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

GENERAL SURGERY Left Hand Pathology

Album · 2006 · Goregrind
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UMUR
"Left Hand Pathology" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish death metal/goregrind act General Surgery. The album was released through Listenable Records in October 2006. General Surgery were originally active in the 1988-1991 period and released three demos and the "Necrology (1991)" EP before disbanding. The members have since been part of other prolific Swedish death metal and grindcore acts such as Dismember, Afflicted, Crematory and Regurgitate. General Surgery reformed again in the early 00s (although it´s only guitarist Joachim "Jocke" Carlsson and lead vocalist Grant McWilliams who remain from the lineup who recorded the "Necrology (1991)" EP) and have been putting out a string of releases since 2003.

So while "Left Hand Pathology" may be a debut album, it´s an album featuring seasoned musicians, who know how to handle their instruments. Stylistically General Surgery pretty much continue where they left off with "Necrology (1991)". Early Carcass influenced goregrind/death metal complete with gory pathology oriented lyrics and bizarre song titles like "Mucopurulent Mayhem", "Convivial Corpse Disposal Methodology", and "Capricious Provisional Cadaver Grater". The music style is also very similar to early Carcass, even down to the "juicy" growling vocal style, although the occasional old school Swedish death metal part is also heard. The latter is a minor element of the band´s sound though, and overall it wouldn´t be wrong to label the music style on "Left Hand Pathology" goregrind Carcass worship.

General Surgery was one of the first Carcass worship acts but upon returning to the scene in the early 00s, several other artists had picked up the torch, and today they are just one of many. So the novelty of being one of the first acts to pay tribute to the legendary British act has worn off. At this point it´s purely about the quality of the music and in that department the material on the 14 track, 33:53 minutes long album is decent. The playing is tight, the songwriting effective, and the sound production is raw, powerful, and detailed, so overall the product is of a relatively high quality. The "relative" word is used here because the songwriting is too one-dimensional in the end, and the tracks are hard to tell apart even after many listens, and there is no arguing the material could have prospered from more variation. Had more of the tracks featured a degree of variation like the closing track "Convivial Corpse Disposal Methodology", which is an absolutely brilliant track, my overall impression of the album had probably been different, but as it is it´s simply not varied enough.

When that is said "Left Hand Pathology" is still an entertaining release while it plays and if you can´t get enough of early Carcass worship albums this is definitely one of the places to go. Just take it for what is is. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.

BRAVE THE COLD Scarcity

Album · 2020 · Deathgrind
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UMUR
"Scarcity" is the debut full-length studio album by US deathgrind act Brave The Cold. The album was released through Mission Two Entertainment in October 2020. Brave The Cold was founded in 2018 by guitarist/bassist/lead vocalist Mitch Harris, and Belgian drummer Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth, Soilwork..etc.) was added to complete the two-piece lineup. "Scarcity" was released only a month after "Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism (2020)" by Napalm Death. An album Harris also played on. Circumstances in Harris life meant he and his family moved back to Las Vegas after living almost two decades in the UK, and his position in Napalm Death is at this moment still undecided. Officially he is taking a break from the band and his touring duties are covered by session musicians. Although Harris hasn´t toured with Napalm Death for quite a few years, his career in music is far from over, and Brave The Cold is the project to prove that.

Stylistically the material on "Scarcity" is a relatively varied form of deathgrind. There are blastbeat parts here, but just as many heavy parts. The hardcore punk influence is strong and although "Scarcity" does not sound like Napalm Death there are still quite a few similarities in the riff department, which is of course only natural as Harris has co-written loads of Napalm Death songs throughout the years.

Harris vocals are aggressive, snarling, and raw, but he also sings clean vocals on the album. He is not the most unique sounding clean vocalist out there, but the clean vocal parts work well and provide the album with a melancholic atmosphere, which compliments the raw aggression of the most brutal deathgrind parts. The musicianship is not surprisingly on a high level given the two musicians featured in the lineup. Verbeuren´s drumming is technical but never in a forced way and he always seem to know exactly what a song needs. When a break or a tempo change is needed, or when to add a little more organic playing. He is just one hell of a drummer, and proves it once again here.

As mentioned above the material on "Scarcity" is relatively varied for the genre, and the tracks on the 11 track, 38:03 minutes long album are all memorable and surprisingly catchy. It´s not often you´ll find a deathgrind album with material as memorable as the case is on "Scarcity" and when it features a unique sound too, it´s hard not to say more than a few praising words about the album. The album features a raw, brutal, and powerful sonding production too, and upon conclusion it´s a high quality release in all departments. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

TERRORIZER World Downfall

Album · 1989 · Deathgrind
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SilentScream213
World Downfall is by far my favorite Grindcore album of the 80’s. It’s become really clear to me why most Grindcore doesn’t do it for me while Terrorizer kicks ass.

1. I don’t like silly/humorous music, which a fair portion of Grindcore is. This means lyrically and sonically – Terrorizer is full of hardcore riffs and angry, pessimistic messages that mesh well with the chaotic, manic wall of aggression.

2. Unlike most Punk genres, if you want to play Grindcore, you have to know how to play your instruments… Doing everything as fast as physically possible without having some amazing technique and precision just sounds awful. Terrorizer is full of extreme talent and capability. They nail everything they aim for and always sound precise (save the vocalist… more on that later).

3. If you want to play Grindcore, you need decent production. If you’re just going hard on every instrument as aggressively as possible, and you don’t have some sort of production job that can individualize those instruments, it just sounds like noise. World Downfall has some very good production without compromising the grit or making it sound clean. There is no sheen to it; simply a very good job of making sure every awesome riff is still audible over those pounding drums, and the bass gets some great treatment too.

There is one huge weakness here, else it would be a near perfect grind record. The vocalist.

I know what people say, “you don’t listen to extreme music for the vocals! It’s for the riffs!” Never for a second have I felt that way, and never have I understood it. If vocals are present, they matter, and if lyrics are present, they matter. They are pieces of the art that forms the whole.

The vocalist here doesn’t have a bad sound, and the lyrics are fine. The written lyrics are fine. The words that come out of the vocalist’s mouth hit about 50% of what’s written, 40% of the time shout random words or syllables that are not understandable, and 10% of the time completely skips a verse or chorus and says absolutely nothing. There are no full sentences or lines, at best a few of the words are launched out, sometimes not even in order. It’s like the vocalist had never seen the lyrics before, they just gave him a paper while they jammed and he decided to wing it.

Imagine if any other band member did that with their instrument. The album would sound like absolute crap. Why do vocalists get a pass? Not from me. Really drags down an otherwise top-notch grind album.

CATTLE DECAPITATION To Serve Man

Album · 2002 · Grindcore
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UMUR
"To Serve Man" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, California based grindcore/death metal act Cattle Decapitation. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in July 2002. There have been a couple of lineup changes since the release of "Homovore (2000)" as guitarist Gabe Serbian has been replaced by Josh Elmore, and Troy Oftedal has been added as the band´s bassist.

Stylistically especially the change on the guitarist post has had an impact, and while the band´s core style is still predominantly grindcore based, there are now a couple of death metal traits in the music too (especially closing track "Chuck Blower" features death metal elements). The riffs are at times pretty sophisticated for the style, and Elmore is generally a very adventurous guitarist. The vocals on the album are pretty extreme. Travis Ryan´s vocal style is deep growling layered with high pitched screams. The lyrical universe is still an odd blend of vegan extremism/political agenda, violence, and bizarre humour. It´s hard not to find song titles like "Testicular Manslaughter", "Long-Pig Chef and the Hairless Goat", "Hypogastric Combustion by C-4 Plastique", and "Colonic Villus Biopsy Performed on the Gastro-Intestinally Incapable" oddly charming.

The sound production is decent but not perfect. The drum sound is a bit "artificial" sounding, and the mix is often a bit thin (lacking bottom), but overall the sound suits the music pretty well, and it´s probably an aquired taste if you´ll enjoy the sound production. So upon conclusion "To Serve Man" is a relatively high quality release by Cattle Decapitation, although they were still a little rough around the edges at this early point in their career. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

NAPALM DEATH Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism

Album · 2020 · Grindcore
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Vim Fuego
OK, here’s the tl;dr on Napalm Death’s new album:

1. It’s still heavy, harsh shit.

2. It still sounds mostly the same as other Napalm Death records.

3. There’s some little bits that sound a bit different to other Napalm Death records.

4. This is really fucking good!

If you have a slightly longer attention span than the “too long; didn’t read” crowd, here’s a few more thoughts on “Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism”.

If you’re a Napalm Death fan, when was the last time the band genuinely surprised you? For most, it’s probably the first time you ever heard the band. But also if you’re a Napalm Death fan, can you honestly say that any two albums sound the same? There will be a few listeners who will say yes, but observe: death metal influence creeping in to “Harmony Corruption”, massive grooves on “Inside The Torn Apart”, the rediscovery of the band’s hardcore roots with “Leaders, Not Followers”.

That’s the essence of Napalm Death’s longevity. It’s not so much change for change’s sake, but the incorporation of new influences to combine with the band’s existing sound to evolve slowly to something new. This time, it seems there is a touch of alternative thrown into the mix. No, not alternative rock which seemed edgy for about 10 minutes in the 1990s, but the alternative to alternative, Harsh, heavy, and properly original, like Swans and Neurosis. Check the evidence.

“Fuck The Factoid” blasts past almost before you’ve noticed. The familiar wall of noise smacks you in the face as you would hope. Most prominent in this song, Danny Herrera still smashes the hell out of the drum kit in ways which shouldn’t be humanly possible. Shane Embury’s blown-to-bits bass is more visible on this album than in previous releases. Check his gargantuan intro to “Backlash Just Because”. The old school hardcore influence is still floating near the top. “That Curse of Being in Thrall” has abundant hardcore riffs and blastbeats, and then slams into a thunderous doom/death riff.

“Contagion” has hints of Necroticism-era Carcass in the guitar sound, but it has Barney’s dry bark layered over it, and an almost Neurosis-ish discordant drone to the chorus. Embury pulls off another vicious bass intro to “Joie De Ne Pas Vivre”, an almost otherworldly demonic sounding song with a Godflesh/Swans industrial dissonance to it.

“Invigorating Clutch” is an unabating robotic rockcrusher of a song, reminiscent of Monotheist-era Celtic Frost. No one else creates riffs like Mitch Harris – simple in the “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?” vein, yet nobody else has thought of it.

There are so many references to different bands and genres which could be thrown in here that it makes your mind spin, but it’s all still Napalm Death to the (grind)core. There are subtleties and little flourishes which won’t be picked up on a first listen, and it’s all bathed in glorious stentorian noise.

Unlike “Apex Predator”, which was a more demanding and difficult listen, “Throes Of Joy In The Jaws Of Defeatism” could be presented to someone not familiar with Napalm Death as an introduction to the band. And for those already familiar with then band, it’s quickly obvious that even for a band well into it’s fourth decade of existence, Napalm Death is still producing music as strong and vital as at any time in the band’s long and celebrated career.

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