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

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.

ROTTING CHRIST Leprosy Of Death

Demo · 1988 · Grindcore
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UMUR
"Leprosy of Death" is the first demo by Greek grindcore (later black/gothic metal) act Rotting Christ. The demo was independently released on cassette tape in November 1988. Rotting Christ formed as far back as 1984 under the Black Church monicker but changed their name to the current one in 1987.

While Rotting Christ would soon turn towards a black metal oriented sound they play a raw, noisy, and fast-paced grindcore style on "Leprosy of Death". The demo features 9 tracks and a total playing time of 8:51 minutes. All material was recorded live during a rehearsal on the 11th of November 1988. The instruments don´t always sound like they are in tune, and there are feedback noise too, but it all just adds to the authenticity of the compositions. The music style is strongly influenced by early Napalm Death and other extreme grindcore/crust punk/hardcore artists of that era like Extreme Noise Terror, and S.O.B.

"Leprosy of Death" is a pretty extreme recording in every way possible. It´s recorded live in a rehearsal space and therefore the sound production is lo-fi and noisy (but actually still pretty well sounding), the performances aren´t exactly tight, and the songwriting is one-dimensional, but it´s as authentic as they get in terms of experiencing youthful anger and frustration through music. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

LAST DAYS OF HUMANITY Horrific Compositions Of Decomposition

Album · 2021 · Goregrind
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Vim Fuego
Goregrind – invented by Carcass, perfected by Regurgitate, and pushed to the absolute limit by Last Days of Humanity.

Everything Last Days of Humanity (LDOH) has ever produced has been extreme, pushing the boundaries between brutal uncompromising music and formless noise. This is what endears the band to it’s fans, and also deters potential new listeners. Just look at the band’s previous album covers. Gory pictures are the norm among goregrind bands, but LDOH’s album covers take the revulsion to new depths. Human bodies aren’t just mangled but are also decomposing, with images so visceral and disgusting you can almost smell the putrefaction and trigger your gag reflex. This music isn’t something which can just be explored casually.

And the music. It’s fast, distorted, guttural, and really fucking heavy, but often it dissolves into an indistinguishable blur. It’s a nasty, gut-punch kind of a blur, and quite satisfying in it’s own right, but it’s hard to tell where bass, guitar, vocals, and drums all start and end. There have always riffs lurking just beneath the surface, but like the Loch Ness monster, they have proved to be elusive up until now.

Right from the first few seconds, “Hematopoietic System Tissue and Lymphoid Fail” opens with an absolutely massive riff which wouldn’t sound out of place on Carcass’ first two albums, except that it’s crystal clear and monumentally heavy. It seems like for almost the first time in their career LDOH actually had a production budget.

However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Hans Smits’ vocals still sound like a clogged drain in a pathology lab. Clearer production aside, this is still the familiar trademark micro-blast songs, sometimes lasting only a few seconds but run together so it’s often hard to know where one song ends and the next begins. Let’s face it though, this isn’t the sort of music you listen to for individual songs. Other than with the opening track, the only other time this matters is with a suitably mangled cover of Fear of God’s “Running Through The Blood”. Sometimes music emerges from the crimson maelstrom. Otherwise, this album is glorious, gory cascades of shredded, decaying human tissue.

So… is LDOH breaking new ground? No. Is LDOH still pushing the limits? Yes. Is this a contradiction? Maybe. Is “Horrific Compositions of Decomposition” any good? Yes.

ULTRA VOMIT Panzer Surprise!

Album · 2017 · Grindcore
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Vim Fuego
French humour can be a bit hard to understand for non-French people. It takes huge chunks of absurdity and mixes it with social commentary, word play (“jeux de mots”, often untranslatable to other languages), and elements of what-the-fuck weirdness. Those of us who aren’t French can laugh along with the bits we do get, but we aren’t getting the full burn. However, not getting the full joke isn’t a problem when the bits you do get are actually really fucking funny. Take “Panzer Surprise!” here as an example.

You’re not going to expect anything too intellectual from a grindcore band called Ultra Vomit which has produced a previous album called “M. Patate” (Mr Potato), and another called “Objectif: Thunes” which has a piss take of a power metal album cover. And piss-taking absurdity is exactly what you get on “Panzer Surprise!”

(Now, a warning: my French isn’t too good. I used to take French at school mainly because the teacher was hot, and I was a horny teenage boy. I remember a few things, like merde is French for shit, fantôme means ghost, and saying “j'aime tes seins” to a girl is not very polite (it means “I like your tits”, and that was the last time I ever said anything in class when I didn’t know what it meant first!) Due to my linguistic deficiencies Google Translate has been used extensively here. If there are any language fuck ups, blame the interweb, not me!)

The funny starts with the cover art. “Panzer Surprise!” has a cartoon caricature of the band riding a tank through the Looney Toons famous end card, presumably squashing Porky Pig. That’s all, folks!

Intro track “Entooned” previews the musical madness here. Yes, the name is a play on Entombed, and you get a death metal version of the Looney Toons theme song.

Second track “Kammthaar” is more Rammstein than Rammstein. It has a massive martial main riff, a chantable chorus even if you don’t understand the language, it has the solemn almost-spoken breakdown, choral backing. It seems quite earnest and meaningful until you realise kammthar is a word play on the word “camtar”, or van. Yep, it’s a Rammstein style song about driving a truck.

Next comes “Un Chien Géant”, which literally translates to “A Giant Dog” (I guessed that even with my stunted French!) and is apparently in the style of French metal band Tagada Jones. Not heard of them, so not sure how accurate the parody is – it’s probably one of those jokes only the French would get. And the whole album continues like this. “Takoyaki” starts out sounding like a System of a Down parody, then the song breaks down, and out come the Japanese kawaii vocals a la Babymetal. “Super Sexe” is a dance club (maybe a strip club?) and it inspired a cowpunk song. “Hyper Sexe” is just the word “sexe” repeated 124 times. “Le Train Fantôme” is about a trip on train 666, a ghost train.

The next obvious parody is “Calojira”. It it’s a note-perfect homage to Gojira, combined with the lyrics of French singer/songwriter Calogero. Er, except Ultra Vomit shoot a seagull mid-song.

“Jésus” is perhaps the sharpest parody on show here. It turns AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” into a slick Christian rock anthem ripping TV preachers, and then somehow morphs into an homage to footballer Lionel Messi. It could be a comment on sport, religion, and mass media, or it could just be a really funny song. “Pink Pantera” almost reaches the same height of absurdity. Yep, the Pink Panther theme tune done Pantera style. And “Pipi Vs Caca”? Straight toilet humour. Not clever, but always funny.

For a grindcore band, there isn’t much grind on this album, so it looks like full on pig squeal pornogrind track “La Ch'nille” was thrown in as a reminder of what these guys can do when they put their minds to it.

And just to wind up this whole crazy, mostly illogical album, “Évier Metal” is a near five minute ode to a kitchen tap or sink, or some combination of the two (I don’t fucking know, I’m not French!) simply because the name Évier Metal sounds a lot like heavy metal. As stupid as it sounds, it’s a fucking banging straight up trad metal anthem.

All in all, it’s really best to just listen and enjoy, and not try too hard to understand exactly what these guys are on about. Making “Panzer Surprise!” a covers album would have been too easy and a bit dull. A parody album like this is far superior. Completely fucking insane.

BRUTAL TRUTH Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses

Album · 1992 · Deathgrind
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SilentScream213
Yes! Finally! A band takes the potential of Grindcore and uses it right!

Brutal Truth’s debut is full of extreme high-energy tracks stock full of insane riffage! There is a huge Death/Thrash influence to this thing, and the riffs are super evil sounding despite the wholly political nature of the album. And thank goodness, for once a Grindcore vocalist enunciates, those politically charged lyrics are easy to follow. The vocals aren’t really special in themselves but they get credit for doing what 95% of Grindcore can’t by being god damn intelligible.

The real sauce here is the musicianship, and holy hell these guys can play. I mentioned the riffage earlier, and it is air-tight. Guitar and bass shred along at insane speeds, ripping off the best riffs I’ve heard in the genre yet. The drumming is inhuman, the blast-beats are probably the fastest I’ve heard yet, and actually manage to be on-time (if not incredibly precise). However, the drums are usually not so much sonic aggression as to drown out the tasty riffs, and the guy knows when to play extreme and when to serve the music. Huge plus!

Incredibly awesome Deathgrind and my personal favorite Grindcore album as of its release.

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