Four years ago I was a proud member of the #defendentombedcore movement, hailing every band to use the HM-2 pedal prominently in their sound as the next best thing. If it didn’t buzzsaw, I didn’t care. Now, having matured significantly (slightly) as a human and appreciator of extreme music, I still basically feel the same. I haven’t learned anything. Doesn’t matter if it blasts, grinds or d-beats, if I hear that familiar guitar tone my ears still pick up. It’s infamous for a reason. Now, with our planet in it’s 2017th year, I’m using Grind My Gears to shine a murky spotlight on some of the best new acts to utilise the sound, throwing in a few of my personal favourites too. Because why not.
It’s worth noting before trashing me in the comments (I dare you) that not all of these bands DEFINITELY use the HM-2. They still pull off the general sound in my head when daydreaming about push pits and leather jacket/hoody pairings.
Leeched Definitely Don’t Suck
No, but they do come flailing out of the woodwork with the intent on spilling blood. Without getting so hyperbolic I lose my train of thought, this is just about as savage a battering one can expect from a ten minute debut. Metallic hardcore with snare count ins and some stupidly heavy beatdowns are the main ingredients of the shit cocktail that Leeched serve with dirty hands into an even dirtier glass.
Nothing Will Grow From The Rotten Ground is as cheery as it’s title suggests. A blanket made of steel wool and crushed dreams will wrap around your soft shoulders for the short duration of this debut, scraping any hope and cheer you might have lingering behind your caffeine stunted teary eyes. “Driftwood” piles misery atop violence with stabbing attacks of d-beating crust, breaking down into a two-step swing more infectious than herpes at a Hatebreed concert. Opener “Liquid” is a fast, filthy number with maybe the best single line lyric I’ve seen in a bleak release this year, saying more with eight words than I thought possible:
“Embrace this liquid like you couldn’t your children”
Leeched’s brand of powerful, violent hardcore dips into the grind zone on more occasions than I can keep track of – washing away the sins of the father/mother/shitty step parent with grain alcohol and blasts – but the best parts of this stellar debut come when the band go low and slow. “Boar” has a twisted, sneering guitar line that will give the uninitiated the worst stank face possible, stepping out from under the powerviolence umbrella and holidaying in Gaza territory, much like the sludgy, drone note barrage on “Slit”. While some of the riffs sound like they’d belong on You Will Never Be One Of Us (looking at you “Marrow”), this is a more concise, immediate force of reckoning than the genre heavyweights offer. This is super nasty and I hope you all love it.
Just Been Rejected? Listen To Deject. Ed.
“Fighting the war on drugs, one brutality case at a time”
Fuck. I don’t even know how relevant this fantastic quote from Kima Greggs is but it works so hard that I had to open with it. I guess if you’re gonna record a powerviolence record in Baltimore you kinda have to make a reference to The Wire? Anyway. On with the show.
The self titled debut from Deject is over so quickly but demands the play button be smashed again. And again. The grinding violence crew build on the same foundations as Leeched but while the Brits have an industrious approach to their style of hate, Deject let it all hang out with more freedom; more feedback, less structure, all the anger. Some powerviolence leaning bands thrive in the lack of production values, focusing more on attack and attitude, but this is a professional, crisp sounding burst of distorted guitars and dervish percussion. There are tempo shifts and thrashy riffs in abundance and the death metal vocals work a fucking treat too. The mix is masterful, the mayhem majestic.
There’s no easy way of saying this without sounding like a fucking pleb; Deject play music that sounds like it’s from the street. I’m the most unbelievably non-street person around so this is just what I get from it, but “Spite” and “P.O.W” feel raw. Almost like they’ve been lifted from events on the street right before recording. “P.O.W” in particular feels like an ode to a friend or family member who has been the victim of the already mentioned “war on drugs”. The concrete and gravel bass, walking the listener right through the process of being on the wrong side of a possession charge. If you haven’t yourself then you more than likely know someone who has. Fuck the war on drugs, for a start, Deject reject it entirely. So should you!
Fill Your Boots With More Sweet, Sweet Violence
So I run out of new music. Fuck. My. Face. Here’s some of my favourite HM-2/violent grind tracks. If you care to, comment yours. Maybe we’ll bond over a shared love of shit can snares and pessimist motifs.
The Drip – “Bygones Only Burn Once”
Their newer material may swing more towards Aborted’s modern deathgrind sound but this EP from Washington’s The Drip is just HM-2 filth all the way. This is the harshest track of the bunch.
CZAR – “Afmagt”
Denmark’s CZAR released this early this year so I probably could have found a space for them in here but alas, I didn’t. Buzzsaw guitars and post-metal, it works. Trust.
Trap Them – “Every Walk A Quarantine”
OF COURSE I’M GONNA PUT A TRAP THEM SONG IN HERE! IDIOTS!
Nails – “Traitor”
The first Nails song I heard and still one of my favourites. If you want your bass to sound like it smokes cigarettes, drinks white spirit and gargles razors, just copy this.