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

CRETIN Cretanic Grind Ambush

EP · 2004 · Grindcore
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Cretanic Grind Ambush" is an EP release by US, California based grindcore act Cretin. The EP was released through Relapse Records in August 2004. Cretin was formed as far back as 1992 but disbanded again in 1996 without releasing anything, as a consequence of bassist Matt Widener joining the marines and lead vocalist/guitarist Dan Martinez working in the video game industry. They reunited in 2001 though and "Cretanic Grind Ambush" is their first official label release (they released the "Extreme Cretanic Grindcore" demo in 2003). "Cretanic Grind Ambush" is actually a re-release of the "Extreme Cretanic Grindcore (2003)" demo with an extra track ("Pee Spree"). So if you already have the 3 track demo, "Pee Spree" is the only new track you get on "Cretanic Grind Ambush".

Stylistically the material on the album is raw, distorted, fast-paced and loud as hell grindcore, delivered with fierce aggression. Repulsion is obviously the main influence here, but it´s not something the band are trying to hide or are ashamed of, and they shouldn´t be, because they deliver their music with great conviction and passion, which is usually of much greater importance in grindcore than originality. When that is said Cretin still manage to put their own spin on their Repulsion influenced grindcore style, so they are not a clone band.

In true grindcore style neither of the four tracks exceed the 2 minutes mark and the EP is almost over before it began (total time 6:24 minutes). Thankfully you´re left with the feeling that you want more, which is almost always a sure sign of quality. Cretin are a well playing bunch, and no matter how fast or how filthy and raw the music is, they perform their parts with precision but also with the right organic touch. Martinez has a raw and aggressive vocal style, which puts the icing on the cake in regards to creating the most vile and filthy atmosphere as possible. The sound production is very raw and noisy, but not in a messy lo-fi way. On the contrary you´re fully able to hear details in the mix, and the production suits the music perfectly.

So upon conclusion "Cretanic Grind Ambush" is a short but sweet first label release by Cretin and a promising start to their career. They may not get that many points for originality but fully make up for it in caustic aggression and hellish intensity. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

GOUGED Gouged

EP · 2016 · Grindcore
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siLLy puPPy
GOUGED is an extreme metal band that formed in St. George, Utah and has since relocated to Salt Lake City. This band crafts a murky mix of grindcore and death metal with elements of doom. So far the band has only released this one self-titled EP which runs over the seven minute mark so actually can be considered a demo. The band consists of Andrew Patterson (bass, vocals), Ben Finley (guitar), Dylan Huff (guitar, vocals) andJordan Strang (drums, vocals.) This EP has so far only been released digitally on the band’s Bandcamp page and given the scant info available remains a mystery as to the appearance of future releases.

This EP delivers a whomping seven minutes plus of pure core brutality with filthy muddy guitar stomps that reverberate darkness and despair. The six tracks are all quite short with the lengthiest “Blind To The Pain” just shy of the two minute mark. While considered grindcore the tempo is slowed down and resembles death doom metal bands at timed but when the axe murderer freneticism breaks free, the core elements explode like warehouses of nuclear arsenals. The production is raw and the vocals are screamed through the din and unintelligible. Also the compositions are somewhat labyrinthine at times with technical drumming skills. The guitar and bass fuse to form a united distortion.

Often while the massive uproar banters on there are squealing guitar sounds that add a fingernails on the chalkboard sort of irritant. The entire EP is only over seven minutes long but sounds like an album’s worth of aggressive fury condensed into its pure essence. This is a cool muddy darkened metal experience that is as occult sounding as the bitchin’ album cover it sports. While there must be some symbology of the cadaver holding a noose with a floating skull and pig’s head, it just looks freaky and implies some sort of underworld tarot cards of some sort. Nothing on here is OMG original but rather well performed and casts a darkened spell that is satisfying. Definitely makes me look forward to a future release of some sort.

AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED Agoraphobic Nosebleed (1)

EP · 1996 · Cybergrind
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UMUR
"Agoraphobic Nosebleed" is an EP release by US grindcore act Agoraphobic Nosebleed. The EP was released through Bovine Records in 1996 and is a re-release of the band´s 30 song demo from 1995. It´s the band´s first label release. Agoraphobic Nosebleed was formed in 1994 in Springfield, Massachusetts and at that point it was a one-man project featuring Scott Hull (guitars, programming). The vocals on the EP are delivered by various vocalists.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed are often referred to as a drum-machine grindcore band, as a consequence of the drums being programmed. That´s just one of the components which make up their sound though, and often people focus way too much on that feature when describing the music. So let´s get it out of the way. Yes the drums are programmed and no it´s not that apparent as Hull is a skilled programmer, and the drums are produced in a way where they sound relatively "normal".

Stylistically the music on the 30 track EP is aggressive and fast grindcore with raw distorted shouting vocals. Often the tracks are only a few seconds or maybe half a minute long, and it´s a release that is best enjoyed in full instead of track by track. It´s a relatively one-dimensional release but you´re still kept on your toes throughout the playing time as a consequence of the short bursts of insane brutality and raw aggression. The few times the pace is slowed down a bit, it feels like welcome breathers, but those moments are few and far between. The lyrics are typically sparse and often repeated words instead of longer meaningful sentences, but you´ll get an idea of what they are about from songtitles like "Eyes Like Two Pissholes in the Snow", "Fucking Move, Prick", and "If You Thought Elvis Was Good Live (Wait 'Til You See Him Dead)". These guys are pissed, but still deliver their message with a bizarre gleam in the eye.

The sound production is decent for the genre, and suits the music well. Raw, unpolished, and "In Your Face" like it´s supposed to sound. Overall it´s not the most exciting or original sounding grindcore release out there, but it´s obvious there´s some thought and talent behind the compositions and that counts for something. A bit more variation and more compositions which last for more than a few seconds could also have been nice, but as it is, the EP is still an interesting listen, and a 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

YACØPSÆ Sanitys Dawn / Yacøpsæ

Split · 2003 · Grindcore
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Vim Fuego
17 March 2019. Today was supposed to be a happy day. Today I was supposed to see two of my favourite bands, of which I have been a fan for 30 years. Unbelievable as it may have seemed in 1989, Slayer and Anthrax were coming to Christchurch, my nearest city! The city where I work. The city where I was educated. The city where I have lived so much of my life.

It is also St. Patrick’s Day. Even though Patrick is my real name and I’m far from a saint, it’s not a day for celebration. Today is not a day for happiness.

Slayer and Anthrax are not coming. I am not going to a concert. I am not going to hear some of my favourite songs performed live. I am not going to feel that incredible, uplifting experience of an insane mosh pit with hundreds of like-minded people. This is not the reason for the lack of happiness. It would be selfish and trivial to express anger or sadness just because of a cancelled concert.

Two days ago, on 15 March 2019, an unspeakable act of mindless terrorism ripped my city apart. A hate-filled thug took it upon himself to try to start a war, either religious or racial, but completely pointless. He murdered 50 people peacefully at prayer.

50 of our people.

50 people with families, friends, workmates.

50 people with hopes, aspirations, dreams.

50 people.

50 lives.

50.

This is still unfathomable. Unbelievable. How could it happen here? This is a city which has endured earthquakes in the past. How much more does a city need to suffer? Many of those murdered were refugees, escaping war or religious intolerance in their own shattered homes – Somalia, Fiji, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kuwait. These people had resettled here, supposedly because New Zealand is a peaceful country, free from religious persecution and violence.

No longer.

A cowardly white supremacist piece of shit deliberately targeted Christchurch’s peaceful, valued Muslim community. He murdered people at prayer in their mosques, simply because of their religion and the colour of their skin. He murdered helpless, defenceless people. Women. Children. Elderly. I know. I have seen this atrocity. This animal filmed himself shooting defenceless people. No one should see members of their community murdered, but I watched this video because there should be those who bear witness to this crime so it will not be forgotten. It is the most disgusting, disturbing thing I have ever seen. It won’t be forgotten, because I won’t forget.

At a time of despair like this, it’s hard to know what to do and how to cope with it. I am lucky, because I have a loving family around me. But still, how do you cope with your own thoughts? I have taken out some of the feelings of helplessness and frustration through physical activity – a chainsaw is a great physical outlet. But still, sometimes you just need to see something positive or cheerful, just to try to lift your spirits. Sitting at my computer I can see some things I like, which help. There are posters on my wall – Iron Maiden, Metallica, Ronnie James Dio, Stallone and Snipes in Demolition Man. There are two plastic dinosaurs on my desk, a reminder of my brother’s wedding three weeks ago. And there are CDs I have left lying on my desk, some of my favourite things. There’s Edvard Grieg’s “Peer Gynt”, a cheap old Jasper Carrott album, Lou Reed and Metallica’s “LuLu” (I don’t care what anyone else thinks, it’s a comfort to me) a seven disc set of The 12th Man, a Slap-A-Ham compilation called “Fiesta Comes Alive”, “Van Halen I”, “Pure…metal” (which is pure shit!), and the one which really cheered me – “Yacøpsæ/Sanitys Dawn”.

So why did this help? Simple. The Yacøpsæ cover. It has a picture of a small child and a baby chimpanzee holding hands. It’s a symbol of unity and friendship. It’s what split records are all about. Different but the same, and together make a single entity. (Admittedly, the Sanitys Dawn cover on the other side has a picture of a policeman being kicked in the head, but I don’t have to look at that.)

And the music is a cheering thing too. Sanitys Dawn kick the album off with their raucous crust/grind sound. This is simple, angry aggressive music. And despite some English song titles, it’s mostly in German, so I have no fucking clue what’s going on! No matter. Guitarist Matthias has a great line in simple, huge sounding riffs. Vocalist Topsy has a bleeding throat screech type of vocal style. Even when he’s screeching in English, he’s incomprehensible. Bassist Prandy contributes vocals on some tracks too, like a rough edged oi punk. Don’t worry – you can’t understand him either!

There is a lyric sheet, which helps well… very little. It looks as if the English language songs have been translated to German, with little knowledge of English. The song “How To Live” has lines like “Sent to jail, you’re non-conform/Fuck the sense of life/Manmade situations/Guilty for this shit you see”. Incomprehensible, angry, and incredibly powerful.

“Act Like Me Or Die” is rabidly anti-American foreign policy. “Call The Garbage Collection” is against manufactured pop music. No “Fed Up” it seems the band are fed up with people who talk shit, like the Pope and hippies.

After 11 tracks of Sanitys Dawn’s noise and chaos, you come to Yacøpsæ, which is, unbelievably, noisier and more chaotic. This incredibly powerful three piece unit look like mild-mannered accountants or computer programmers, but produce some of the most violent noise on the planet.

Stoffel’s guitars seem to rip holes in the space/time continuum, crushing but clear. His vocals are a constant shriek, with little variation, but why change something when it works that well?

Yacøpsæ don’t even bother to try to translate their lyrics. The band are not fluent in English, and have stated very plainly that subtleties of meaning are often lost in translation. You want to know what they are saying? Learn German.

Frank has an incredibly dirty bass sound, which would make Shane Embury envious. Emu’s drums are like a high speed, turbo charged combine harvester. The band’s sound is so massive it’s hard to imagine there are only three of them.

The songs are blast after blast of barely controlled chaos, purportedly covering a number socially aware topics (I don’t know specifically, but it looks like it!), and not a single track even reaches a minute and a half.

This little split is 23 tracks, all over in 31 minutes. It is wonderful, rowdy, positive violence as music. It smashes through your brain and drives out all else.

Then it ends. Cold reality comes back.

So fuck you, you worthless murdering racist piece of shit. You aren’t going to break those of us who are left. We will remember those you took.

And thank you Sanitys Dawn and Yacøpsæ for a small distraction at a time when I needed some comfort.

TERRORIZER World Downfall

Album · 1989 · Deathgrind
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
Emerging from the cesspools of 80s extreme metal, the Los Angeles based TERRORIZER were one of those bands that took the logical next step by incorporating the grindcore fusion of heavy metal and hardcore punk and added even more extreme death metal elements to the mix. The band had a short first run having only been around from 1986-89 and squeaked out only one album WORLD DOWNFALL which was only released by Earache records after the band had already called it quits.

The band’s short history was more of a brief gathering rather than a long term band project and had this debut album not become an underground classic, the band would probably never had reformed in 2005 and then again in 2009 to release several newer albums. While TERRORIZER had a short time when they played live, they benefited substantially from the late 80s underground cassette trading world that was catapulting extreme metal bands into the next stage of popularity.

Founded as the trio of vocalist Oscar Garcia, guitarist Jesse Pintado and drummer Pete Sandoval, the band picked up Alfred Estrada who was replaced by David Vincent on bass before recording WORLD DOWNFALL at the request of Earache Records who saw the band’s potential in the burgeoning underground grindcore metal world. With the cover art and overall sound clearly borrow from Napalm Death’s album “Scum,” TERRORIZER simply took the music to the next level of extremity with heavier distortion, faster tempos and death metal growls and blastbeats.

While not quite sticking to the micro song standards of less than one minute in length tracks, the sixteen tracks still retain a rather hardcore punk attitude with tracks ranging from over a minute to no more than three and a half. While other bands like Nuclear Death, Azagthoth and DNF had experimented with the fusion of death metal and grindcore earlier, it was TERRORIZER along with the Chicago based Macabre that really brought the new deathcore subgenre to the forefront of the late 80s diversification of extreme metal.

Despite not being the first to craft the deathcore fusionary possibilities, TERRORIZER is often credited as having done so. WORLD DOWNFALL pretty much follows the standard grindcore characteristics of Napalm Death and early Carcass that borrowed crust punk compositional styles augmented with more extreme metal bombast. This is one of those cases where the classic status has somehow tried to make this album into one of those magnificent albums of the ages but i stand with those who find this album a bit tedious and overrated.

Firstly, TERRORIZER was NOT the first to adopt this style of death metal / grindcore hybrid and the delivery of the album comes across as extremely monotonous. The band clearly added the more ambitious instrumental prowess to carry across their ability to play the music on a higher technical level with blitzkrieg deliveries of extremity and aggression, however where WORLD DOWNFALL is severely lacking is in the compositional department as all the tracks whizz by sounding like only slight variations of what came before ( a trait that plagues many “core” albums).

For the most part the riffs are identical, the percussive bombast doesn’t deviate too much from the status quo and the grooves, once established, pretty much deliver the exact same semi-melodic output for the entire album’s run. In fact i can’t think of a single thing that this album brought to the metal table that hadn’t already been done before. While WORLD DOWNFALL has gained the reputation as one of the great extreme metal albums of the 80s, i find it rather monotonous and uninspired which apparently the band members themselves agreed as they would all jump ship soon. David Vincent and Pete Sandoval soon joined Morbid Angel. Jesse Pintado moved on to Napalm Death and Oscar Garcia to Nausea. Good but not great.

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