of Nine Inch Nails “Hurt” by Anal Tetris, and NekRock unrecognisable cover of Dying Fetus’ “Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog”.
At more than nine hours long, there’s no way to sit through this entire compilation in one go without turning your brain to mush. It’s one of those collections where the best idea is to hit random play and let the ensuing chaos just wash over you. It also is not one for the uninitiated. If you’re new to grindcore, stick to Napalm Death or Carcass, because unless you’ve built up a grind tolerance, a lot of this will sound like aimless, pointless noise.
If this is your thing though, crank up the volume, crack open a beer, and toast Alexey Zavyalov for putting this all together.