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

CLOUD RAT Cloud Rat

Album · 2010 · Grindcore
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siLLy puPPy
Named after the cute little nocturnal rodents native to the forests of the Philippines, this CLOUD RAT is anything but cute and cuddly. Formed in 2009 in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan this band has released a number of earache inducing EPs, splits and compilations but only a few actual albums but this is a grindcore band where such distinctions blur and albums are hell bent for leather to be as bombastically brief as possible.

This self-titled release was the debut which came out in 2010. With 11 tracks it only amounts to 17 1/2 minutes of playing time and for the most part features extreme screaming over heavily distorted grind guitars that explore not only the expected high tempo speeds of the core genres but also features some slower doom metal moments with exaggerated distortion. The album sorta runs together in a well-thought out flow.

The track “Sinkhole” for example cedes into “Yama” which features a nice mid-album intermission with clean guitar chords echoing away with spoken word poetry which is on the weirder side of things cutest of singer, screamer and band philosopher Madison Marshall who happens to be a girl! Female fronted grindcore isn’t very common but she pulls it off with ease. What’s cool about this short little album is that it goes well beyond the usual one dimensional approach of grindcore and incorporates moments of sludge metal, crust punk and screamo.

Michigan has long been a hotbed for every style of music imaginable and it’s obvious that even extreme caustic metal has found a reinterpretation within this state’s boundaries. CLOUD RAT easily covers the grindcore basics but goes well beyond the call of duty and for that i find this band to be a rising star of sort albeit resorted to the underground despite the tiny mammal it derives its name from sitting high in the canopy of tropical forests. This is a nice mix of dissonant jangle chords set on slo-mo with aggressive outbursts. Bitchin.

FUCK THE FACTS Pleine Noirceur

Album · 2020 · Grindcore
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Vim Fuego
Fuck The Facts has always been an abrasive band, usually right in your face, so that’s what most listeners would expect from “Pleine Noirceur”. And first track “Doubt, Fear, Neglect” doesn’t disappoint. It is just that, like a raging drill sergeant yelling in a raw recruit’s face. Until it’s not.

About three and a half minutes into the track, metallic riffs and lead guitar suddenly break into the mix. Sure, the drums are still exploding all over the place as you’d expect from a normal FTF album, but this new found dynamic is a surprise, and permeates right through the whole album. There are fans at the extreme end of the metal spectrum who dismiss or avoid grindcore because it often lacks sufficient metal elements or tropes. This is an album that can’t be dismissed quite so simply.

The band has streamlined it’s line-up since 2015’s “Desire Will Rot” album thinning down from a five-piece to a three-piece. It hasn’t made any noticeable difference to the size of the sound - it’s still enormous.

Second track “Ailleurs” seems like a return to type. It’s a minute and a quarter of blown bass, blasting drums and screeched vocals, but deteriorates into a soundscape like the last remnants of a wave washing out on a beach. Such subtlety would have been unknown to FTF in the past, as blasting angry noise usually filled the entire sonic register. Title track “Pleine Noirceur” (translates to “total darkness”) takes a similar but different dynamic (does that even make sense?) to the opening track. The introduction to “Sans Lumiere” is absolutely brutal, like a repeated kick in the face.

Vocalist Mel Mongeon is one of the best in grindcore and noisecore. In these genres, vocals are usually just another bludgeoning instrument, often rendered totally incomprehensible as a gurgle or a grunt, but hey, they sound brutal. Not so here. Mongeon’s vocals are brutal, but convey depths of emotion, and have a stark, spare beauty to them. You even fear for her emotional state in the gut wrenching “Everything I Love Is Ending”, which seems to be a bleak examination of human mortality. This album is also bilingual, as this Quebecois band writes in both English and French, and Mongeon is perfectly capable in both.

“A Dying Light” is a sparse instrumental with distant vocals more akin to a doom metal sound than something you would expect from a band which started life as a powerviolence project. “Dropping Like Flies” looks like a critical summation of 2020. It could be referring to the global pandemic which savaged the planet, or it could be about lack of respect for other humans’ lives which seems to have manifested in some sectors of society, or it could be a warning of impending environmental climatic Armageddon. Take your pick, or combine them all. Whatever the intention of the song, the lyrics paint a bleak picture.

The whole album has a cold, chill atmosphere to it, more often associated with black metal, but there’s nothing else of that genre on display here. The light/dark, hard/soft contrasts are not often expressed like this in grindcore, and the introduction of doom and death metal-tinged sections are a surprising but welcome addition to Fuck The Facts’ base sound. If anyone who has ever wanted to try grindcore but it has seemed too opaque or dense, this may well be the perfect introduction. Like a billowing mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb blast, "Pleine Noirceur" is an album of terrible but powerful beauty.

POSTHUMOUS REGURGITATION Exhumation of Cadavers for Research and Consumption

Album · 2017 · Goregrind
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siLLy puPPy
Little did Carcass realize that when they released the first goregrind album all the way back in 1988 that the floodgates would open and never close again. Joining the incessant flow of splattergrind and horrorcore is the Santa Ana, California spawned POSTHUMOUS REGURGITATION which features the perversion patrol noisemaking team of Dr. Fleshkreep Cadaver Procurement (bass, vocals), Stenchtub (drums), Gut-Eater Biohazardous Waste Disposal (guitar, vocals) and Professor Pathology Forensic Analysis (vocals).

Straight from the band’s own website, the band claims they are grave robbing and cannibalistic, rotting goregrind… raverobbing and cannibalistic, rotting goregrind… POSTHUMOUS REGURGITATION is a goregrind band from Santa Ana, California with influences like Haemorrhage, General Surgery, Dead Infection, and Regurgitate. It all began with this 2017 debut EXHUMATION OF CADAVERS FOR RESEARCH. Nice marketing slogan but how is the music?

Well, this is goregrind after all and perhaps one of the least varied subs in all of the core section at the metal music shopping center so what we get is the expected relentless bombast of guitar riffs, bass lines and drumming that simply act as noise to accompany the gnarled piggy vocals that narrate tales of “Ingestion of Fetid Afterbirth” or “Mastication of Fetal Tissue and Vital Organs.” Like many grindcore based styles, this one has sound samples in between tracks that try to add a bit of variety to the otherwise fairly uniform onslaught of gore.

In the honor of modern grindcore traditions, this so-called album is short and to the point and only amounts to nearly 19 minutes of playing time. While nothing out of the ordinarily this is certainly a decent slice of goregrind with satisfying chugging guitar riffs, bass lines that can be heard and even vocals that have more than the average range as some sound like Inquisition styled croaking while others are more piggy squeals like Pig Destroyer. Overall not bad but nothing that will blow you away either but for those intent on getting as much goregrind in their world as possible this won’t disappoint either.

NUCLEAR DEATH All Creatures Great and Eaten

Album · 1992 · Grindcore
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UMUR
"All Creatures Great and Eaten" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US grindcore act Nuclear Death. The album was released through CATS' MEOW Records in 1992. It´s the successor to "Carrion for Worm" from 1991 and features an important lineup change as guitarist and one of the founders of the band Phil Hampson has left. Therefore Lori Bravo performs both vocals, guitars, and bass and the album. Joel Whitfield is still the drummer of Nuclear Death on this release. Nuclear Death are a legendary act on the 80s/early 90s US extreme metal scene, and although they never reached anything beyond underground fame and cult status, they are widely regarded as a very influential band on the most extreme part of the 80s/early 90s US extreme metal scene (not completely unlike the status of contemporary artists like Repulsion and Filthy Christians).

Both their early demos and the two studio albums "Bride of Insect (1990)" and "Carrion for Worm (1991)" are among the most filthy, noisy, and lyrically depraved extreme metal releases from those days, and "All Creatures Great and Eaten" follows the same extreme path as its two predecessors. Led by the brutal, intelligible, and über aggressive vocals of Lori Bravo, this is a release which will tear the flesh from your bones and leave you dying in a ditch. Filthy, perverted, noisy, and beyond raw, Nuclear Death are the real deal, when it comes to primal aggression and goregrind nastiness.

"All Creatures Great and Eaten" features 8 tracks and a full playing time of 20:39 minutes, so it´s the kind of release which is almost over before it began. With music this extreme a short playing time is sometimes called for though. Not that the music on this type of release is necessarily of a bad quality, but because the human ear and brain can sometimes have a hard time processing something this extreme for longer periods of time. When that is said there is more variation on "All Creatures Great and Eaten" than on any of the band´s preceding releases. Not that it´s a particularly varied release overall, but it´s still great when the band opt to add some filthy sludgy slow parts to their otwerwise blasting deathgrind tracks. There´s a twisted and dark almost psychadelic touch to some sections, which is pretty intriguing too.

The sound production is murky, raw, and unpolished, and often sounds like it was recorded live in someone´s garage. The production suits the rawness of the music perfectly though, and a more polished sound production probably wouldn´t have suited the material that well. The drums sometimes drown in the noise when the band play really fast, and the guitar tone is so fuzzy and distorted, that the details of the riffs are often blurred, but it´s a great sound for this particular type of music. Bravo´s vocals are placed relatively high in the mix and to great effect. The intensity and passion of her vocal performance is perfectly displayed.

Upon conclusion "All Creatures Great and Eaten" is a beast of a dark and filthy goregrind/death metal album. Nuclear Death have a unique sound, which makes them stand out on the scene and they understand the importance of delivering their music with an organic human touch, which provide their material with a dark chaotic edge. The twisted lyrical perversion and the fact that those perversions are delivered by a woman are also intriguing and quite unconventional elements of the band´s sound. A vile and filthy 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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.

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