Grind My Gears – Stimulant

Apparently the first edition of Grind My Gears went down pretty well. Like a polished brick down the throat of an infant, that’s how well. There’s more coming in the next few pixels. Moving on from the gorgeously over driven feedback blasts of WVRM, this weeks Grind quota is being filled by violence, perpetuated by several Brooklyn folks and their instruments of feeding frenzy doom. Again, this is the grind I love. You might not. We’re all addicted to something and this is my something. Open a vein, ready for a big fat shot of Stimulant.

This is real fresh, and just happens to be the first lethal dose administered by Stimulant under this name. Members in previous endeavor Water Torture released a filthy powerviolence record in 2014 titled Pillbox, one rattling full of speed freak grind ragers. After disbanding, the Brooklyn natives cracked out the adrenaline and rediscovered their heart(d)beat under this new guise – possessing a new chemically enhanced energy to boot.

Stimulant is a wild house party show confined in the grooves on wax, not between paper thin walls. The comparison makes sense, because what is any good house party full of? Duh. For those not schooled in the comings and going of a house/basement/practice space show, things get a bit claustrophobic and stifling. This record is no different. It plays like a perfectly punctual live set, offset by smashed bottles and people puking on the way out; a combination of overdoing the vices and the pit of the gut discomfort of listening to Stimulant tear through the air.

 

“Bending Form” kicks off the dimly lit festivities with an intoxicated aplomb, kicking the energy of the space into turbo from the off. Cautious side room standers are caught up within the first minutes and before long, are sweating like the kids in front who came to sweat. Significant blasts of noise and feedback cut the gaps between tracks into a breath of air – air tasting of warm beer and damp. By the time Stimulant rip through “Oil Based” and “Still Born”, most of the room has moved. Light fixtures and shoes trade places while the room turns upside down in a flurry of janky blast beats and twisted bellows. But worry not traveler, a brief respite of electronic white noise gives everyone a minute to catch a breath/find a safe space from the maelstrom.

 

I can’t think of another record that captures the vibe of a small show as succinctly as this. There’s a sombre minute of “Emergence” that follows one of the more physically harmful tracks on this release, in my head it’s the guitarist noodling while a broken cymbal stand is taped together or a split open head is haphazardly patched up on stage – probably with the same tape as the cymbal stand. What happens next? The band get back to business, knowing fine well the power could short at any time or the cops could turn up. More likely, a mosh altercation could lead to the kind of violence scored by “Unseen”, taking the crowd out to follow the knuckle draggers in flight.

 

This extended metaphor is running out of steam, much like most of the crowd at this imaginary show. The hardcore fans and friends of the band will stand by stoically, trying to keep everyone involved even if it means pushing them straight into the wall. Almost as if the band “Encouraged Violence” with no regard for health and safety issues. Jesus, I need a drink, where is the last of the warm beer? I know someone’s hiding a couple of cans, somewhere.

I need to hear this record played in full. Preferably in a dingy, vomit tinged basement because where else does scum thrive so successfully? I love the production, the attack of the vocals, everything. Grind doesn’t get much more in your face than this without physically running it’s scabby tongue over your ears and eyes. I feel like I can taste the sweat, the smoke from the one cunt who wore his hair down and got lit up by a stray, pinged cigarette. All of it. It really Grinds My Gears, would you believe it.

 

The industrial bass noise of closing track “Postal” plays as the lights turn on, the damaged equipment is being carted out faster than the drummer can hit his snare, everyone is milling around wiping the crust out of their eyes. It’s disgusting but a glorious sight. The room thins out and the last drink of the night for some is just the first of many more for others. Heads bob and feet shuffle for the door or the nearest hole in the drywall big enough to fit through. Stimulant themselves sum up the air of the room with just two words.

“Reluctant. Wretched.”

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