Believe it or not, Heavy Blog has not only one writer who chooses to focus on grindcore (and all associated subgenres), but multiple. Why multiple people do this to themselves I still do not know, as the music generally sounds like it was recorded on an Easy Bake Oven. But alas, I am one of those people and I would have my music no other way than delivered to me in the same way I get my microwavable cookies. And, more importantly, it is with this that I bring to you my (and not Matt’s) take on our formidable Grind My Gears series, introducing the ever formidable second grind post of the day, “Grind My Gears 2: Electric Bugaloo.”
The Heads Are Zeros – S/T
First up on my valiant crusade to round up relevant grind from the past week or two is Baltimore, MD’s The Heads Are Zeros, as well as their (phenomenal) self titled debut album. This band has been a long time favorite, catching my attention during those long nights I spent in high school hunting the grindcore and powerviolence tags on bandcamp instead of going out and socializing. Those were kind of sad, weird times for me but hey, at least I had some kick ass, noisey grindcore to keep me company.
Fast forward a few years now though, and I get to sit here with an actual social life (I’ll stop bragging) as well as a brand new album by The Heads Are Zeros. And one that is an absolute banger from start to finish, no less. It hits all the high points of the band’s sound sound for me. There are the ever present displays of intense technical prowess without ever sinking into the prog/mathcore realm of “hey look what I can do”, a nice change of pace in a soundscape plagued by musicians choosing showcases over musicality these days. In addition there are also those noise drenched, chaotic riffs that made me fall in love with them, comparable to acts like Dead Guy and Combatwoundedveteran, but never derivative of them. Their style is a pretty eccentric blend of all of grind’s most extreme ends and that’s exactly what makes it so attractive. If you want your face melted off then fed to you through a straw, get around to checking out this band.
Cloud Rat/Crevasse – Split
The Heads Are Zeros were not the only band to put out some stellar grind these past two weeks, however. Nor are they the only band to grace my ever important “favorite grind band list” present in this roundup. The other band I’m referring to, of course, is Michigan’s own Cloud Rat, a destructive, crusty force of grindcore that only continues to push the boundaries of grind with each passing release. On this one with the German powerviolence act Crevasse, however, they decide to tone down the progressive elements, opting instead to match their split mates raw intensity and speed. It’s a sound we haven’t heard out of them in awhile but one that still suits them well, especially in the context of this split. Their stylistic choice allows the two bands to play off one another, dancing like enraged vipers around each other, to create total sonic mayhem. This is one for the speed freak grind fans, and will be sure to keep classic Cloud Rat fans more than happy.
Cloud Rat/Moloch – Split
If you weren’t one of the fans stoked on Cloud Rat’s more fastcore/traditional grind oriented material there is still good news for you. Choosing not to rest, and certainly not to maybe just compile these split tracks into one release of their own, Cloud Rat released a second split. This time it’s with UK sludge act Moloch and works to showcase a bit more of the band’s keen ear for melody and attention to progressive detail. On all levels this split is weird and uncomfortable, and I say that in the best way possible. Cloud Rat still blasts through their tracks with the speed and precision we’ve come to know and love from them but just as they hit their peak, they hit the boulder that is Moloch’s wall of sound. These tracks, interspersed instead of one side each in a more traditional split style, force the listener down, taking them from an energetic rage to a crushing sorrow. They’re dense, full of despair, and just all around ugly. Oddly enough those dramatic shifts in speed makes Cloud Rat’s brand of speedy despair seem almost optimistic. It still isn’t, but it almost seems that way.
Caïna/Cara Neir – Split
It is with this split that we reach the final stepping stone in this installment of grind. It’s been a long and bumpy ride as I’ve got use to our Grind My Gears series, but one that I’ve enjoyed immensely (as I hope you have too). But forget about all that sentimental bullshit, because now it is time to talk about a split driven perhaps more-so by black metal than grind. That is partially because one of the bands on it, Caïna, are a straight post black metal band. They exhibit some crust punk-esque elements, which is not an uncommon theme for black metal bands these days, but stick pretty close to the post black metal-cuff with their contribution, “Rhosneigr”. That is not to say it is bad, however, as it is truly an excellent track. It’s just not what we’re primarily concerned about in the grindcore series, especially when the other side of the split belongs to masters of sonic depravation themselves, Cara Neir.
Cara Neir is a pretty fucking weird band, starting primarily as a blackened grind project that put out some of the most shit yourself brutal material imaginable. However that quickly changed as the band began to divulge into some screamo tendencies (always a popular move with me) as well as some post metal touches. It wasn’t long before they did the cool, rational thing to keep the black skinny jean kids happy and even threw in a bit of noise. So essentially, they cover a lot of bases as far as extreme music goes. But instead of clashing and colliding with one another in what could easily be a disastrous end results in the hands of a less talented band, we lucky few are graced with the auditory insanity that is Cara Neir. In the case of this split the sonic assault matches much more closely with their split mates Caïna, leaning heavily into their black metal tendencies. Despite this, Cara Neir doesn’t fail to deliver some breakneck drumming, pained yowls, and overall anger. It’s enough to keep the crustier kids happy while also appealing to the black metal fans out there, making this split a pretty sweet deal and overall no-brainer when trying to decide what new EP’s to pick up in the coming weeks.
(No link provided, the split is not officially released yet.)